Algeria is rich in oil and natural gas and its economy is dominated by the hydrocarbons. From 2000 – 2005 the average share of hydrocarbon fiscal revenues in total fiscal revenue was 71% , equivalent to 26% of the GDP and hydrocarbon accounted for 97% of export proceeds . In 2007, Algeria was the 6th in the world’s top natural gas producing countries and 4th largest crude oil producing country in Africa. Algeria joined OPEC in 1969.
Sources: IMF, CIA World Factbook
Fayçal Metaoui’s participation in the global PWYP Conference in Montreal helped tremendously in reinvigorating the PWYP campaign in Algeria. The Association Algérienne de Lutte Contre la Corruption (AACC), along with other CSOs, hopes to launch a national Algerian coalition by July 2010.
AACC has been engaged with the PWYP campaign since its beginning in early 2002 – despite a difficult political context nationally. Following the EITI Oslo conference in 2006, a group of NGOs (including AACC and the Transparency International national chapter) wrote a letter to the CEO of Sonatrach, the Algerian state energy firm – in an attempt to start a dialogue with companies in the extractive sector. After a first positive reply, sent by the financial director of Sonatrach, the company then seemed to fall silent, and was unresponsive to any further communications from NGOs.
This may be due in part to the corruption scandal that coincided with these developments, and which led to the prosecution (preventative detention under judiciary control) and dismissal of several Sonatrach managers – including the CEO, Mohamed Meziane. AACC and its partners have used the opportunity presented by the trials to call publicly for transparency in the extractive industry. This has been met with disdain by the Algerian authorities, who have resisted consideration of the EITI.