Algeria Celebrates 60 years of Independence
by MPHAHLELE KUNENE
In his keynote speech addressing high commissioners, ambassadors, diplomats and counsellors at the celebration of Algeria’s 60th Independence Day, Ambassador of Algeria to South Africa, Mr Abd-el-Naceur Belaid said that his country is gradually reforming its political, economic and infrastructural priorities following years of political instability and a fragile economy.
Ambassador Belaid said that the Algerian government was the only country in North Africa that did not experience large-scale demonstrations during the 2010-2011 Arab Spring. He also said although Algeria was the region’s exception, it faced many of the same economic and political realities.
Belaid said despite constraints and the global community imposing sanctions, his country has fulfilled its obligations in the spheres of education, free healthcare, water and electricity among Algerian people.
“In spite of the constraints that the global community had imposed on our country at that time, the Algerian government had never abandoned its primary obligation and its social policies in ensuring that mainly education, free healthcare, clean water and electricity are accessed by all Algerians,” he said.
Belaid further said the Algerian government is fast-tracking development with the launch of the strategic sustainable developmental plan in aiming to grow the economy and expand infrastructure. He said over the last 14 years the Algerian government had spent 242 billion dollars of its budget between 2000 and 2014 on national priorities but emphasized that the budget is expected to increase to 262 billion dollars during 2015 to 2019 period.
During his address the ambassador expressed his country’s appreciation of the current bilateral dialogue which his country enjoys with South Africa.
“The mutual beneficial partnership between Algeria and South Africa is extensive and regular on bilateral dialogue and consultations on issues of common interest relating to peace, stability development on the African continent,” said Belaid.
Deputy Minister of Human Settlements Zoe Kota-Fredericks in her address said South Africa and Algeria presently enjoy solid, time-tested relations. South Africa also regards Algeria as a strategic partner in the African continent and beyond. “This interaction is also extended to the international fold whereby the two countries informed by their common history and destiny, tirelessly champion noble causes geared towards eradicating all forms of injustice in the international order,” she said.