Doing Business In Algeria

  1. In spite of a business reform that improved access to credit and a resulting increase of the Getting Credit indicator ranking by 23 positions, Algeria's overall Doing Business ranking of 152 fell from 150 in 2012 .
  2. According to Enterprise Surveys (2007), Algerian businesses perceive access to finance as one of the top obstacles to running a business. Two-thirds of businesses reported that bribes were necessary "to get things done". Senior management spends nearly 25% of its time dealing with regulations; this is more than twice the regional and world averages.
  3. Algeria’s economic freedom score is 49.6 making its economy the 145th freest in the 2012 Index. Its overall score is 1.4 points lower than last year due to worsened government spending and trade freedom scores. Algeria is ranked 14th among the 17 countries in the Middle East and North Africa region, and its score remains lower than both the regional and world averages.

Source:  World Bank

Visa Information

Everyone except Moroccan and Tunisian nationals needs a visa to enter Algeria. Nationals of Israel, Malawi and Taiwan are not allowed into the country, and if you have a stamp in your passport from any of these countries your application might be rejected.

If you’re getting an Algerian visa before leaving home, you need a letter from your employer or university to say you’ll be coming back after your holiday and an ‘invitation’ to visit the country from an Algerian contact or tourist agency (the latter is available from several travel agencies in Tamanrasset). Applications lodged in Europe might also require three photos. Getting a visa en route is usually pretty straightforward in Niger, Chad and Mali.

Costs of a 30-day visa are around US$45. Some embassies ask for photocopies of your passport.
Visa extensions

Visa extensions can be obtained from the Department des Estrangers (Blvd Zighout Youssef 19A, Algiers), but are not easy to obtain.
Visas for onward travel

Visas for the following countries are available from embassies in Algiers or consulates in Tamanrasset.

Mali One-month visas cost US$36 and are usually issued in 24 hours. You’ll need two photos.

Niger One-month visas are issued the same day, costing between US$35 and US$0. Three photos and three application forms are required.

Business Etiquette

The Relationship 

The importance of personal relationships can not be underestimated. Always invest in building trust and rapport. 
You will notice that Algerians do not leave a great deal of personal space between each other. If someone stands close to you or holds your arm, do not back away. 
Preserving honour/reputation is important. Algerians will try to preserve their reputations telling people what they think they want to hear even if it is not the truth. 
It is important to bear this in mind when communicating with Algerians, i.e. do not cause them to lose face especially in public. 
Within Algeria the "you scratch my back and I scratch yours" mentality works. Try and do favours for people as this will mean they owe you one back. 

Business Cards 

There is no formal ritual surrounding business cards. 
It may be a good idea to have them translated into French or Arabic. 
Always use the right hand to give and receive. 

Business Meetings

Appointments are necessary and should be made as far in advance as possible and confirmed a day or two before the meeting. 
It is best to avoid scheduling meetings during Ramadhan. o Remember Fridays are a Muslim holiday so most companies will be closed. 
Try to arrive at meetings on time and be prepared to wait. Algerian businesspeople who are accustomed to dealing with international companies often strive to arrive on time, although it is often difficult for them to do so in such a relationship driven culture. 
In general, Algerians have an open-door policy, even during meetings. This means you may experience frequent interruptions. Others may even wander into the room and start a different discussion. You may join in, but do not try to bring the topic back to the original discussion until the new person leaves. 
French and Arabic are generally the language of business, although some companies use English.


General Business Hours

Most businesses in Algeria keep standard opening hours, but everything closes on Friday for the Islamic weekend.