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2012-02-09

IMF favours Algeria-Morocco rapprochement

By Lyes Aflou for Magharebia in Algiers – 09/02/12

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Reopening the Algerian-Moroccan border will boost economic growth in the Maghreb and accelerate integration, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde said last week.

"I think that the free circulation of people and opening of the borders between Algeria and Morocco will provide a strong contribution to the economic integration between the countries of the UMA and will result in better economic growth in the region," she told Nessma TV on Friday (February 3rd).

The IMF chief hopes to convey this message to the Algerian authorities during a visit scheduled for the end of this year.

"I shall visit Algeria before the end of the year to discuss a number of matters with the Algerian authorities, chiefly those relating to the Algerian government's economic programme," Lagarde added.

In its latest report on the Algerian economy, the IMF concluded that Algeria is doing "relatively well" despite a climate of international economic uncertainty.

The board of directors highlighted solid growth in 2011, bolstered by rising oil prices, which helped the balance between the country's external expenditures and government receipts.

"The driving effect of the public investment programme should maintain the growth rate excluding hydrocarbons at around 5%, taking growth in GDP overall to around 2.5%", according to the report released on January 27th.

The country, however, needs to overcome its dependency on oil and gas, which are subject to strong fluctuations, the IMF said. An increase in revenue generated by hydrocarbons has been partially absorbed by rising expenditures due to salary increases and social benefits.

"The budget will remain in deficit to a value of roughly 4% of GDP, with increases in government income being more than made up for by a 32% increase in total expenditure, particularly on higher salaries for public servants and benefits," said the IMF.

While prospects look bright over the short term, things could change in the long run since "financial stability depends on the volatility of oil prices". At the moment, Algeria's economic growth "continues to be driven by public investment and the Sonatrach company's development programme".

In 2012, "GDP excluding hydrocarbons could grow by 5%, but hydrocarbons should continue to fall off due to a low world demand, limiting overall growth to between approximately 3 and 3.5%," the monetary institution predicted.

Algeria needs to diversify the economy to avoid "serious risks in the case of a downturn in the international economic situation and a prolonged slump in oil prices", according to Lagarde. Algerian Finance Minister Karim Djoudi echoed her remarks.

The IMF's comments "highlight the Algerian government's prime objective, namely the diversification of the economy so that the proportion of resources from economic activities should continue to grow more and more", he told the Senate on January 30th.

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    marjolaine 2012-4-14

    The IMF is a criminal organisation for international finance and is under Sarkozy’s (or France’s) control. It is certain that France or the IMF will have a lot more to gain if Algeria opens its border with Morocco, which is chock full of French Zionist companies, namely Renault Dacia, which is planning on massive exports to Algeria. I hope that Algeria will not succumb to the blackmail from France and Europe and the Arab countries that are protectorates of France and Israel (namely, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Qatar and so on). I say this without bitterness and without pity.

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    ع ح 2012-2-17

    Balance between social details and progress. Increasing the flexibility of labour markets and standardizing financial services throughout borders in the Arab Maghreb is something plausible. However, it will be slow and will happen after social integration with the progress of reform forces that are apolitically difficult. They are considered to a wide extent as necessary. If we want progress to be strong between the two countries, required political reforms are necessary, as they will restore balance between the two sides- as well as restructuring the role of the International Monetary Fund in North Africa.

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    Sid 2012-2-14

    Well the main reasons of non opening the border between Algeria and Morocco is due to the lose of revenues to the dictators in Algeria (cnan) most Algerian migrants will use the roads instead of the high ferries cost.... Shame

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    L'Africain 2012-2-10

    The words of Christine Lagarde are not in themselves in question, but the function and, even more so, the international institution that employs her are. The latter raises legitimate doubt and suspicious among the Africans that we are. Must we remind you that the under-development that is imposed upon us does not make us cretins? Not so long ago, the legendary boss of the IMF extolled Ben Ali and the developmental model that he embodied and exhorted his “dunce” of a neighbour (you follow me lest I have to name him!) to follow his example. The images of the free media are there to refresh certain people’s selective memories. Meanwhile, a great many voices were already sounding the alarm, including on the inside. These voices were marginalised, gagged and discredited by the ferocious propaganda of the singular thought. Today, the same people are changing their minds and relying on amnesia, stupidity or the force of their ideological dictates. None of this is the reality. The majority of the public, which does not have access to the “free” media, knows that this sweet talk was only the tip of the iceberg for the visible (or audible) part of the hegemonic strategies of this institution, which is one of the central pieces of the ultra-liberal, globalised system. This is the explanation! If the IMF has a few secret recipes, then may it explain them to the EU, which is sinking on end. And since Africa is itself unwillingly and tragically stowed away in this old continent, it is going down with it!!! Miss Lagarde is a lawyer, so she should pose herself the question: “Is this fair?” The issue of opening the Algerian border boils down to the sovereignty of the Algerian people, who refuse to be invaded by Moroccan hashish. Is this the bare minimum of good neighbourliness?

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