Algeria is an "emerging," "stable" and "promising" market offering huge opportunities for foreign investors, according to 2013 Investment Climate Statement of the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs at the US Department of State.
Encouraging direct investment in Algeria, the report underlines that the business climate in Algeria "has stabilized" following the adoption of the Finance Act 2009, which imposed the 51/49% rule, and considers Algeria "an emerging and growing market."
The growing Algerian economy is attracting interest from multinational firms around the world, the report said.
Algeria with its wealth, its five-year development programme worth US$286 billion and its expanding infrastructure needs and growing consumer product demand "is attracting interest from companies around the world."
The reports notes that "the climate for international firms considering direct investments in Algeria has stabilized in the wake of a series of restrictive foreign investment rules enacted in 2009 and 2010."
The latest figures provided by the report show quasi-stability of foreign direct investments (FDI) in Algeria over four years with US$ 2.7 billion in 2008, US$ 3.1 billion in 2009, US$ 2.3 billion in 2010 and US$2.7 billion in 2011.
"The 51/49% rule remains controversial but foreign investors have adapted," the source said adding that "in some cases, foreign firms have partnered with multiple Algerian companies that agree to share the majority percentage, so the foreign partner maintains overall control."
Some investors have expressed a "preference" for working through a local partner, which can help them "navigating the challenging local bureaucracy and business norms," the source said.
In addition, the new law on hydrocarbons and the 2013 Finance Act include measures "to ease tax and customs procedures" for foreign investors, according to the report.
The hydrocarbon law amendments are expected to include provisions to encourage foreign investment, especially in non-conventional hydrocarbons (shale gas exploration), the source added.