In the last few months, Algeria has witnessed a frenetic activity of economic and trade delegations visiting the country. In November 2012 alone, Algiers received tens of high profile delegations succeeding each other from European countries such as Spain, Italy, France, the UK, Romania, Finland, and Turkey to Arab countries, including Egypt, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. With its substantial foreign reserves amounting to more than two hundred billion dollars, it seems that Algeria has become a hot destination for foreign investment at a time when Europe is undergoing a deep economic crisis. Even for the highly-mediatized visit of French President Hollande (that some preferred to interpret through the distorting prism of the traumatizing history of colonialism), economic interests were at the top of the agenda.
Fifty years after its independence, is Algeria in a position to impose itself economically? Is there really a genuine will for the development of a true and balanced economic cooperation, advantageous for both Algeria and Europe? Is Algeria in the path of a full-blown economic development that will benefit the Algerian people, or is it merely an Eldorado for the crisis-ridden foreign economies? To answer these questions, a historical detour is necessary to give us more insights and to help us understand where Algeria stands in the global economic order.
In the first two decades following its independence in 1962, Algeria launched an ambitious development project. The aim was to disconnect itself from an unjust political and economic global order that kept it within the dominated periphery and relegated the country to a status of a proletariat nation; on the one hand as a market for the dominant Western economies, and on the other, as a reservoir of cheap labor and natural resources.