Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika arrived in Sunday and was welcomed in Ottawa by Canada's Governor General Mrs. Adrienne Clarkson. During his five-day stay in Canada, Bouteflika will participate in the 16th conference on Africa and the Middle East, which is taking place in Montreal between May 14 to 17, Arabic News reported. Bouteflika's visit aims to augment existing economic ties between the nations, but security concerns are also sure to be raised.
Bouteflika's five-day tour will undoubtedly focus on economic issues. The two economies already maintain deep relations, as Algeria is now Canada's most lucrative African export market. Numerous Canadian energy and mining firms are active in the Algerian market, and others are interested in potential investment opportunities. According to Arabic News, scores of Canadian firms are due to participate in the upcoming June investment symposium in Algeria, which will present public Algerian projects raised for privatization as well as other investment opportunities. Last March, Canada's Breakwater Resources Ltd. signed an agreement with Algeria's Office of Geological and Mines Research to excavate for zinc in the Oued Amizour field. This deal followed an earlier agreement between Petro-Canada and Algeria's state-owned Sonatrach that allows the Canadian energy firm to invest in natural gas in southeast Algeria.
Earlier this month, La Tribune newspaper reported that bilateral trade between Canada and Algeria is valued at approximately $600 million per year. While Algeria imports mainly wheat, milk products, cereals, food and engineering services, Canadian imports consist mainly of oil, specialized agriculture, and gas. Mutual collaboration has accelerated since the November 1998 signing of a cooperation agreement in the fields of agriculture, energy, transport, telecommunications and higher education. The two countries signed a Double Taxation Agreement last year and moreover, Canada’s Export Development Corporation has two major lines of credit in Algeria, one with the Algerian Development Bank and the other with Sonatrach. (albawaba.com staff).
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