ISSN 2686 - 9675 (Print)
ISSN 2782 - 1935 (Online)

Китайский «Один пояс, один путь» в арабских странах северной и восточной Африки

5. OBOR — a Precondition for the Resumption of Sino–Algerian Cooperation

China was the first non-Arab country to recog-nize the provi-sional government of Algeria in De-cember 1958, and under Mao Zedong saw Algeria as the core of the anti-colonial and anti-imperialist struggle in Africa, a means of confirming the Com-munist Party of China's (CPC) own revolutionary ideological claims, and a prize in inter-communist rivalry with the Soviet Union. Throughout the Cold War, relations between China and Algeria were “a marriage of convenience ... based more on symbolism than on any particular connection” [82].

In the 1990s, after Algeria abandoned official references to socialism and by this point the Chinese economy began to flourish, trade relations between the two countries began to expand. However, pro-gress was hampered by the civil war in Algeria (1992–2002), and after the end of this conflict, China's eco-nomic presence in Algeria increased [82].

The progressive development of the bilateral relationship is anchored in three documents: the Declaration on Strategic Part-nership and Coopera-tion (November 6, 2006, Beijing) [38], the Five-Year Plan for China-Algeria Comprehensive Strate-gic Cooperation (June 6, 2014, Beijing) [116], and the MoU on Cooperation under the BRI Framework (September 5, 2018, Beijing) [27]. On June 6, 2014, China and Algeria signed the Five-Year Plan for Comprehensive Strategic Cooperation between Chi-na and Algeria [116]. On September 4, 2018, on the sidelines of the FOCAC in China's capital Beijing, Algeria and China signed an MoU on the joining the BRI. The decree said Algeria and China shall coop-erate in the framework of the MoU in the fields of policies coordination, infrastructure interdepend-ence and other areas [29].

China became Algeria’s top trade partner in 2013, overtaking France. There is a significant trade deficit, and while China has become Algeria’s primary source for imports, which were valued at US $ 7.85 billion in 2018, Algeria’s exports to China remain relatively insignificant compared to its exports to European count-ries, and are almost entirely from the hydrocarbon sector. However, its exports to China are rising, having jumped 60-fold between 2000 and 2017 [17]. During the first five months of 2019, China remained the top supplier of Algeria with exports worth US $ 3.5 billion [29]. Although Algeria's exports to China are minimal, its imports from China totaled US $ 5.4 billion in 2019 [96]. China, especially through construction com-panies, is the first foreign investor in Algeria by 2016 [28]. While Algeria has ranked among the top construction countries in China since the mid-2000s, it has not been the main destination for Chi-nese overseas investment. Algerian imports from China are heavily focused on capital goods, equip-ment, and electro-nics rather than cheap, poorly manufactured consumer goods. To reduce the trade deficit, the Algerian government imposed volume limits on electronic goods and household appliances, which led to a sharp decline in imports from China [82].

China's documented joint construction and investment activities in Algeria between 2005 and 2020 were heavily concentrated in the transport and real estate sector and amounted to US $ 23.85 billion. Nearly three quarters of that amount was accumulated prior to the 2013 BRI launch. Since then, about US $ 9 billion in Chinese construction and investment deals in Algeria have accounted for only a small fraction of the value of these activities in the Arab ME and other countries in NA (5%) and Sub-Saharan Africa (7%) [82].

In the 2000s, Algeria frequently asked Chinese contractors to implement the Economic Recovery Support Program (2001-2004) and the subsequent Economic Growth Support Program (2005-2009), which were financed by skyrocketing oil revenues. The goal was to catch up during the 1990s, when oil prices were low and when the “fight against terror-ism” dictated spending and budgetary priorities. Since the liberalization of foreign investment laws and restrictions on structural adjustment programs, Chinese contractors have become very competitive, easily won numerous public tenders and taken the best part of the production, winning 80% of infra-structure contracts in Algeria, at a time when West-ern contractors were fleeing insecurity and poor business climate [109]. Over the past two decades, Chinese enterprises were granted various public de-velopment projects valued at more than US $ 70 bil-lion. In Algeria, Chinese companies are primarily interested in the construction, housing, and energy sectors [82].

2 — 2022
Арутюнян Агавни Александровна, Отдел международных отношений Института Востоковедения Национальной Академии Наук Армении