22 Feb 22

Algeria: first reduce congestion, then go electric

When you think about regions pioneering the electrification of mobility, North Africa rarely comes to mind. Algeria aims to change that. The country wants to become a hub to produce BEVs and PHEVs, its government says. But that's not its main priority...

Sooner or later, the energy transition will come to Algeria. However, the North African country is not flush with cash, and therefore not keen to import large quantities of foreign-built electric vehicles. The solution is both radical and simple: Algeria wants to become a hub for the manufacture of EVs itself. 

New strategy

As reported by local news site Dzar Daily, Algeria’s minister for Industry Ahmed Zeghdar has launched a new national automotive strategy, one that calls for the domestic manufacture of EVs – both full-electrics (BEVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs). 

That new strategy may sound radical, but it fits well within the Algerian government’s overall framework for energy transition, which was set a few years ago. It’s also a logical extension of Algeria’s overall ban on importing new vehicles – a policy with the dual aim of limiting cash outflow and attracting OEMs to set up manufacturing in the country itself. That import ban, however, is currently under revision by the government.

Traffic jams

In a separate interview, Algeria’s minister for Energy Transition and Sustainability, Benattou Ziane, has confirmed that importing EVs is not on the government’s agenda. 

However, he seemed to indicate that the domestic manufacture of EVs is not the top priority of the government’s automotive strategy either. 

Speaking on the programme ‘52 minutes économie’ on Ennahar TV, the minister said, the government will “focus on reducing traffic jams first”, before considering either the import or manufacture of EVs.

Image: Busy traffic in Algiers, the capital of Algeria. (Shutterstock)

Authored by: Frank Jacobs