Algeria and Mauritania move ahead on free trade zone

Algeria and Mauritania move ahead on free trade zone

The Algerian and Mauritanian Presidents formally introduced a free trade zone between the two countries on February 22,  Algeria Presse Service (APS) reported.

Abdelmadjid Tebboune and Mohamed Ould Cheikh inaugurated the plan in the western Algerian commune of Tindouf and also announced the construction of a roughly 850km long road between the Algerian commune and Zouerat, the largest town in northern Mauritania. 

Both leaders commented on the importance of the zone as it will tie the neighbouring countries closer together as well as facilitate trade. 

The Algerian government had announced last year that free trade zones would also come into action with Libya, Niger and Tunisia come 2024.

Alongside his Mauritanian counterpart, Tebboune announced that they had agreed on a forthcoming meeting between the two countries’ Trade Ministers to “strengthen cooperation and bilateral trade through the creation of banks and the facilitation of access for goods and merchandise.” 

READ: Algeria expected to open border crossings with Mauritania soon

The recent move has been described by experts as Algeria showing off to Morocco, its trade and general economic rival in North Africa. Currently, Morocco is the economic leader in the region. 

The pair are also at each other’s throats over the historically contentious issue over the sovereignty of the Western Sahara, 80% of which is ruled by Morocco. 

Towards the end of his controversial and chaotic presidency, Donald Trump recognised the disputed territory as Moroccan. 

The Algerian head said in early December that an easily accessible border crossing between the two would be, “a true bridge of communication between the populations of the border region and a major achievement,”  

APS/ Reuters


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