Summary: will the energy price rise caused by Putin’s war in Ukraine allow Algeria to return to a position of power and prominence in North Africa and the wider Middle East?
Francis Ghilès, associate senior researcher at the Barcelona Centre for International Affairs, is Arab Digest editor William Law’s guest this week. Algeria, like other hydrocarbon producers, has experienced a huge windfall thanks to the war in Ukraine. The question is will the country see itself return to a position of prominence in North Africa and beyond or will it once again squander the opportunity and remain locked in a dysfunctional economy and a frozen political system?
Summary: opportunity beckons for Algeria as Europe struggles to meet its urgent need for reliable gas supplies but much needs to change in the energy, financial and industry sectors for the country to realise its full potential as a major European gas supplier.
Summary: previously seen as a model of stability and solid economic growth, Morocco is struggling with an economy battered by COVID and the fallout from the war in Ukraine; to further complicate matters the king is in failing health and a succession battle looms.
Summary: Emmanuel Macron carried off a charm offensive with Algeria’s President Tebboune securing a rapprochement that promises much but provides little in the way of concrete details.
At number 2 in the all-time top ten is Christopher Davidson’s podcast Putin’s war plays well with MENA authoritarians which aired 1 April, 2022. Chris is an academic and author of several books on the politics and foreign affairs of the Gulf states and a regular contributor to the Arab Digest newsletter. His latest book published by Hurst is titled From Sheikhs to Sultanism.
At number 4 in our all-time top ten podcasts is Francis Ghilès’ Algeria and Morocco: neighbours with issues released 23 July 2021. Francis is a specialist on security, energy and political trends in North Africa and the western Mediterranean, and associate senior researcher at the Barcelona Centre for international affairs. From 1981 to 1995 he was a North Africa correspondent for the Financial Times, and has written for numerous publications including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Le Monde, and El Pais.
Summary: Italy, Algeria and Tunisia share an energy nexus of interest that has the potential to alter the economic landscape for all three as Europe scrambles to free itself from its dependency on Russian oil and gas.
Arab Digest editor William Law welcomes top North Africa energy analyst Francis Ghilès to the podcast to talk about the potential energy alliance between Italy, Tunisia and Algeria as the war in Ukraine grinds on and sanctions on Russia begin to bite. Italy is determined to become Europe’s energy hub while Tunisia has the geographic proximity to the continent and Algeria the resources for a nexus of interests to emerge, one that could prove a winner for all three.
Summary: Italy and Europe look to Algeria to reduce their dependence on Russian gas, but the North African country’s lack of strategic economic thinking has reinforced the perception that it is an unstable partner.