Exclusive: UK firms vie for share of £170bn in Algeria deals

Abdelmalek Sellal and David Cameron are due to disclose details of new partnerships after they meet on Thursday

Margareta Pagano@indyvoices
Monday 08 December 2014 01:09

Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca and oil services group Petrofac are among a raft of British companies poised to sign contracts worth up to £2bn with Algeria this week as the countries look to cement trade links and fight terrorism.

Algeria’s Prime Minister, Abdelmalek Sellal, and David Cameron are due to disclose details of the new partnerships after they meet on Thursday for talks on trade and security in the region.

They will also announce a “double taxation” treaty that is expected to boost commerce between the countries.

Other deals are likely to include projects to build hospitals and healthcare centres for cancer treatment, investing in Algeria’s energy and agricultural sectors, joint ventures in the pharmaceuticals industry, launching satellites, and help to develop Algeria’s banking and capital markets.

Mr Cameron flew to meet Mr Sellal soon after the In Amenas gas plant siege in January last year, in which 39 hostages died, to discuss co-operating to fight terrorism. He was the first serving prime minister to visit Algeria since its independence in 1962.

Mr Sellal will mark his first official trip to London with a visit to the London Stock Exchange on Wednesday, where he will open trading.

He leads a delegation of Algerian ministers who will meet up to 400 international business leaders at a conference on Wednesday.

Philip Hammond, the Foreign Secretary, is opening the conference with Mr Sellal and Lord Risby, the UK’s trade envoy for Algeria.

Pascal Soriot, AstraZeneca’s chief executive, Ayman Asfari, Petrofac’s chief executive, Roger King, the boss of the heathcare service specialist International Hospitals Group, and Sir Chris Evans of Excalibur, a biomedical science investment boutique, will attend.

Fiona Woolf, a former lord mayor of London, who visited Algiers this year to advise on financial reform, will head the conference’s finance panel.

Andrew Noble, UK ambassador in Algiers, said: “Algeria is open for business and this is a wake-up call for UK companies which have an opportunity to work with Algeria as it embarks on a programme of diversifying the economy away from oil and gas.

“The Algerians want UK businesses to help them modernise the economy, help with training and technology transfer, whether it’s building healthcare centres to improving the teaching of English.”

Algeria, which provides Europe with a large chunk of its gas reserves, is one of the wealthiest countries because of its hydrocarbon resources.

Its five-year plan includes spending $260bn (£170bn) on infrastructure projects ranging from roads to dairy farms to universities.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments