Prince Mohammed Ben Salmane Ben Abdelaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister, concluded, on Monday, his visit to Algeria without any partnership agreements, or projects, or promises of investment.
His visit limited the government’s activity, for two full days, in the creation of a higher council for Algerian-Saudi coordination, at a time when talk of promises of investments remain in the range of $10 billion from the past.
Contrary to the fictional and astronomical figures on the volume of investments and the value of the agreements that Saudi Arabia pumps in European and American markets, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia came to Algeria empty handed and with an empty agenda, despite accompanying businessmen during the visit, which came in a sensitive political situation for the Crown Prince, in spite of the organization of a forum for the gathering of Algerian businessmen with their counterparts from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in the presence of 4 ministers from the government and the President of the Algerian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as this meeting was limited to presentations on 5 partnership projects for four Saudi companies.
In addition, the meeting, which was supposed to be a space for signing agreements, did not witness the registration of any new project or even the expression of intention.
The visit ended with a joint statement that was carrying the same classic words that do not carry a logic of economy, finance and business.
Algeria Foreign Ministry; “In the context of the distinguished brotherly relationships and the deep historical ties between the Republic of Algeria and Saudi Arabia, and on the instructions of President Bouteflika and his brother King Salmane Ben Abdelaziz Al Saud, as it was agreed to establish a higher council for Algerian-Saudi coordination”.
Owners of this dry statement preferred not to enter into the number of trade exchanges, which do not exceed $500 million, and local investments began to decline from $2 billion, as these figures do not confirm the validity of the words that were carried by the statement, and open the question of the fate of the recommendations of the 12th Algeria-Saudi joint committee, that was held on February 2017, which had discussed promises for projects worth $10 billion over the past 10 years. However, the meeting of the Joint Committee has since been broken and talk ended about the promises that have not been fulfilled.
Echorouk asked, on Monday, the head of the Saudi Chamber of Industry and Commerce about the fate of the projects that formed the substance of the recommendations of the Algerian-Saudi Joint Committee, and he answered: “Ask the members of the government, because I don’t get an answer, I am responsible for the private sector and private enterprises”, although the Chamber of Industry and Commerce of Saudi Arabia was a party to the meeting of the Joint Committee, that was chaired by the former Prime Minister, Abdelmalek Sellal, on that day.
“Investment base in Algeria, known as 51-49, is a real obstacle in the face of major investments and strategic sectors, but Algeria and Saudi Arabia reached an agreement to invest in small and medium-sized enterprises. It is a satisfactory compromise to the Algerian and Saudi parties”.
Far from the visit of Prince Salmane, which did not bring any new projects in the economic aspect of Algeria, contrary to his visits to other countries, the question that is strongly asked is: What is the usefulness of Ben Salmane’s tour to a number of Arab countries in general and Algeria in particular?