In Algeria, the More Things
Change, the More They Stay the
Algerian president Abdelmajid Tebboune released the first draft of a new
finance law in May 2020. The new law voids the 51/49 majority ownership
law: Will this signal any tangible change?
Rabat – In Algeria, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Since
February 2019, the country has buzzed with words like “overhaul,” “new,” and
“reform” but, despite the resignation of former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika,
despite a new draft constitution, and despite changes to both domestic and
foreign policy, the Hirak (protest movement) is far from over.
The latest big change billed for
is the reform of a finance law that, on the
surface, will revolutionize the North African country’s economy.
President Abdelmajid Tebboune’s government submitted a report to parliament
on May 26. Under the draft legislation, Algeria’s iconic 51/49 finance rule will be
declared void. The law previously stipulated that foreign investors could not own
more than 49% of any given company and would, therefore, be obliged to enter
into a majority partnership with an Algerian national.
The majority ownership rule, enshrined in law in 2009, reflected Algeria’s image
as a closed country and was seemingly designed to protect the financial interests
of the Algerian population, as well as maintaining Algerian control over Algerian
In practice, however, the law had quite a different effect on the Algerian
economy. While it did mean
that foreign fingers were not able to delve into
, it also stunted economic growth and, in part, led to the now
struggling oil-dependent economy.
current financial woes
, the repeal of the majority ownership
law seems, from a distance, like a step in the right direction in that the draft