Interview: Li Jian
What is Algeria’s potential for the construction sector in the short and medium term, and what challenges do you see arising?
LI JIAN: Despite this construction sector’s achievements in recent decades, Algeria’s need for housing and infrastructure remains a priority. The authorities have regularly confirmed their dedication to social development and the improvement of their citizens’ quality of life. To this end, it is important that the infrastructure and construction sectors continue in their current momentum.
Diversification efforts and the improvement of Algeria’s business climate have also generated new needs for the sector, such as the construction of high-end facilities and complex infrastructure projects. The drop of public resources due to lower hydrocarbons revenues since 2014, which supply around 50% of the state budget, does not change the fact that the construction sector is a great source of potential. However, these challenges, which have impacted many other sectors of the economy, have made it necessary for construction operators to adapt to temporary difficulties.
To what extent is the availability of construction materials a challenge for companies carrying out complex infrastructure projects?
LI: Companies carrying out complex construction projects have often been faced with insufficient or unavailable essential materials. In order to eliminate these difficulties in supply, Algeria has favoured productive investments in infrastructure projects, and in the construction sector in general.
There will always be areas in which Algerian industrial and manufacturing plants are unable to meet the demand for supplies needed for the development of complex infrastructure projects in the country – as is the case in most economies around the world. However, construction companies have the ability to use their experience in the market and potential assistance from the government to overcome this constraint.
As a foreign construction company, how well would you assess Algeria’s ability to compete with other emerging markets in the region?
LI: Algeria has developed policies in line with its potential and has more natural resources than its neighbours in the region, as well as an effective legal framework. This allows the country to launch ambitious programmes, particularly in the construction and civil engineering sector.
CSCEC has been established for more than 36 years in Algeria, and has carried out numerous projects and gained in-depth knowledge of the Algerian economy. Indeed, Chinese companies have become more experienced and trusted in the country’s construction sector. Going forward, the continued involvement and pursuit of new investment opportunities will strengthen their presence even more.
How can Chinese companies assist with the development of Algeria’s infrastructure?
LI: Chinese companies have demonstrated their skills and valuable knowledge in the construction sector through a range of previous high-level achievements. These companies have numerous favourable assets that they can use to benefit Algerian construction projects, such as their experience in the field and understanding of local demand.
More specifically, Chinese companies have proven themselves to be both efficient and competitive, and will continue to develop further concrete contributions to the upgrade of infrastructure in Algeria.
In addition, Chinese companies, with the support of their government, can work as an appropriate interlocutor for both the execution and financing of Algerian infrastructure development.
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