Lord Richard Risby of Haverhill, Special Envoy of the UK Prime Minister in Algeria: Interview

Lord Richard Risby of Haverhill, Special Envoy of the UK Prime Minister in Algeria

Interview: Lord Richard Risby of Haverhill

In which fields is the partnership between the UK and Algeria most efficient?

LORD RICHARD RISBY OF HAVERHILL: We have forged many partnerships – BP, AstraZeneca and Unilever – and have encouraged more UK companies to enter this market than ever before. There are already a number of UK companies doing business in Algeria, including British Airways, BAT, GlaxoSmithKline, Grant Thornton, HSBC, KPMG, Llewellyn Davies, Petrofac, Rolls-Royce or Shell. Our oil and gas companies have a long history of cooperation, but there is scope for us to do more together to develop and diversify this sector. With new gas fields being discovered, there are more opportunities, not just in the exploitation of hydrocarbons resources, but also in supply chain, supportive industries and the development of low-carbon industries where the UK has considerable experience. Another important ingredient for success is human capital and training. UK companies want to work closely with Algeria to support technical and vocational education. The English language is becoming ever more popular in Algeria. My ambition is to ensure this growing demand is met by the British Council, which is working hard to improve the didactics of English language education: the training of trainers, governance, distance education and research.

What are the most recent developments in economic cooperation between the UK and Algeria?

LORD RISBY: UK oil and gas companies remain keen to bring their skills and experience to the process of working with Algerian companies. In September 2017 we supported a Scottish Development International oil and gas trade delegation visit to Algeria that was extremely successful. Algeria is important to the UK, not just in the energy sector. During the past few months we have worked more closely in the defence and security industry, an area where the UK is a world leader. I am also encouraged by the Algerian government, which is driving forward the diversification and reform action plan. It is very important to provide a stable business climate for a thriving industry. It is essential, not just for local business, but to encourage and keep foreign business and investment in the country. I know that the government has been working to make investment easier and more attractive by introducing incentives such as tax breaks and streamlining administrative processes across some sectors.

However, there is always more that can be done to adapt to change, be flexible and respond to new opportunities in today’s global market. This is something the City of London wants to work closely with Algeria on. For example, I was delighted to support the minister of finance, Abderrahmane Raouya, during his visit to London in October 2017 to attend the UK-Algeria Finance Conference hosted by the Lord Mayor of London. Raouya led a delegation of over 30 Algerian financial and professional service companies and experts. I travelled again to Algeria in November to follow up with him, and we are discussing further events to be held in Algeria in early 2018.

What opportunities does the country offer to investors from the UK?

LORD RISBY: Apart from hydrocarbons and defence, Algeria has plans for huge infrastructure developments such as ports, airports and renewable energy projects. The diversification and economic reform plans will also offer investment opportunities to UK companies in most sectors, particularly in financial and professional services, ICT, mining, agriculture and tourism. Algeria is large, wealthy, politically stable and is home to the closest non-European capital city to London. With 70% of its 41m-person population under the age of 40, it is an exciting and easily accessible market.

It is a time of change for both countries. Our bilateral relationship continues to strengthen and grow, and is widening into many new business ventures – so I see this as a particularly exciting time for the UK and Algeria.

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Lord Richard Risby of Haverhill

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The Report: Algeria 2017

The Report

This article is from the Country Profile chapter of The Report: Algeria 2017. Explore other chapters from this report.