Thursday, June 2, 2011


Thursday May 05, 2011





Assalamualaikum W.B.T and Salam 1Malaysia.

His Excellency Abdelmalek Bouheddou,
Ambassador of the People's Democratic Republic Of Algeria to Malaysia;

Yang Berbahagia Dato’ Noharuddin Nordin,
Chief Executive Officer of MATRADE;

Mr. Mukhtar Malik Hussain,
Deputy Chairman and CEO of HSBC Bank Malaysia Berhad & Global CEO HSBC Amanah;

Yang Berbahagia Datuk Suhaidi Sulaiman,
President of Malaysia-Algeria Business Council;

Excellencies, Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen.

1. Let me first thank MATRADE for inviting me this morning to officiate the seminar on Business Opportunities in Algeria. I would like to take this opportunity to thank HSBC Bank Malaysia Berhad for the strong support and cooperation in helping MATRADE to organise this seminar. I would also like to thank all of you present today for taking time off from your busy schedule to be with us this morning. Your presence here reflects Malaysia’s interest and commitment to further enhance trade and economic relations with Algeria.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

2. Today’s programme has been specially organised to share the findings and outcomes of the Trade and Investment Mission to Algeria which was held from 26 February – 4 March 2011. I am glad to have led the mission which comprised of 17 representatives from 12 companies which were mainly involved in services sectors such as Construction, Power Generation, Water Desalination, ICT, E-Learning, Transportation, Sewerage, Oil & Gas, Hajj Management System, Teaching & Research, HALAL Industry and Automotive. Later I will share with you some of my views on the potentials of doing business with Algeria that I have gathered during this trip.

3. Today’s seminar also provides an opportunity to be updated on the latest developments in Algeria and how to penetrate into this new emerging market which will eventually lead to concrete business outcomes.

4. Algeria, with a population of about 34.4 million people is strategically located in the North African region. Algiers is the capital where it is also the entry point for bringing goods into Algeria. Malaysia views Algeria as a new emerging and growing market in the African region. As mentioned earlier by Dato’ CEO of MATRADE, Malaysia’s trade with Algeria has expanded more than 5-fold from RM94.85 million in 2000 to RM509.58 million in 2010. Last year, Algeria was Malaysia’s 6th largest export market in the African region after Egypt, South Africa, Benin, Togo and Djibouti.

5. In 2010, bilateral trade between Malaysia and Algeria increased by 9.6 percent to RM509.58 million compared with RM464.26 million in 2009 where our exports have also increased by 10.7 percent from RM455.94 million to RM505.81 million. Algeria’s economy is picking up with an average GDP annual growth of 3 percent. The current GDP per capita is USD 7,600 and the contribution to GDP by sectors last year were 61.1 percent for Industry, 30.5 percent for Services and 8.4 percent for Agriculture. I believe with the political stability enjoyed by the country, Algerian economy will continue to grow over the next ten years.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

6. I am happy to note that the Algerian government has announced the Five Year Investment Plan, from 2010 to 2014 in which the Government is expected to expend US$286 billion for infrastructural and industrial development programme. The plan is envisaged to transform Algeria into a successful and robust market economy.

7. A number of mechanisms have also been established by the Algerian Government to revitalise investment financing, including the setting up of a National Investment Fund, providing various leasing facilities and the consolidation of credit guarantee funds for SMEs.

8. In terms of attracting foreign investors, Algeria has a number of advantages such as the strong rate of non-oil growth, strong external solvency levels, availability of local financing, an internally benchmarked legal framework, an encouraging investment code, strong local demand and large-scale public programmes. Many incentives and facilitations are offered to foreign companies that invest in Algeria.

9. Under the Five-Year Investment Plan, the Algerian Government has identified various projects for private sector implementation that will drive the economy and create wealth. The projects are in the area of housing, public works, agriculture and rural development, higher education, health and transportation. The strategic reform initiatives under this plan will focus on improving and upgrading the quality of life of the Algerian people, enhancing sources of growth and ensuring the sustainability of Algeria’s economic growth.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

10. During my recent mission to Algeria, the Malaysian-Algerian business seminar which was organised by MATRADE and our Embassy in Algeria received an over whelming response from the Algerian business community. About 300 Algerian businessmen from various sectors attended the seminar and they were keen to do business with Malaysia. A total of 33 business meetings were organised with areas of interest in HALAL Food, HALAL Consultation, Furniture, Tour Operators, Automotive, Sewerage, Wood Products, Rubber Products (Recycle Tyres), Medical Equipment and Investment into Algeria.

11. During my trip I had made 8 courtesy visits to Algerian Ministers holding the portfolios of Commerce, Transport, Religious Affairs, Water Resources, Public Works, ICT, SME and Housing, during which I was notified of the business opportunities that are available under the respective Ministries.

12. Among the opportunities highlighted were Construction of Roads, Highways, Railway Tracks and Bridges, Upgrading of Transportation Facilities which include construction of Monorail System, building of New Ports and Airports, establishing a Transportation Hub like KL Sentral, expansion of Ports and Shoreline Protection, development of Water Treatment and Waste Water Treatment System, building of Dams, Sewerage Plants and Desalination Plants, development of E-Learning Initiative, establish Hajj Pilgrimage and Management System and HALAL Infrastructure. The Ministers that I met had invited Malaysian companies to participate in the bidding of tenders for these projects.

13. During the call on the Minister of Housing and Urban Planning, the Minister himself invited Malaysian companies to participate in the construction of housing projects and townships in Algeria which is estimated at 2 million units by 2015. This indicates the goodwill and trust of the Algerians towards Malaysian capabilities.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

14. A stronger bilateral relationship between Algeria and Malaysia can be achieved through the establishment of economic and industrial partnerships between Algerian and Malaysian enterprises. In fact, Algeria is not solely a market; it is also a country of investment which offers extremely fruitful partnerships. An Islamic country of 35 million inhabitants, located in the core of the Maghreb and one hour flight from Europe, Algeria provides an ideal investment location for Malaysian companies to access into the MENA and the European market.

15. I am confident that huge possibilities on development of the economic relationships between the two countries will exist. Therefore I would like to call upon all Malaysian service providers to grab these opportunities. I know we have the expertise, capability and capacity to supply a wide range of services for overseas markets and we have also proved that too by successfully managing many projects in all parts of the world.

16. Although there are many opportunities in Algeria, both in investment and exports, there are also challenges that come with the opportunities. Challenges like the distance between Malaysia and Algeria, differing language and culture are examples that need to be tackled by prospective entrepreneurs. I believe these challenges could be overcome with proper planning and preparation.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentleman,

17. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Malaysia-Algeria Business Council (MABC) for their effort and active role in promoting Malaysian business in Algeria, including the organization of this seminar.

18. I do hope that this seminar would benefit all participants who are seeking business opportunities in Algeria. My sincere advice is for you to do follow-up action in order to realise the opportunities and MATRADE and MABC can always be consulted to assist all of you.
19. In closing, I wish all of you every success in your business endeavours. With that I declare the seminar open.

Thank you.

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