By Sami Zaptia.
London, 11 June 2021:
The speedy re-opening of the Libyan-Algerian Ghadames-Debdeb land border crossing could increase the export of thousands of Algerian products to Libya to the value of US$ 20 billion.
The assertion was made by Abdelwahab Ziani the head of the Algerian Confederation of Industrialists and Producers, according to the Algerian News Agency on Wednesday.
Ziani said the reopening would allow a significant increase in the value of Algerian exports to Libya, explaining that more than two thousand Algerian products could enter the Libyan market.
He said Algerian businesses were ready for the challenge of diversifying their country’s non-hydrocarbon revenues provided that the state helps them, especially with transportation, banking transactions and customs.
Algerian exports to Libya could reach US$ 20 bn
According to Ziani’s estimates, the volume of exports outside of hydrocarbons may exceed the target for this year, which is set at US$ 5 billion, if trade with Libya through the Debdeb crossing is activated – and may even exceed them to US$ 10 billion.
In addition to agricultural products, Ziani predicted that pharmaceutical products, foodstuffs (primarily pasta), manufacturing products, building materials, as well as services, will be very popular in the Libyan market, in which he estimated the volume of internal demand to be at more than US$ 20 billion.
Algerian companies need government support
Algerian producers can fully meet this demand, provided that they obtain their government support and facilities, which he said formed the focus of a visit made at the beginning of this June by a delegation from the Confederation, accompanied by the Director General of the National Company for Cargo (Logitran) and representatives of the Algerian Foreign Bank.
Agreements at May Algerian-Libyan Economic Forum
Ziani noted that Algeria’s Ministry of Finance had agreed with the Libyan Ministry of Economy and Trade, during the Algerian-Libyan Economic Forum held in late May, to update the agreement to prevent double taxation between the two countries and to expedite the opening of the Debdeb-Ghadames border crossing, as well as the opening of a bank branch at the border crossing.
Bank branches at border crossing
In this context, Ziani considered that the establishment of a branch by the Algerian Foreign Bank at the Debdeb crossing next September will be an important step. It would facilitate commercial transactions between the two countries, reducing the period of banking transactions, and easing the export of Algerian goods into Libyan.
Algerian bank branch in Tripoli – Algerian companies to open branches in Libya
However, he stressed the need to follow this step by establishing a branch of the Algerian Foreign Bank in Tripoli, in order to enable Algerian businesses to conduct their commercial transactions with ease, including the establishment of branches for their Algerian companies in Libya.
Improvement of current investment laws
Ziani also pointed to the need to adapt current investment laws to the requirements of promoting Algerian exports and expanding activity abroad.
Improved transport links
Equally, in order to raise the volume of Algerian exports to various border and African countries, Ziani called for an acceleration of the opening of air and sea freight, calling also for the encouragement of Algerian enterprises to invest in the border areas of southern Algeria through customs advantages.
Speedy establishment of free zones
Ziani said that free trade zones are of great interest to dealers in Libya, Chad, Mali and other African countries, calling for their establishment to be expedited.