Legal Market Overview
Algeria is known for its bountiful supply of oil, an industry which accounts for 90% of total export earnings and 60% of the state budget. In recent years, this reliance has presented a number of challenges. The key issues have been the uncertainty in supply and demand presented by the Covid-19 and the growing interest in the international community to move away from fossil fuels. To encourage investment, a new hydrocarbon law was introduced in 2020 which contained improved contract terms and tax rates for upstream projects. Agriculture, forestry and fishing are the key industries in the Algerian economy.
Another dilemma for Algeria is its recent diplomatic fallout with neighbouring country Morocco, where Algeria made allegations of spying, supporting terrorism and failing on bilateral agreements. There has been tension between the two countries for decades over ownership of the region of Western Sahara. These tensions could impact economic development, particularly in relation to the use of oil pipelines between the two countries.
Algeria is the largest country by area in both Africa and The Arab World. The country’s official language is Arabic but as a former French colony its ‘lingua franca’ is French and France remains a key trading partner. This historical ties with France can be seen in the legal market, with some French firms based in the region international firms frequently working on Algerian mandates from Paris offices. CMS is the only international law firm with a presence in Algeria, while L&P Partners is part of DLA Piper Africa. Regional firms Bourabiat Associés and Bennani & Associés are also key players in the market.