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  1. #1
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    Algeria has asked more Singapore companies to do business in the Northern African country.

    This was conveyed to Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong at a business seminar held by the Algerian government who is keen to tap Singapore's experience.

    An Algerian-Singapore Business Council may also be formed as early as this week to help propel business collaborations between the two countries.

    Portek is one of only a handful of Singapore-based businesses that have ventured into the new Algerian market.

    The port operations company signed a new joint venture agreement with the Bejaia Port Authority to build and manage a US$25m Bejaia Mediterranean Terminal.

    This was witnessed by SM Goh and the Algerian Minister for Participation and Promotion of Investments, Abdelhamid Temmar.

    The Algerian minister said: "I badly want to understand the secret of this success of Singapore, to make the island a world economic centre - not an Asian one, but a world one. I try as a professional economist to understand what it was. As a matter of fact, it seems to me that the secret is very simple - simple but needs lots of hard work. The secret is human resources that you've developed in your country and the unique chance of qualitative competition and endless quest for excellence."

    SM Goh offered to share Singapore's experience in whatever areas needed.

    This, he said, could be in water resource management and port services.

    But it's a two-way learning process.

    Since 1999, Algeria has been aggressively reconstructing its economy and has since evolved to become one of the strongest growing economies with one of the highest savings rates in the world.

    Mr Goh proposed visits by both countries' top civil servants to exchange experience and ideas.

    Mr Goh said: "But whatever the business outcome, I want to have closer political relations with Algeria. It's an important country, it's going to become more important in the future.

    "Why is it going to be more important? Because if you succeed in transiting your economy from a socialist command economy into a freer market economy, you're going to be a model for countries, not just in Northern Africa, but also further afield."

    The Algerian government recognises Singapore's vast experience in public housing, and as such has invited Singapore to bid and help build 750,000 units of public housing in Algiers.

    The other area of possible cooperation includes the energy industry.

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    Singapore will set up a consular service in Algeria to facilitate greater interaction between the two countries.

    This commitment was made at the end of the first leg of Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong's visit to two Maghreb nations in Northern Africa.

    Mr Goh met Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia on Tuesday morning for over an hour in capital Algiers.

    The two statesmen discussed a wide range of issues and affirmed both governments' desire to build greater economic and political ties.

    They also agreed on the signing of an Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement and an Investment Guarantee Agreement in Singapore.

    This will be done when the Algerian Premier visits Singapore in two to three months' time.

    Speaking to Channel NewsAsia, Mr Goh expressed optimism that the Algerian economy will grow over the next 10 years, better than the current 7 to 8 percent......

    Singapore to set up consular service in Algeria to boost ties

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    Singapore's Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong says his seven-day exploratory visit to Algeria and Tunisia has presented more business opportunities for Singapore businessmen.

    The trip also laid the ground work for greater political ties with the Maghreb region in Northern Africa.

    Tunisia has a rich history but, like Singapore, it is not blessed with many natural resources.

    However, its proximity to the Mediterranean Sea and excellent ports have made it a trading hub for the region.

    Mr Goh says this presents Singapore businesses with excellent opportunities as Singapore seeks to expand its economic sphere....

    .....As for Algeria, Mr Goh says the current peaceful political situation in the country makes it viable for Singapore businessmen to invest in its rapidly growing economy.

    Baker Tech, which is part of the Singapore business delegation accompanying Mr Goh, is now looking into investing up to US$12 million in Algeria.

    This is to acquire two 100,000 square metre production facilities under the Algerian government's privatisation programme of state-owned operations.

    The signing of the Avoidance of Double Taxation and Investment Guarantee Agreements will help, but language could prove to be a major hurdle.....

    SM Goh highlights business opportunities in Algeria, Tunisia

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