Thursday, June 18, 2015
The car import debate and dynamics of the social contract.
A longstanding weakness of the Algerian economy has been its overdependence on oil and gas for income, and on imports for consumption. The risks of this dependence were exposed when oil prices halved in the final quarter of 2014. The government has responded by trying to revive investment in both the oil and non-oil economy, and by seeking to curb imports. One important aspect of this latter policy -- new restrictions on car imports -- has sparked significant public debate and raised questions about the government's competence and political will.