Algeria seeks Chinese help with $2bn port scheme

Algeria is to spend $1.9bn on a port about 70km west of Algiers. The scheme, which will be one of the largest infrastructure projects in Algerian history, is to begin next year.

 The announcement was made by Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal. He said that the project would not be paid for by the Algerian government, and that the Ministry of Transport was looking for ways of financing the work.

Bouchouareb Abdessalem, the minister for industry and mines, later invited Chinese port operators to participate in the scheme, which he said would give Chinese manufacturers an opening to the markets of Africa, southern Europe and the Arab countries.

China invested $10m in Algeria in 2014, making it the country’s largest source of foreign capital. 

According to Algerian media, China is preparing a $40bn investment fund for the country, and talks are presently under way over the construction of a vehicle assembly plant and the exploitation of iron ore deposits at Gara Djebilet, which are thought to amount to more than 2 billion tonnes.

Work on the project will be organised into three phases lasting 10 years. Sellal said state and private companies would be involved in the construction.

He was speaking at the 18th tripartite meeting between government, unions and employers, which was held in the oasis town of Biskra.

When complete, the port will cover 1,000ha, and will also have a 300ha logistics zone. It should be able to handle 35 million tons of goods a year, and will take over some of the traffic that is presently handled by Algiers.

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