Algerian President makes official state visit to Lisbon

news: Algerian President makes official state visit to Lisbon

ALGERIAN PRESIDENT, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, made an official state visit to Lisbon recently with the aim of bolstering trade ties between the two countries. He was met by Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio, Prime Minister José Sócrates and Lisbon Câmara vice president Carmona Rodrigues.

It was the first time that an Algerian head of state has visited Portugal, although, in 1991, the then Portuguese Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Co-operation, Luís Armado, visited Algeria proposing a new framework for Algerian-Portuguese co-operation in order to bolster trade relations. Then, Algeria and Portugal drafted a plan aimed at strengthening bilateral relations, with an agreement on shared guarantees for investment, signed at a meeting of the Algerian-Portuguese Joint Committee. The two countries also signed an agreement to ban double taxation on investments between Portugal and Algeria.

Lisbon Câmara underlined the importance of regular exchanges and meetings between the two states, while affirming that the link between Lisbon and Algiers could prove an important partnership in the areas of trade, commerce, tourism, transport and public infrastructure projects.

The trip was a return visit following former Prime Minister Pedro Santana Lopes’s official visit to Algeria last year. He was the first Portuguese premier to officially visit that country.

The oil and hydrocarbon industry is the backbone of this North African country, representing 60 per cent of budget revenues, 30 per cent of GDP and 95 per cent of export earnings. Algeria also has the seventh largest reserve of natural gas in the world and is the second largest gas exporter. However, outside the energy sector, it has had little success in attracting foreign investment or reducing high unemployment and improving living standards. Chris Graeme