Post-revolution: Algeria at risk of economic downturn

More than one-quarter of people under 25 are unemployed, and many Algerians work in the country’s vast informal sector.
An Algerian woman, draped in a national flag takes part in an anti government demonstration in the capital Algiers on April 23, 2019. – Protesters staged their tenth weekly mass rally, galvanised by the departure of longtime president Abdelaziz Bouteflika but vowing to keep up their demands for sweeping reforms. (Photo by RYAD KRAMDI / AFP)

Many weeks of protests in Algeria may have halted President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s 20-year rule, but whoever replaces him, will have the economy to contend with.

Analysts say the country’s financial upheaval is ticking fast as the OPEC member country is facing a huge fall in its reserves

 It only has a few years worth of foreign currency reserves left.

Foreign exchange reserves in Algeria decreased to $88,609 million in the 2nd quarter of 2018 from $94529 million in the first quarter of the same year.

For years, Algeria’s oil and gas-rich economy served as a salve for a restless nation, helping to bankroll housing and other social subsidies.

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Many are calling for a fundamental reboot of the country’s ailing, energy dependent economy that has failed to diversify and deliver jobs to its majority-young population.

More than one-quarter of people under 25 are unemployed, and many Algerians work in the country’s vast informal sector.

Algeria’s business climate has also been a turn-off for foreign investors, especially with a rule stipulating 51 percent of company shares must be owned by in-country nationals or businesses. 

Last week, the International Monetary Fund downgraded the country’s 2019 growth forecast to 2.3 percent, from a previous 2.7 percent last October.

Besides the unrests, which add to the country’s economic challenges, analysts want particular attention turned to regional hotspots, like Libya so as to avoid any real crisis beyond its current situation.

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