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Algerian Premier Confident of Growth

Algerian Premier Confident of GrowthAlgerian Premier Confident of Growth

Algeria’s economy will improve this year, Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia said, as revenue from the OPEC member’s oil and natural gas exports picks up after falling by half since 2014.

“2017 has been a difficult year, but 2018 will be much better,” Ouyahia told reporters, adding that unemployment had risen to 11.7% last year, Reuters reported.

Oil and natural gas exports increased 25% to $7.1 billion in the first two months of 2018, up from $5.67 billion in the same period a year earlier, according to official data.

Algeria is a major gas supplier to Europe and relies heavily on revenue from energy exports. They account for 95% of its total exports and 60% of the state budget.

Ouyahia also confirmed he will not run in next year’s presidential election as speculation grows that veteran President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, 81, will seek a fifth term. Bouteflika, in office since 1999, has largely disappeared from public view since a stroke in 2013. “We can only be proud if the president decides to run,” Ouyahia said.

In a possible sign that authorities are paving the way for a fifth term, Ouyahia—leader of the pro-government National Rally for Democracy party—said a campaign will be launched to showcase the president’s achievements.

“It is important ... to show where the $1,000 billion (in energy revenues) were spent during four terms,” Ouyahia said.

Bouteflika can also count on the support of the ruling party FLN, and thousands of former fighters who have accepted a partial amnesty offer to lay down arms ending civil war with extremists in the 1990s.

 

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