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Legal market overview
Algeria’s rich energy resources make it North Africa’s largest economy, with state-owned energy company Sonatrach being by far the most sizeable African company. While the energy sector is open to foreign investment and attracts the world’s leading companies, other industries face tight restrictions, including limitations on foreign ownership of businesses. Consequently, there is little inbound investment outside the energy sector, although activity in the pharmaceutical industry is growing. Many foreign investors are waiting for presidential elections in 2014 before deciding whether to pursue investments.
The foreign firms most visible in Algeria are those that represent the state or state-owned enterprises, principally Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP and Shearman & Sterling LLP; and those with offices in Algiers, namely CMS (which is the only firm to have Algeria-qualified lawyers), Lefèvre Pelletier & associés and Gide Loyrette Nouel.
Domestic law firms dominate the market, not least because only members of one of Algeria’s 11 Bar associations are able to practise as advocates. Ghellal & Mekerba and Hamza Law Office are often the preferred local partners of international law firms.
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