Algeria facing Sub Saharan Migration with Difficulty

And it needs a strategy adapted to the new realities
Algeria facing sub Saharan migration with difficulty is currently a very sensitive subject that divides the Algerians and in the opinion of the majority of the experts I consulted it is more complex than it appears. The migration issue would, to paraphrase the military language require having a strategic vision, taking account of the present world’s socio-political mutations. So it will be a matter of posing the real problems in order to perhaps get real solutions away from any demagoguery and one-upmanship. If the security aspect has to be looked at, so be it but as guarantor of national security.


And it needs a strategy adapted to the new realities

Algeria facing sub Saharan migration with difficulty is currently a very sensitive subject that divides the Algerians and in the opinion of the majority of the experts I consulted it is more complex than it appears. The migration issue would, to paraphrase the military language require having a strategic vision, taking account of the present world’s socio-political mutations. So it will be a matter of posing the real problems in order to perhaps get real solutions away from any demagoguery and one-upmanship. If the security aspect has to be looked at, so be it but as guarantor of national security.

We are in the era of globalization where migration flows are a reality.   Transhumance as it were migration are fundamentally for the same causes of rapid urbanization and metropolization of the world, over-population pressures, sporadic unemployment, rapid spread of news and literally transnationalization of migratory networks.

The categories of migrants and countries have become more complex, the globalisation of migration with a regionalisation of migratory flows. Globally, migrations are organized geographically where complementarities are built between start and host areas. These correspond to geographical proximity, historical, linguistic and cultural ties to transnational networks built by migrants and smugglers that form a formal or informal traffic, with space or no institutional facilities of passage.

Migration has more than tripled since the middle of 1970s: 77 million in 1975, 120 million in 1999, 150 million in the early 2000s, nearly 300 million in 2017. In 2016, immigration from the Africa of 1.2 billion people exceeded the Syrian, Iraqi, and Afghan arrivals in Europe. What will it be when that continent will accommodate 2.5 billion people, or a quarter of the world’s population in 2050?

According to an article by Le Monde of January 6, 2017 citing Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, 93% of those who landed in Italy, came from that continent. This agency estimated that “this reflects the growing migratory pressure on the African continent, and particularly in Western Africa that is responsible for the bulk of the growth in arrivals by this route in 2016”.

African immigration is mixed, consisting of eligible refugees in Asylum Law (Eritreans, Sudanese, Ethiopians), but also economic, particularly from the West African migrants. The main communities arriving in Italy, the Nigerians constituted 21% of the entrants, followed by Eritreans (11.7%), Guineans (7.2%) and the Ivoirians (6.7%). This reflected the factors of mobility for different reasons: discrepancies between the levels of human development, political and environmental crises producing refugees and displaced, decreasing costs of transport, generalization of passports issuance, role of the media, rising consciousness that change to life by international migration is feasible.

Global warming that is already affecting Africa is anticipated to hit it harder by 2025/2030/2040, thus will most certainly accentuate this exodus.

 The reasons are multiple and could be that : a prevailing hopelessness in all those poor countries that are badly governed. It is up to the leaders of the South to take their responsibility instead of always taking advantage of the exceptional wealth of resources of this continent whilst encouraging corruption and enabling purchases of luxury assets deposited in tax havens.

If there is a corrupted, then there must be a corruptor. A recent report by the United Nations shows illegal capital transfers from Africa to the rest of the world between 1980 and 2010 exceeded the current gross domestic product of Africa and all related cumulated aid.  The Valletta summit in November 2015 that brought European and African leaders together was devoted to this topic, but the measures announced are not considered sufficient despite the €1.8 billion cheque signed by the European Union to these countries.

Lack of good governance and total absence of a real fight against corruption, hence demonstrating a certain lack of morality, the African leaders, would go as far as instead of avoid these fratricidal wars for either seizing power or any other objective not always honourable.  The majority of them leaders were unable to lay real development programs, not to mention having a very contemptuous attitude for their elite pushing its members to a certain brain drain, unlike their speeches that under a false guise of “nationalism” that does not carry anymore.

These factors highlight the bipolarization between three worlds that of the wealthy, the emerging and the poor countries that push their people of the latter to a certain and continuous exodus as we can daily witness from this tragic collective suicide of thousands trying desperately to cross seas and land borders for a better and / or safe life. Leaders of the North and equally of the South are largely responsible for this state of affairs.

Faced with this situation, the Algerian leaders must have a different vision because Algeria is no longer considered a transit or passage only, but a country where Africans and others settle permanently.

The agreement between the EU and Turkey, signed in March 2016 and by which Ankara agrees against finance to control the passing emigration to Europe through its territory, is an explanation to what many Africans decide to settle permanently in the neighbouring countries including Algeria.

Today Africans from south of the Sahara represent barely 10% of migrants in the world, and most of these ‘displaced’ just moved into a neighbouring country of their own. According to the IOM, in 2015, I quote from the report: “on the 32 million who took to the road, half of them have asked their bag on their continent.

A new situation is before us and it is that of the African migrants who did not come of their own accord but have fled misery and war, no longer pass but settle permanently at the level of the regions of the Maghreb including Algeria as per international agreements.

This new situation therefore calls for new solutions; certainly not from a vision of xenophobic, racist, or from a behaviour alien to the nature of the Algerian population. It comes from adapting the Algerian legislation, but especially to coordinate all actions with Europe, with neighbouring countries, with all concerned African leaders with any involved repatriation, without devaluing the human person.  Also there is need to establish some of residence and transitional system of identification for a chosen emigration depending on the particular needs of Algeria in agriculture, tourism, building and infrastructure development, etc. all whilst avoiding any demeaning assistance.

The position of Algeria since independence has been a consistent one towards Africa, its natural economic space.  It would be a trial of intention to, as we currently see it through the majority of the international media to misrepresent it as efforts against these migratory flows.  These must be pooled, Algeria being unable to endure the financial weight to it, on its own.

As such I would think that the words of the Chief Clerk of the Presidency, speaking as a supporter as a Secretary General. of a leading party can only be as or poorly formulated and therefore have been widely misinterpreted. It simply belongs to the Algerian leaders to speak with one voice so as to avoid misinterpretation. 

In short, immigration raises the issue of global security that would require quick involvement with an overhaul of international relations based on win/win partnership but also and especially a renewed governance of each and every African country.  Africa is endowed with a high and rich potential but is presently enduring growing hardship with no end in sight.  For as far as Algeria is concerned, his Excellency Mr. the President of the Republic has always paid a particular attention as demonstrated with the NEPAD initiative. 


The Maghreb Union the world’s worst trading bloc

The Maghreb Union the world’s worst trading bloc is a vast expanse of land between the Sahara, the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean and is made of nations with relatively homogeneous ethnic compositions that are largely dominated by the Amazigh component. The Arab identity that was inlaid during the 8th and 9th centuries came eventually to dominate the whole without however convening it, within one State or complementary neighbouring States.

The Maghreb Union the world’s worst trading bloc is believed as such by most, notably by the author of the proposed article of the WEF.  It is nevertheless a vast expanse of land between the Sahara, the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean and is made of nations with relatively homogeneous ethnic compositions that are largely dominated by the Amazigh component.  The Arab identity that was inlaid during the 8th and 9th centuries came eventually to dominate the whole without however convening it, within one State or complementary neighbouring States.
Today rallies take place with or often without confrontation with the security forces in every corner of the Maghreb to claim for most amongst many things their legitimate identity.  The Mouvement Autonomist Kabyle and the M’zab in Algeria, the Rif’s Hirak in Morocco are only the loudest few taking to the street for what could be assimilated to discontent with such existing States.
All of these countries it is said are consequent to a long chain of crises.  These started with the demise of that part of the Maghreb from the multi century old rule of the Ottoman Empire to the superfluous French protectorate of a few years in Morocco and Tunisia and outright but unsuccessful colonisation in Algeria.
This article below of the World Economic Forum written by Wadia Ait Hamza, Head of Social Engagement – The Americas, gives a pretty descriptive image of the currently prevailing situation of the countries of the Maghreb.

The Maghreb Union is one of the world’s worst-performing trading blocs. Here are five ways to change that

The Maghreb is the perfect example of a region whose countries have been unable to find their way to a deeper integration

The Image above is of REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal

In today’s world it is increasingly difficult for non-integrated countries to be either economically or politically viable. It is simply not sustainable for countries to be isolated in their own bubble; those nations should overcome their competitive mindset and search for ways to cooperate with their peers.

The Maghreb, in Northern Africa, is the perfect example of a region whose countries have been unable to find their way to a deeper integration. Only the most basic level of cooperation exists between the region’s five countries – Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia – despite the fact that the Maghreb Arab Union was created more than 25 years ago with the aim of building a powerful economic bloc in the region.

The region’s potential is enormous, especially if its countries can work together. However, trade between the Maghreb countries represents just 4.8% of their trade volume, according to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa – and it represents less than 2% of the sub-region’s combined gross domestic product (GDP), according to the World Bank. This region is one of the lowest-performing trading blocs in the world.

If the five Maghreb countries were integrated, each would gain a minimum 5% rise in GDP. A report by the World Bank on economic integration in the Maghrebestimated that deeper integration, including the liberalising of services and reform of investment rules would have increased the per capita real GDP between 2005 and 2015 by 34% for Algeria, 27% for Morocco and 24% for Tunisia.

read more on the original WEF website


Have settlements killed the two-state solution?

Yesterday May 1st, 2017, we would have liked to ponder on Israel’s current housing situation. The idea was spurred by Al Jazeera that on April 28th had on their show animated by one of their sharpest Mehdi Hassan looking at the very topic but in a different way asked Israeli diplomat Dani Dayan “ Have settlements killed the two-state solution? “
This latter did not waste time defending settlement building and / or housing units development as undertaken and / or allowed by the Israeli government despite all the noise that this is engendering.  This made one wonder if all of the above was the result of what is presently on-going in not far from the West Bank territories where most of those above developments usually take place, but as it were in Israel proper.  According to a RealtyToday citing a recent Bloomberg report on the matter and like for all countries developed and developing alike, lack of sufficient and / or suitable housing as elaborated on in this article sounded as if coming as a surprise of some sort to all.
Here it is with thanks to the authors and publishers :

Israel Housing Problems Become Hot Discussion Ahead of Next Election

Posted by Staff Reporter ( on March 29, 2016.

Israel is facing a housing crisis with home prices continuing in the upward trend and home inventory lacking 100,000 apartments.

As reported by Bloomberg, the housing market could determine how the Israeli politicians would fare in the upcoming election in the country. The publication noted that while the country is home to top scientists and engineers, the housing problem can seem to be solved.

House prices, which have more than doubled in less than a decade, resulted in a mass protest back in 2011. Last year, Israel’s home prices rose 7.8 percent, largely driven by the government’s low benchmark rate. The average home price in the country stands at $360,000.

There is a need to increase the country’s housing supply, but building data doesn’t seem good. Last year, housing starts rose 3.9 percent, but completion rate dropped 2.8 percent.


Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon has some measures to introduce but analysts are skeptical they would generated results in the near future. While waiting for the long-term policies to bring results, Kahlon introduced some short-term measures such as the increase in taxes for investors. These, however, fail to address the core issues, said Michael Sarel, a former Finance Ministry chief economist.

“Raising taxes on investors simply reduces the number of rental apartments, which hurts the middle and lower classes as well,” he told Bloomberg.

The government recently issued a call for bids from foreign construction companies. According to Globes, six firms will be chosen and each will be allowed to bring up to 1,000 workers to Israel. The call aims to boost construction of residential properties in the country and consequently close the gap between supply and demand. The shortage in housing supply has been driving housing prices in recent years.



Europe – North Africa Cooperation in High Education

Europe – North Africa Cooperation in High Education comes in as education in the MENA generally and more specifically in its western half of North Africa has been for some time prioritised with various efforts being made to improve it through notably innovation with a view to creating job opportunities for the youth.
Illiteracy however remained and is still rampant although varying from country to country and from cities to rural areas within each country.
Historically, education systems of the Maghreb countries having within the last 50 years undergone since independence, reform processes whose main objectives was to prepare for the nationalization take over through European inspired education curriculums while stressing the need to respond as closely as possible to the aspirations of the indigenous cultures by providing teachers in re replacement of the predominantly European body of educators.
The situation nowadays is best described by an article on University World News Issue No. 456 of April 21, 2017 by Wagdy Sawahel who elaborated on Europe and North African higher education cooperation plans for the future.
It is well known to all around the Mediterranean basin that education and innovation are mechanisms of progress in the 21st century, whilst all ideas related to that goal resonate as being somewhat impossible to attain in most capital cities across North Africa without as it were, a hand from Europe.

Europe-North Africa HE cooperation plan unveiled

In efforts to promote cooperation in science, technology, innovation and higher education, five countries of the Arab Maghreb Union and five European countries have approved a two-year cooperation plan aimed at stimulating economic growth, job creation and social cohesion in the Western Mediterranean region.

The 10 countries are known as member states of the “5+5 Dialogue initiative: A sub-regional forum for dialogue”.

The five Maghreb countries involved are Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia. The five European countries include Western Mediterranean nations, namely, France, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain.

The new two year plan (2017-18) was announced at the third conference of the ministers of research, innovation and higher education of the member countries of the forum for the dialogue in the Western Mediterranean, held under the theme “Promotion of Higher Education, Research and Innovation to Achieve Social Stability and Economic Development”, in Tunis, Tunisia from 30-31 March.

Institutional network

According to a dedicated website for the 5+5 Dialogue initiative launched in Tunis, the plan encompasses several initiatives and projects, including the setting up of a network of higher education institutions, the formation of teams of researchers and engineers around joint projects, the development of a rectors’ network, along with the promotion of exchanges of best practices in quality assurance and governance.

The network of higher education institutions within the Dialogue 5+5 will focus on encouraging cooperation between higher education institutions in the Western Mediterranean Basin.

Based in Tunisia, the regional network will focus on strengthening existing university linkages and developing newer partnerships around novel cooperative projects.

The network will participate in the construction of ‘Mediterranean spaces’ dedicated to research, innovation and higher education approved and outlined in the 2013 Rabat Declaration and endorsed at the first conference of ministers of research and higher education of the 5+5 Dialogue states, held in Morocco.

Free movement

Mediterranean spaces will be based on the principle of free movement of researchers between the two western shores of the Mediterranean and on a connection to regional and global scientific networks to facilitate the exchange of scientific data and development of skills.

It will also focus on intellectual property, patenting and exchange of students, academics and research between countries.

The network will also support initiatives that promote institutional partnerships, including scientific networks, the mobility of students, faculty and administrators, multi-diploma or thesis co-supervision, and the development of online training and research

Collaboration with researchers in the region will be enhanced under the Horizon 2020 programme known as PRIMA – Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area – that will help bridge the gap and regulate the brain drain through the creation of poles of excellence in member countries.

The proposed Dialogue 5+5 rectors’ network will focus on specific initiatives including organising regular encounters between rectors and presidents from all Dialogue 5+5 countries, with visits to universities and polytechnic institutes as well as international meetings of students and researchers, and the holding of conferences and seminars on mobility and academic interchanges.

Enhancing quality

Besides sharing quality assurance practices, the plan will enhance exchanges on governance with a focus on the organisation of teaching, research and innovation in order to improve the management, efficiency and financial autonomy of institutions.

At the opening of the conference, Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed said that a national conference on higher education reform will take place in Tunis in the period from 30 June-1 July to present a higher education reform plan that will focus on five major axes, including university training, employment, human resources, governance and innovation, according to a local press report.

Migrant Labour populations Remittances

Any kind of taxation on migrant labour populations remittances (funds that emigrant workers earn and transfer to their home countries) news from say the GCC Countries as well as its potential impact on all recipient countries was a hot subject after the world’s oil and gas prices started dropping back in June 2014. In 2013, 15 million expats in GCC countries send home $80b in remittance every year. [. . . ]

Any kind of taxation on migrant labour populations remittances (funds that emigrant workers earn and transfer to their home countries) news from say the GCC Countries as well as its potential impact on all recipient countries was a hot subject after the world’s oil and gas prices started dropping back in June 2014. In 2013, 15 million expats in GCC countries send home $80b in remittance every year.Taxation of foreign workers’ transfers of money in the Gulf countries begun to be debated as a potentially viable solution to address the respective GCC government budget deficits. So for the sending countries, the short-term economic benefit of taxing this outflow of funds could be somehow taken as some sort of shortcoming by the receiving countries.

The MENA region in this matter is interesting because it holds the top sending as well as top receiving remittances flows in the world.

For instance, the top 10 remittance recipient countries in the MENA were in 2015 Egypt with $20.4 billion, Lebanon with $7.5 billion and Morocco with $6.7 billion.

The top sending ones were in 2014/15, according to the local media Saudi Arabia with about $40 billion, the UAE with $29 billion and Qatar with more than $10 billion.

In 2012, the biggest recipient country was India with $70 billion followed by China with $66 billion and the Philippines with Mexico and Nigeria with more than $21 billion each. A small remark in passing is that the size of remittance flows to developing countries is now much greater than any official development funding. The picture however is not that positive onto both sets of countries socio-economic life as briefly noted below:

  • Outflow of workers from any country normally causes labour shortages with direct consequences on the local economy
  • Large inflows of remittances could affect the local currency exchange rate to appreciate

The proposed article of the following World Bank report although fairly exhaustive is as detailed and as comprehensive as one would want and it does nevertheless lead us to believe that remittances flows one way or the other is a fact of life that whilst sustaining the global economy, it is an increasing trend that is not relevant only to the MENA and the OECD countries. It is world wide and increasing.

Migration and Remittances

The number of international migrants is expected to surpass 250 million this year, an all-time high, as people search for economic opportunity. And, fast growing developing countries have increasingly become a strong magnet for people from other parts of the developing world.

In a demonstration of their economic footprint, international migrants will send $601 billion to their families in their home countries this year, with developing countries receiving $441 billion, says the Migration and Remittances Factbook 2016, produced by the World Bank Group’s Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development (KNOMAD) initiative.

The United States was the largest remittance source country, with an estimated $56 billion in outward flows in 2014, followed by Saudi Arabia ($37 billion), and Russia ($33 billion). India was the largest remittance receiving country, with an estimated $72 billion in 2015, followed by China ($64 billion), and the Philippines ($30 billion).

“At more than three times the size of development aid, international migrants’ remittances provide a lifeline for millions of households in developing countries. In addition, migrants hold more than $500 billion in annual savings. Together, remittances and migrant savings offer a substantial source of financing for development projects that can improve lives and livelihoods in developing countries,” said Dilip Ratha, co-author of the Factbook.

The report provides a snapshot of latest statistics on immigration, emigration, skilled emigration, and remittance flows for 214 countries and territories. It updates the 2011 edition with additional data on bilateral migration and remittances and second generation diasporas, and recent movements of refugees, collected from various data sources, including national censuses, labor force surveys, and population registers.

It finds that South-South migration is larger than South-North migration. Over 38 percent of the international migrants in 2013 migrated from developing countries to other developing countries, compared to 34 percent that moved from developing countries to advanced countries.

The top 10 migrant destination countries were the United States, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Russia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), United Kingdom, France, Canada, Spain and Australia. The top 10 migrant source countries were India, Mexico, Russia, China, Bangladesh, Pakistan, the Philippines, Afghanistan, Ukraine, and United Kingdom.

Mexico-United States was the largest migration corridor in the world, accounting for 13 million migrants in 2013. Russia-Ukraine was the second largest, followed by Bangladesh-India, and Ukraine-Russia. The latter three are South-South corridors according to United Nations classification.

“There is ample research to demonstrate that migration, both of highly-skilled and low skilled workers, generates numerous benefits for receiving and sending countries. The diaspora of developing countries and return migration can be a source of capital, trade, investment, knowledge, and technology transfers,” said Sonia Plaza, co-author of the Factbook.

In Algeria, it’s Red alert to Poaching and Illegal Trading

Farida Belkhiri in Sud Horizons wrote in French about how 3000 plant and animal species are threatened with extinction due to fires, global warming and worst of all poaching. So, [ . . . ]

Farida Belkhiri in Sud Horizons wrote in French about how 3000 plant and animal species are threatened with extinction due to fires, global warming and worst of all poaching. So, In Algeria, it’s Red alert to Poaching and Illegal Trading of wild animals.

The cry of distress has launched, this Tuesday, March 14, by the Director general of the General Directorate of Forestry of Algeria (DGF), Abdelmalek Abdelfattah, a workshop to raise awareness against poaching and illegal trade of wild animals, held in Zeralda hunting reserve.

The workshop should also lead to an action plan whose implementation will be carried out in collaboration with the National Gendarmerie for the protection of these species. “We signed an agreement with the Police for combating forest fires in 2013.

Today, given the big threat looming on especially protected species, we decided to expand the fight against poaching. The recommendations will serve as road map for the implementation of concrete actions”, he explains.

Despite the enactment of laws for the protection of the heritage of fauna in Algeria, DGF needs support of the National Gendarmerie and civil society for its application. The Director as to the protection of wild animals and hunting, Ouahida Boucekkine, called illicit traders, especially of birds, to integrate into a legal framework in order to “participate in the reproduction of the ‘Goldfinch’, that suffered a big threat and to protect the citizens of certain contagious diseases to humans.

She said that that poaching of these species is not for ‘commercial reasons or for the simple pleasure of hunting’ but rather for “medicinal purposes.” and for witchcraft

According to her, 1600 ‘Goldfinch’ birds were seized in 2016, “not sighted anymore in their natural habitats. Barbary Deer undergoes, according to her, a large poaching at the level of algero-tunisian border.

Between 2011 and 2016, according to Nafissa Mahieddine, a DGF Official, 15,774 individual animals were caught, divided into 15 species, birds, mainly, the ‘Goldfinch’ at the top. “They were seized in a dozen governorates in the West especially, by the Algerian-Moroccan border as marked by the smuggling of ‘Goldfinch’, Falcon, and “even some species of monkeys”, she says.

For his part, Commander Mdjahed, representative of the National Gendarmerie, reported that between 2012 and 2016, there were about a dozen of foreign nationalities and 30 Algerian accomplice poachers’ arrests.

“Foreign poachers are Kuwaiti, Saudi and Emirati nationals”. They were brought to court and received heavy fines before being transferred to their countries where they will also be punished”, he revealed.

He said that these latter were illegally hunting the wild Falcon and the Bustard, within protected areas of El Bayedh, Laghouat, Béchar, Adrar and Tindouf.

In 2016, he added, more than 96 court cases related to illicit hunting have been transferred to justice by the National Gendarmerie units engaged in the protection of the environment. This led to the arrest of 163 people.
An Algerian Goldfinch story

Read more on special article “Algeria: Princes and poachers, Saudis hunting bustards

15th World Forum on Sustainable Development in Paris

Sustainable Development in Paris ended on March 13th, 2017 in the presence of many personalities from the world’s governments, politics, business, academic experts in energy [ . . . ]

The transition energy guarantor of global security . . . 

The one day 15th World Forum on Sustainable Development in Paris ended on March 13th, 2017 in the presence of many personalities from the world’s governments, politics, business, academic experts in energy.

I want to first thank the President of the World Forum of Sustainable Development for his kind invitation and for allowing me to put my view forward in an intervention, as an independent expert. It followed on that of the Algerian Minister of Energy who has objectively presented his vision of Algeria’s.  Utopia aside, fossil fuels such as gas, still have time to go as the main source of energy at least until 2030. But governing is anticipating, it is up to Governments to deal with the new and irreversible global energy changes notably those enshrined in the agreements of the COP21 in Paris and signed off a year later at the COP22 of Marrakesh in order to prepare the necessary energy transition.

It is a strategic mistake to reason as in the past on a linear energy model of consumption.

As far as energy engaging the security of Nations is concerned, the strategy of renewable energy must form part of a clear and dated definition of a new model of energy consumption based on an Energy Mix by evaluating resources to achieve all objectives that have to prepare the industries of the future. These will be based on the new technologies related environmental industries, object of the new economic revolution that is anticipated to be in 2020/2040

 Strategy for the Energy of the Future 

Photovoltaic solar energy refers to the energy recovered and converted directly into electricity from the sunlight by photovoltaic panels. It results from the direct conversion into a semiconductor of a photon to electron. In addition to the benefits associated with the low cost of maintenance of the Photovoltaic systems, this energy fits perfectly for isolated sites and whose connection to the electric grid is too expensive.

Solar Thermal energy is the conversion of solar radiation into heat energy. This transformation can be used directly to heat a building, for example or indirectly (such as the production of steam for turbo-alternators and thus get electrical energy). Using this transferred heat through radiation rather than the radiation itself, these modes of transformation of energy differ from other forms of solar energy as solar cells such as Photovoltaic cells..

By definition, wind energy is the energy produced as a result of the action of wind on specially designed turbines to generate electrical power.

Average solar irradiation in African countries, according to IRENA (International Renewable Energy Agency) is between 1,750 kWh/m²/year and 2,500 kWh/m², nearly double that of the Germany (1150 kWh/m²) which has an installed photovoltaic farm of 40 GW (a photovoltaic capacity 20 times greater than that of Africa).

The load factor of any photovoltaic systems would be much higher in Africa than in European countries. And by end of 2015, Africa had 2,100 MW of installed solar photovoltaic plant, 65% of this capacity is concentrated in South Africa and 13% in Algeria and 9% the Reunion.

In the past two years, the continent has more than quadrupled its capacity in photovoltaic farming but this would remain still modest in the light of the great African potential because some 600 million Africans do not have access to electricity.

According to the Agency, this energy would be competitive today with currently used fossil fuels, whether in the case of important plants or isolated micro-grids (as well as home systems). According to IRENA, the investment of large photovoltaic power plants in Africa costs decreased by 61% since 2012 and possible a decrease of 59% of these costs over the coming decade.

These currently are nearly $1.3 million by installed MW (the world average for photovoltaic is around $1.8 million per MW/h according to IRENA). IRENA highlights the fact that photovoltaic energy presents for Africa a decentralized and “modular” solution (with facilities of a few to several tens of MW) for rapid electrification of areas not connected to power grids.

According to experts, it is true that the energy needs of Africans are limited to a few KW/h per capita per year, for mainly electric lighting. Electrical power networks are rare in Africa; therefore there could be no possibility of economy of scale. Africans pay 2 times more expensive power than Europeans do. It’s always more interesting to have cheap electricity.

But industrial development requires great levels of power and heat specially. Photovoltaic source of energy is certainly more suited to small off-grid installations and for some African countries but industrial production would require this to be combined with heat production.

Renewable energy expansion would be part of the professed Energy Transition.

The transition may be defined as the passage of a civilization built on energy essentially fossil, polluting but abundant and cheap, to a civilization where energy is renewable, rare, expensive but less polluting and aimed at the eventual replacement of energy (oil, coal, gas, uranium) stock by energies of flow (wind, solar).

Energy transition refers to subjects other than techniques, such as those related to societal problems. It is a move towards an Energy Mix as justified by the scarcity of resources, thus the urgency of a new model of consumption on a global scale which poses the problem of energy efficiency, and a social consensus, today’s technical choices engaging society in the long term: how much is this transition, how much is it worth and who will be the beneficiaries?

It was necessary to first make few remarks on the current approach to development of renewable energy.  We must target priority projects which contribute the most to the achievement of the objectives. Without any decision between the Photovoltaic and Thermal, we would discuss solar heat that seems suitable in the regional program of the South. Algeria that has significant potential in this area can become between 2020 and 2030 an exporter. The lack of knowledge of the field could not explain the selected program.

Indeed, wanting to test all technologies before opting does not seem to be the right approach. This would hide all studies that have been used including the studies in question had been carried out in collaboration with key research centres in the USA, as the ENREL, as regulators of solar technology: the DLR (Germany) and CIEMAT (Spain). The Kramer Junction plant works in the USA since 1980 with a capacity of 300 MW on the same technology that was used in Hassi R’Mel, Algeria.

Solar towers in Spain have been proven for many years. This is to identify the parameters of different technology assessment. With GTZ (Germany) the decomposition of the value chain by component and by cost helped to set a realistic integration of 70% for the solar heat rate. Manufacturers of solar thermal converge with this rate, while also according with the level to export electricity to Europe. Indeed Europe will need to import 15% of its needs by 2030 that is the electrical equivalent of 24 GW or the equivalent of 50 billion M3 of gas per year.

The study has also defined the conditions:- a stable political framework, a sustainable local market the size of 250 MW/year and a market that is open between the countries of the Maghreb.  Technologies must correspond to the most important value potential allowing a rate of integration, the greatest creation of jobs, offering the best match with the electricity market and finally, the most important technologies with the greatest potential for cost reduction up to competitiveness with fossil fuels.

The technology partnership and integration generally appeal to private companies. The risk is too great for an investor to agree to be put under the control of a public company.

Transition based on Realism 

It is therefore to identify the real actors and have a strategic vision based not on utopia but on realism as it is generally believed that laws and changes in organizations would not solve the foundations of problems, the political actors are therefore essential, referring to the political and social base. As far Algeria is concerned, I warned the Government and particularly SONATRACH of a suicidal adventure that could involve the security of the country, if these were to engage in massive investments in conventional hydrocarbons whereas the world at this time would undergo between 2020 and 2030 a major shift in energy consumption.

The Government that was misled in the past into believing that $90/100 per barrel would be the market price of oil, must at all costs avoid to reason about a model of linear consumption. It is that large firms in the U.S., in the European and Asian International spheres are reportedly investing massively, preparing the future in other alternative energy segments. Also, future profitability must register for the deposits between a fork of $40/55 and for marginal deposits between $60/70 before despite the recent report of the IEA on a possible barrel at above $80/90

What are the axes for the energy transition of the 2017/2025/2030 Algeria?

  • The first axis, would be to improve energy efficiency with new technology; energy consumption whether at the household level and / or the economic sectors referring to the policy of the currently widespread subsidies source of wastage that should be targeted for energy products. The Algerian Government would be bound to reflect on the creation of a National Chamber of Compensation that would be charged to coordinate all inter socio-professional and inter-regional equalization.
  • The second axis would be for Algeria to decide on investing upstream for new discoveries. But for the profitability of these deposits, it will depend on price at the international level and the costs,.
  • The third axis, Algeria planning to build its first nuclear plant by 2025 for peaceful purposes, in order to meet its soaring electricity demand.
  • The fourth axis, would be the option of Shale Oil/Gas (3rd global reserves according to international reports) introduced in the new law of hydrocarbons from 2013, folder that I have the honour to lead on behalf of the Government and handed over in January 2015. In Algeria, in order to avoid positions decided for or against, a broad national discussion, because we cannot minimize the risk of pollution of aquifers in the South of the country where as a semi-arid country, the problem of water is a strategic issue in the Mediterranean and African level.
  • The fifth axis would be the development of renewable energy by combining Thermal and Photovoltaic whose global costs of production decreased by more than 50%. Algeria has decided to apply the resolutions of the COP21 and 22, about global warming. But effective action cannot be designed by a Nation on its own. It will involve wide consultation with especially between the countries of the South Mediterranean and the Maghreb because for the Maghreb including Algeria, water resources are vulnerable to changes in climate. Water and its management problems would definitely affect the future of all these countries.

With more than 3000 hours of sunshine a year, Algeria has what it takes to develop the use of solar energy in a win-win partnership.  For this purpose, the CREG (regulatory agency) issued decrees to accompany the implementation of the program of Algerian of development of renewable energy in the context of the implementation of a national fund for energy efficiency (FNME) to ensure the funding of these projects and grant loans at subsidized interest rates and guarantees for loans made from the banks and financial institutions.

By 2020, it is expected that the installation of a total power of about 2,600 MW for the national market and a possibility of export of the magnitude of 2,000 MW and by 2030, it is expected the installation of a power of nearly 12,000 MW for the national market as well as a possibility to export up to 10,000 MW.  According to the CREG, Algeria plans to launch a tender for investors for a mega project of 4,050 MW Photovoltaic solar power plants, soon split into three lots of 1,350 MW each and backed by the construction of one or more factories of manufacturing equipment and components of solar power plants.

Development of electric interconnection between the North and the Sahara (Adrar), will enable the installation of large renewable energy plants in the regions of In Salah, Adrar, Timimoun and Béchar, and their integration into the national energy grid system. If these achievements were effective, apart from the problem of funding with budgetary tensions, the country would have by 2030, 37% of the installed capacity of electricity for domestic consumption from renewable sources.

In conclusion, economic dynamics alter the balance of power throughout the world also affect the political compositions within States as well as at regional and nationwide areas. Energy, in particular, is at the heart of the sovereignty of States and their security policies.

As I had to sustain it in various international conferences of mine and recently in a long interview by the American Herald Tribune of January 28th, 2016), co-development, and collocations, which cannot be limited to economics, including cultural diversity, can be the field of implementation of all the ideas at the level of the Mediterranean basin as to hopefully turn it into a shared Lake of peace and prosperity.

In the interest of both the Europeans and all of the southern Mediterranean populations, borders of the common market, of Schengen, of social protection, would be the borders of the environmental requirements of tomorrow.  These must be along a line south of the MENA region for a lasting peace, where Arab, Jewish and all other ethnic populations have a thousand-year history of peaceful coexistence.

In these moments of great geo-strategic upheavals, the African continent with very strong potential, would have to face up to significant challenges in the 21st century, such as rivalries between the major powers, USA/China/Europe for its control, whilst by 2040, it will have a quarter of the world’s population and perhaps drawing the growth of the world economy. This is subject to good governance and of the primacy of the economy of knowledge and the struggle to lower global warming which hits it hard by the preservation of its environment. In this context, the development of renewable energy is the guarantor of the coverage of needs and energy security of humanity. –


Written in Paris on March 14th, 2017 by Professor, Expert Dr Abderrahmane Mebtoul, Director of Studies Department of Energy 1974/2008  –

At the 15th Forum of Sustainable Development “The Mediterranean and regional borders” on Monday, March 13th, 2017 at 9, Avenue Franklin Roosevelt, Paris 75008, FRANCE.

See also recent contributions of Pr Abderrahmane Mebtoul on