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إدارة الموقع

The collapse of Algeria’s imports of French wheat is a sign of damaged relations

Mohamed Meslem / English Version: Med.B.
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The collapse of Algeria’s imports of French wheat is a sign of damaged relations

The figures revealed by the US Department of Agriculture regarding Algeria’s grain imports reflect the direction of its diplomatic compass in recent years, which witnessed a remarkable turning point that left repercussions on its relations with the former colony, France, which monopolized the grain market in Algeria for decades due to the collusion of internal parties.
According to new figures on Algeria’s cereal imports, it has witnessed a significant decline in the shipments it had been purchasing from the French market for many years, and this decline has reached more than three times, in favor of another traditional ally, Russia, which has not been a prominent partner for Algeria outside the country. The arms market, as is well known.
In just one year, the value of Algeria’s purchases of French wheat collapsed, from 834 million euros in 2022 to about 166 million euros in 2023, a result of a political decision taken in 2021 to revise the terms and conditions book for grain purchase deals from abroad, which was originally designed to establish French hegemony in this sensitive sector, paving the way for Russian wheat, which in the eyes of experts is considered the most expensive in nutritional value and the cheapest in price.
In this regard, those familiar with the grain market expect that in the current year (2024/2025) Russian wheat exports will grow to unprecedented levels, reaching about three million tons, which is an increase of 1.3 million tons.
The decline in Algerian purchases of French wheat coincided with a period of diplomatic turmoil between the two countries, to the point that Algeria recalled its ambassador from Paris more than once in just two years. The same period also witnessed great controversy at the diplomatic and media levels, and the file of France’s colonial past in Algeria was discussed. (The question of memory) is one of the sensitive issues that contributed to fueling this conflict, which is still ongoing, although less intense than before.
It is worth mentioning here the provocative statements made by the French President, Emmanuel Macron, at the beginning of October 2021, in which he began to question the existence of an Algerian nation before the French colonialism from 1830-1962, during a meeting with French students, as reported in the newspaper “Le Monde”. At the time, this was the incident that led Algeria to recall its ambassador, Mohamed Antar Daoud, from Paris for consultations. The incident was repeated in February 2023 with Ambassador Saeed Moussi, following the involvement of French private interests in the smuggling of an Algerian national wanted for trial across the Tunisian border. He returned only after arrangements had been made. between the presidents of the two countries.
Algeria was liberated from French control over Algerian grain imports only after the competent authorities were able in 2021 to get their hands on a network involved in economic espionage that greatly harmed the country’s interests by leaking confidential information to French grain exporters within the National Professional Grain Office, the network that operated out of sight for more than 33 years, and its hero was the head of the special committee for transactions at the office level, who was found in possession of accounts in several financial institutions in Algeria and abroad, in millions of euros, dollars and riyals.

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