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Algeria - Selling and buying

Contents extracted from the comprehensive atlas of international trade by Export Entreprises

Reaching the consumers

Marketing opportunities

Consumer behavior: Price is the essential element in the Algerian consumer's decision to buy. The brand name becomes an element in choosing only if its price is reasonable. A not insignificant part of household budgets goes to housing and food expenses.
Consumer profile: In spite of the marked improvement in the Algerians' purchasing power, the country is still quite far from being what is called a consumer society. Algerians are careful in the management of their income. Badly curbed inflation, especially on essential goods because of the rise in their prices on the world market, encourages households to practice a certain restraint.
Main advertising agencies:

Distribution network

Evolution of the sector: The distribution market has, for a long time, been the domain of public companies. But, for the last few years, thanks to a wave of privatization, foreign - and especially French - companies have been taking an interest in the Algerian market.
Types of outlet: Algeria has a well developed distribution system which is shared between public and private companies. State firms sell mainly basic foodstuffs, pharmaceutical products and imported industrial material. The majority of distributors are private companies, especially in the equipment sector. As it were, in spite of the presence of public companies, the retail trade is exclusively controlled by private shopkeepers.
The Blanky group dominates the foodstuffs sector. It has taken over the stores which were previously managed by the State firm "les galeries algériennes". The Promy group is also a large one, and offers various types of products: textiles, electrical appliances, foodstuffs of which 75% are produced in Algeria. Alongside them, there is a multitude of small retail outlets. For example, Danone products (40% market share for fresh dairy products) are sold above all in small local shops.
The UGCAA (General Union of Algerian Shopkeepers and Craftsmen) encourages foreign distributors to set up in Algeria, as, in its opinion, this would reduce the weight of unofficial trade; this is thought to have represented 35% of commercial activity in 2004 spread over 2 400 unofficial markets (irrespective of the sector of activity) and 500 000 shopkeepers. As a comparison, at the Register of Commerce, only 648 supermarkets and mini-markets are registered. However, the large foreign stores are discouraged by the cost of the investment and the complexity of Customs. This is especially the case of Carrefour which is still hesitating about opening Champion stores in the country.
For their part, the small local shops are not worried about foreign companies setting up; they consider that mass marketing meets the needs of more well-to-do customers than theirs. Given that the purchasing power of most Algerians remains low, they continue to prefer shopping at the local shopkeeper's.

Market access procedures

Economic Cooperation: Cooperation agreement with the European Union
Member of the African Union
Member of the Arab League
Member of the Arab Maghreb Union
Member of the Arab Free Trade Zone (AFTZ).
The country have signed a trade agreement with 21 other countries in the São Paulo Round of the Global System of Trade Preferences among Developing Countries (GSTP).
Non tariff barriers: Over the last few years, Algeria has intensified the liberalization of its trade with foreign countries. However, the country levies high Customs duties on some goods to protect national production. All import and export transactions of goods and services must be domiciled with a bank.
Average Customs Duty (excluding agricultural products): 0 to 30%
Customs classification: The Algerian Customs tariff is applied on the HS nomenclature.
Import procedures: To import or export goods, you must present a detailed declaration to the Customs office; it must be written and signed by the informant.
To consult import procedures, click here (in French).

Organizing goods transport

Organizing goods transport to and from: The main means of transport in Algeria, for import and export, is by sea. The main commercial ports are: Algiers (10 million tons), Oran (4 million tons), Annaba (5 million tons) and Djendjen (1.5 million tons) ; they total 75% of port traffic (apart from hydrocarbons). The port of Algiers is the leading commercial port in the country. The global volume of traffic registered by these ports each year is more than 127 million tons, of which 99.96 are exports and 26.95 imports. For further information, see the UNECE presentation of Algerian ports.

Nevertheless, according to the Ministry of Transport, all the airport services management companies (EGSA) together register an increase of 2% of the volume of freight handled every year. Air Algérie, the country's main airline, handles more than 25,000 tons in a year.

The distances to be traveled by land are long. The motorway network is still limited. In the absence of reliable statistics on the activity of private sector road transport, it is very difficult to estimate the real volume of goods traveling by road in Algeria.

The National Rail Transport Company (SNTF) carry an average of 8.5 million tons of goods each year.

Sea transport organizations:
Air transport organizations:
Rail transport organizations:

Domestic business directories

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