Algeria’s Rural Renewal Program
Following a successful pilot phase, which concluded in 2007, the Algerian government has approved a program aimed at revitalizing the country’s rural areas, which are home to more than 13 million Algerians, making up about 40% of the population. Although the Rural Renewal Program (PRR) focuses on agriculture, it will also include projects relating to commerce, tourism, culture, crafts, fishing, education, the environment, industry and new technologies, with the goal of fuelling dynamic, sustainable growth.
The Rural Renewal Program has been sanctioned by Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and will progressively roll out over the next five years. Agriculture officials will recruit up to 20,000 trainers before the end of June 2008 to implement the program which has been developed by the Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry. Objectives of the program include improving living and working conditions for rural populations, as well as promoting food safety at home.
The foundation of the Rural Renewal Program’s strategy is the Rural Development Partnership Project (PPDR). The PPDR will consider applications from project initiators – individuals or groups – that meet a set of criteria. The proposed project must be economically viable, respectful of the environment and socially acceptable. Units have been set up at local and sub-regional levels to verify the feasibility of proposed projects. This involves understanding the procedures and financial aspects of each project, as well as its impact on existing resources.
The first three-day seminar for trainers took place in January 2008. Participants in the seminar were chosen based on their skills and include field experts, researchers, academics, teachers and agricultural workers. Trainers were made aware of the need to eliminate the existing disparity between rural and urban areas, re-establishing the historic value of Algeria’s rural population.
Official figures reveal that the Algerian government has budget ten billion dinars to the implementation of the Rural Renewal Program in 2008. It was stressed by Rachid Benaïssa, the Minister Delegate for Rural Development, that there are no areas of rural Algeria without hope and plans for the future. It is believed that the development and promotion of local skills along with the decentralization of the decision making process will bring about better governance of rural areas as well as cementing the stability of local populations – to the benefit of all citizens of Algeria.