Rabat – Just over a week ago, Algerian Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdelkader Messahel boasted of his country’s high ranking in the World Bank’s Doing Business listing. After Algeria received an exceedingly low score of 166 in this year’s report, the minister has become the laughing stock of local media.
Following the WB report, the Algerian online media outlet Le Matin described the minister’s comments as “shameful,” publishing an article about the ranking featuring a picture of Messahel and a title that reads: “Doing business ranking 2018: Algeria 166, Morocco 69!”
Some Algerian commenters on articles about the new ranking joked that their country had dropped 100 places in just 10 days since Messahel made his famous statement. Others mocked the minister, saying he must have been using the hashish he accused Morocco of selling.
“None other than Algeria”
“[For] Doing Business in North Africa, there’s none other than Algeria,” boasted the country’s FM at a conference by the local business union, Forum de Chefs des Entreprises (FCE).
Apparently in ignorance of the economic realities of the region, Messahel stated in a patronizing tone that neither Tunisia, Egypt, nor Morocco could aspire to compete with Algeria for its business climate.
For Morocco, Messahel reserved a particular scorn. The kingdom is the most frequently used comparison for Algerian economists and businessmen, considering Morocco’s lead in attracting foreign investment in the region.
Speaking at the Algerian Business Forum, Messahel went beyond an economic analysis, casting accusations of serious illegal activity against Morocco’s business ventures.
“We’re not intimidated by anyone,” he stated. “We’re not Morocco, we’re Algeria. We have potential, we have a future. We’re a stable country. We’re a confident country. It’s not us who say this. It’s others who say so.”
The Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs rejected his allegations, calling them “childish” and “ignorant.”