ALGERIA’S ECONOMY IN FREEFALL. COVID LOCKDOWNS HELPED KILL IT


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As we reported in the Trends Journal in February 2019, Algeria was being rocked by protests following the decision by then-President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to run for a fifth term. His regime was accused of having taken control of revenues from the country’s natural resources and used them to pay off political cronies and financial supporters.
As with many other nations where protests were raging in 2019, they were stopped by the Algerian government in the name of fighting the COVID War. 
Reporters Without Borders identified Algeria as one of the worst countries in the world when it comes to press freedom. It now ranks 146 out of 180 countries in the category, a drop of 27 places since 2015, an AFP report noted. 
In mid-March, thousands of young protesters in Algeria were back on the streets holding rallies in the country demanding major reforms to its ruling system. 
And as we have reported in the 18 May Trends Journal, those protests were shut down by government forces (See, “ALGERIA: PRO-DEMOCRACY PROTESTS STAMPED DOWN”). Reeling from unrest and the COVID War, the North African country has continued its economic freefall and now the country faces an economic disaster.
The Financial Times reported that even before the COVID-19 outbreak hit, the country had been plagued by falling oil prices and the lack of foreign investment.
On 29 October 2019, we ran an article, “ALGERIA: WHO’S SMILING NOW?,” on a then recent strike by hundreds of judges and prosecutors “initiated to protest the heavy-handed moves by the government to reduce the influence of around half of the country’s judiciary in an attempt to manipulate the upcoming presidential election.”
About a third of the youth in Algeria are unemployed and have grown tired of expecting any meaningful changes from the government. The Washington Post reported that there was a low turnout for last week’s elections, which could be a sign of frustration or a boycott. The government also cracked down on protests leading up to the parliamentary elections and about 200 protesters remain in prison, The FT report said.
Many see President Adbelmadjid Tebboune, who briefly served as prime minister under Bouteflika, as a member of the same establishment. Bouteflika, who was ailing at the time, was forced to step down, but the demonstrations continued… until the COVID War broke out and demonstrations were banned until they broke out again in March. (See our 23 March article, “ALGERIANS: BACK TO THE STREETS.”
“There’s an indifference,” one Algerian analyst told The Post. “Algerians don’t believe too much in this election…[They see] the Parliament as useless.”
One Algerian, a 48-year-old woman, told The Post that she has been too afraid to leave her home and said she had no plans to vote due to her distrust in the government. “There are arbitrary arrests, and they speak to us of democracy,” she told the paper. “We are disillusioned. We no longer know who to believe and who not to believe.”
The FT pointed out that Algeria’s economy relies heavily on oil and gas exports and is running low on foreign currency reserves. (The country had $200 billion in reserves in 2014, and $47 billion in 2020.) Its economy was down 6 percent in 2020. The International Monetary Fund said the country will carry a budget deficit of 18.4 percent of its GDP in 2021, which means the only way it will balance its books is if oil prices jump from $72 per barrel to $169.6.
The paper reported that there seems to be an unwillingness by the military leadership in the country—which controls the decision-making—to diversify its economy and that has led to the high numbers of youth unemployment. 
TREND FORECAST: As we had forecast in December 2020, one of our Top Trends for 2021 is “YOUTH REVOLUTION,” and it is playing out in Angola. We had forecast that “in 2021, the uprisings and revolutions that were sweeping the world before the COVID War will accelerate dramatically, as billions of people sink deeper into economic despair… and the Youth will be leading the charge for change.”
In response, governments will again attempt to use the COVID War as a “legal” justification to prohibit protests. But, as Gerald Celente says, “When people lose everything and have nothing left to lose, they lose it.” And lose it, they will. Thus, we maintain our forecast that protests will escalate into civil wars, and civil wars will spread to regional wars. 
TREND FORECAST: From Mali to Ethiopia, from South Africa to Zambia, unrest, protests, and violence is erupting across many nations on the continent.  Therefore, as citizens by the millions flee their nations for neighboring safe havens, especially Europe, anti-immigration populist movements will accelerate, with new political parties, some youth-driven, overthrowing establishment parties.

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