Corruption is damaging to Algeria

Friday 15/05/2015

Algeria is a country suffering from systematic corrup­tion that has seeped into every area of life and poisoned relations between Algerian citizens and the state and its elite to a degree that there is a crisis of trust between the two. As detailed in a recent World Economic Forum report, Algeria suffers from corruption that is anathema to sound economic development.
The Algerian media have played a role in publicising some of the abuses that point to a far more fun­damental problem: that corruption has become entrenched within cru­cial sections of the Algerian state. The signs are clear: administrative corruption, a parasitic banking sector that makes the transfer of hard currency to and from Algeria a fraught and risky exercise and a collapse in standards across the board, most noticeable in educa­tion and health care.
Algeria has no clear plan for foreign investment, as investment is directed not according to the national interests but rather to enrich cadres within the state. The winning of contracts is dependent on the preparedness to bribe and cut-in those within the state capa­ble of taking care of a company’s affairs.
In return for their silence on state corruption, foreign inves­tors are allowed to run their enter­prises as virtual private fiefdoms, states within the state that take care of their own affairs. This has led to rampant abuse of the rights of Algerian workers, the absence of basic safety and inferior pro­duction standards. Such rampant abuse is allowed to continue as ac­countability is lacking. Parliament itself, along with official watch­dogs, is compromised in the hands of those who benefit illicitly from either their position in or relation­ships with the state.
Transferring hard currency to and from Algeria is an exercise filled with risks and pitfalls. It is not a simple matter of an interna­tional bank transfer as happens elsewhere but rather takes an inordinate amount of time.
Moreover, currency is trans­ferred in fractions and over a number of stages. As a result of these obstacles a black market has thrived under the control of barons whose role is to launder money and smuggle currency for those able to pay.
The cumulative result of these interlinking and mutually rein­forcing networks of corruption in Algeria, ultimately sanctioned by beneficiaries in the Algerian state, has been the destruction of public confidence. There is a crisis of trust between Algerian citizens and the state, its officials and ap­paratus. Everybody will suffer as a result.