By signing an economic cooperation agreement, Togo and Algeria are relaunching the economic diplomacy of the North African country, which has long withdrawn from the continent.
As part of the African Continental Free Trade Zone (Zlecaf) which should facilitate trade between different African countries, Algeria and Togo announced this Sunday the creation of a "business council. Algerian-Togolese ”, which will depend on the Chambers of Commerce of Lomé and Algiers. What to offer to Algerian private sector investment opportunities in Togo.
"The Togolese government wishes to benefit from the Algerian expertise in the field of agro-industrial transformation as well as in the establishment of the industrial platform of Adétikopé (PIA)", explained the Togolese Minister of Foreign Affairs Robert Dussey . Between Togo and Algeria, trade is reduced to heartache: barely 200 million FCFA of Togolese exports to Algeria, 1 billion FCFA in the other direction.
Algiers wants to reinvest in the African continent
If Morocco is the king of economic diplomacy, Algeria has been working, since the beginning of the century, to set up energy cooperation and major structuring projects with sub-Saharan Africa. But the numbers never really followed. Ten years ago, theAlgeria's trade volume with the rest of the African countries remained minimal, hardly exceeding 1% of the global volume.
The fall in oil prices has led Algiers to review its strategy. And the Maghreb country now seems to be returning to a more African economic policy. This was also one of President Abdelmadjid Tebboune's objectives: to turn to the continent, neglected for too long. And in early 2020, words gave way to action: the Algerian head of state indeed went to his first African Union (AU) summit in February. The opportunity for him to announce the birth of a future Algerian international cooperation agency focused on Africa.
Algeria is increasingly positioning itself as a key player in Africa. And the creation of an Algerian-Togolese business council is just one more example, after Algeria has embarked on peace talks in Libya and that Tebboune has promised to ratify the agreement on the African Continental Free Trade Area (Zleca).
A very efficient Algerian private sector
This return of Algeria to the front of the stage was however slow. Closed in on itself, the country had, however, since its independence, launched major operations of political diplomacy, with a clear message: stop colonization. Before turning in on itself… Algeria has gradually closed, overtaken by a Morocco very active on the Western Sahara issue, which has succeeded in obscuring Algiers. Admittedly, Abdelaziz Bouteflika will have tried to win the AU, but his state of health has made Algeria fall a little further behind.
For lack of sufficient income, Algiers therefore turned again to the continent. Tebboune can count on high-performance companies in the energy, food, pharmaceutical, IT and construction sectors. With, as a bonus, a desire to engage in a standoff with Morocco over Western Sahara, since the recognition of Rabat's sovereignty over this region, which forces Tebboune to extend its diplomatic influence. Which now passes through Togo.