Before introducing my country in a few words on the occasion of the celebration of its sixtieth anniversary of its independence, I would like to express to the Government and people of Bangladesh my sincere condolences following the floods which recently devastated the beautiful city of Sylhet, which I visited with my wife last year. I want to express, here, my deepest sympathy to all the bereaved families of Sylhet.
Furthermore, I would also to express my congratulations to the people of Bangladesh for their recent great achievement under the leadership of the honourable PM Sheikh Hasina. I refer here to the recent inauguration of the Padma Bridge. I would like to thank the Government of Bangladesh for giving me the opportunity as a member of the diplomatic corps and Ambassador of my country, Algeria, to attend this great even which makes the people of Bangladesh proud. I wish more and more success to the brotherly people of Bangladesh. To return to my country, In this year 2022, on this day in particular 5 July, Algeria is celebrating the sixtieth anniversary of its independence , which independence wrested after nearly 8 years of the war and after several claims and revolts against French colonialism which lasted in Algeria one hundred and thirty two years.
On this opportunity, I don’t want to miss the time to express our consideration and our gratitude to friends of the Algerian
Revolution across the world including many French people. Many friends of our revolution are dead today. I can cite, for example, Président John Kennedy when he was senator, Jean Paul Sartre, Président Djamel Abdel Nasser, I can cite also Maurice Audin to whom my country has just erected a monument immortalizing him. Her son was recently received in Algeria.
I myself had the honour of receiving during my mission to Strasbourg, the daughter of this French mathematician who was killed by the French army, because of his support to the Algerian revolution. Peace to the soul of all friends of the Algerian revolution. As my country celebrates the sixtieth anniversary of its independence, I am pleased to say that the Algeria of today is not the Algeria of 1962. Just to give a few examples internally:
1- In 1962, Algeria had about for hundred students. Today Algeria has more than sixty universities, dozens of university centers destined to become universities, several higher education establishments including a higher school of artificial intelligence,
2- In 1962, the illiteracy rate in Algeria was about 85%. Today it is around 7 %,
3- The GINI coefficient is 27 for my country, which makes Algeria one of the least unequal countries in the world
4- The HDI of Algeria is 0.748 for the year 2019,
5- Algeria was ranked first at the African and Arab levels and 53rd in the world for the implementation of the SDGS according the global report ” Sustainable development report 2019 ”
6- It has been ranked by the WFP in first position at the African level in terms of food security. I mention here that the food ration in Algeria which was around 2700 calories in 1962 is more than 3500 calories today.
In doing so, I can continue to cite other achievements of my country internally during the last sixty years, but it will be very long.
What can I say about the role of my country on the regional and international scene?
As we know, our world is experiencing momentum.
We all know that our world is changing. We hope it ends up going in the right direction. It is the interest of all of us. Hope it’s not late enough. As far as my country is concerned, Algeria has always assumed the role that naturally falls to it in its immediate area and even beyond.
For example, at the level of its region, Algeria is currently piloting of the application of Algiers agreement for the resolution of the Malian conflict. It also in the past contributed to the resolution of other conflicts in Africa. I can cite, for example only, the border dispute between Ethiopia and Eretria. Much more, Algeria has always tried to contribute to the resolution of conflicts beyond its region. I can cite, for example, its attempt to mediate in the Iran-Iraq conflict which sadly ended at the death of our Minister of Foreign Affairs Benyahia. His aeroplane was shot down in 1982 by a missile while he attempted his mission of peace.
I can also cite the Algerian mediation between the USA and Iran, which enabled the release of the American hostages in 1981. Algeria has always supported and supports all the just causes across the world, in the first position the Palestinian cause.
In the past, Algeria stood against apartheid in South Africa. I note, in this subject, that Nelson Mandela carried out his training in Algeria. Moreover, he did not fail to say one day that. It was Algeria that made me a man. I must also mention here that in 1974, when Algeria chaired the United Nations General Assembly, the representative of the apartheid was excluded from the General Assembly.
What can I say in terms of prospects for my country?
In our world today, which is going through a particular situation, Algeria has many assets to progress but also many challenges to take up. Among these challenges is the climate change. I must mention here that my country is in process of honouring all commitments resulting from the COP 21. My country is in the process of resorting more and more to renewable energies.
Algeria has 5000 hours of sunshine per year and 7000 hours per year in terms of wind energies. I must recall here that my country was among the pioneer countries in combating desertification. In 1970, Algeria launched the green dam to stop the advance of the desert towards the north by creating a strip of greenery extending over more than 1500 km.
This experience, which many countries wanted to draw inspiration from, is about to be reprised.
That said, Algeria is the largest country by the area in Africa, also in the Arab world and in the Mediterranean basin. It has almost all the mineral resources can exist on earth.
By the way, the Algerian company Sonatrach discovered last week a large gas field in Hassi R’mell. But above all, Algeria has human resources ready to meet the challenges. Some 70% of its population is under 30 years old.
Like all the developing or developed countries in the world, Algeria is building more and higher ways, ports and airports, dams, high schools and research centres. For an example: So far, Algeria launched 5 satellites, of course, with the international cooperation. We hope to be able to build them ourselves as early as possible in future.
Coming back to the reality, it was noted that Algeria is a gas country. Algeria supplies energy to several countries around the world and in particular to European countries to which it is bound by long-term contracts.
In relation with that, Algeria has always been reliable for its partners and will remain so, as long as its partners fulfill their contractual obligations with the same good faith as Algeria.
About a month ago, during his visit to Italy, the Algerian President proposed to the Italian President the construction of an undersea cable to supply electric energy to Italy and part of Europe. By the way, some experts believe that the Algerian Sahara can provide electrical energies to all of Europe and even beyond. I must mention that Algeria has no foreign debt, which is rare in the world. Therefore, in the current state of affairs, the decision making power of Algeria is in his hands.
I will not end this quick statement on sixty years of independence of Algeria without saying a word about the state of democracy in my country. Algeria has been practicing democracy for a several years. But we all know that democracy is not an easy task.
Some countries have taken centuries to achieve this, not without going through wars, including religious wars. Even now, the old democracies are challenged, rightly or not. I think that Algeria, which crossed many hardships and which overcame them, can become a real emerging country in the near future. She has everything to succeed. I will not finish this short statement without thanking the Bangladesh middle and high school students and university students who took part in the competition organized by the Embassy on the history of Algeria on the occasion of the celebration of the sixtieth anniversary of the independence of my country. I am impressed by the accuracy of the answers of the participants in this competition and by the interest they showed in knowing about my country.
Joy Algeria, Joy Bangladesh
The writer is ambassador of
Algeria to Bangladesh