Surprisingly, President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has not appointed a single Minister for the Economy. This means that ten members of the new government share the main economic files in facing the country’s currently alarming financial situation. The ten and their profiles are as follows:

  • Mohamed Arkab – Minister of Energy. Appointed to his post in April 2019, as a member of former prime minister’s Noureddine Bedoui’s government, he remains in charge of the strategic hydrocarbons sector. 
Ferhat Aït Ali Braham – Algeria’s new Minister of Industry and Mines has a major taks on his hands
  • Ferhat Aït Ali Braham – Minister of Industry and Mines. With the fall in oil prices the budgetary difficulties have become glaring and the revival of Algerian industry more pressing than ever. A financial expert — known for his liberal positions and a defender of the economic policies of previous governments — Aït Ali Braham admitted when he took office on 4 January that he was now ‘at the wall’. He promises to revive the industrial sector and to ‘get it out of the small participation ratios to the national GDP in which it was confined for the past 40 years.’ How he will do that remains to be seen. Both he and his department have some interesting baggage. Three of his recent predecessors — Youcef Yousfi, Mahdjoub Bedda and Abdelaslam Boucheraoub — are facing charges in connection with the car assembly scandal, which at the time, he called the project ‘a big hoax’ and argued for the importation of the vehicles. He was also critical of Tebboune’s period as prime minister in 2017 when the describing his time as premier as an ‘economic coma’.
  • Kamel Rezig – Minister of Commerce. He has an MA is economic sciences and a diploma in tax and finance. He will be in charge of the file on the African Continental Free Trade Zone (AfCFTZ). Politically, he is against a long political transition, which he said would be ‘catastrophic for the economy and further complicate the missions of the government.’ He is vehemently opposed to the aims of the Hirak protest movement, which suggests his term of office could be short-lived.
  • Aïssa Bekkai – Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade. A graduate in law (2002) and business law (2019), Bekkai held the position of regional director of commerce in Laghouat, Sétif, Blida, Algiers and Ouargla, before being appointed director general of regulation and organisation at the Ministry of Commerce. He will have to manage budgetary constraints and clean up a sector dominated by extra-billing.
  • Abderrahmane Raouya – Minister of Finance. Raouya makes an unexpected return to the head of the Ministry of Finance after having been replaced from the post in April 2019 by Mohamed Loukal in the wake of the Hirak. He was chosen for his profile as a tax specialist which is invaluable for improving tax collection, especially in the context of the current budgetary drought. He has been prominent in tax related issues having been appointed Director General of Taxes in 2006.
  • Bachir Messaitfa – Minister Delegate in charge of Statistics and Foresight. He has been recalled to the post of deputy minister for statistics and forecasting, which he previously held in the government of former prime minister Abdelmalek Sellal, who is currently in detention for his alleged involvement in several corruption cases. An economics professor, Messaitfa has the daunting task of deciding an economic strategy based on reliable statistics.
  • Yassine Djeridane – Minister of Microenterprise, Start-ups and the Knowledge Economy. This is a new ministry. Djeridane is the former director of the Centre for Advanced Technology Development.
  • Nassim Djafat – Minister Delegate in charge of Incubators. He is the former president of the association of credit recipients and young investors.
  • Yacine Oualid – Minister Delegate in charge of Start-ups. A doctor by training, Oualid is, at 26, the youngest member of the government.
  • Abderrahmane Lotfi Djamel Benbahmad – Minister Delegate in charge of the Pharmaceutical Industry. Responsible for the pharmaceutical industry, he has considerable experience of the sector, having previously chaired the National Council of the Order of Pharmacists and the Inter-Order of Pharmacists of Africa.

This excerpt is taken from Algeria Politics & Security, our weekly intelligence report on Algeria. Click here to receive a free sample copy.

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