Energy, mining projects: Algeria invites Indonesian companies to expand activities in country

ALGIERS- The Minister of Energy and Mines, Mohamed Arkab, received, on Thursday, the Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to Algeria, Chalief Akbar Tjandraningrat, the ministry said in a press release.

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ALGIERS- The Minister of Energy and Mines, Mohamed Arkab, received, on Thursday, the Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to Algeria, Chalief Akbar Tjandraningrat, the ministry said in a press release.

During the meeting, the two parties discussed the bilateral relations of cooperation between the two sisterly countries, particularly in hydrocarbons through the activities of the Indonesian oil company Pertamina in Algeria.

Both officials welcomed, on this occasion, the “traditional and historical” relations maintained between the two friendly countries, while insisting on the need to intensify cooperation in the energy field and explore business opportunities and future prospects for investment in structuring projects in Algeria, particularly in the development of hydrocarbon production capacities, petrochemicals and seawater desalination.

For his part, the Minister invited the company Pertamina to expand its activity in Algeria, within the framework of the new law on hydrocarbons, in particular in the research and development of deposits.

The parties also discussed cooperation and investment opportunities in the mining sector in Algeria.

Mr. Arkab also invited the Indonesian mining companies to partake in the development of new mining projects in Algeria, through the share of experience and Indonesian know-how in the matter, according to the press release.

The relationship between the two nations is above all based on religious and anti-colonialist solidarity. The two countries agree on the expansion of cooperation and the strengthening of relations. Algeria has an embassy in Jakarta which is also accredited to Singapore and Brunei, while Indonesia has an embassy in Algiers. Both nations are members of the Non-Aligned Movement, the Group of 77 and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

The two sisterly countries established diplomatic relations in 1963. Algeria has an embassy in Jakarta that is also accredited to Singapore and Brunei, while Indonesia has an embassy in Algiers. Both nations are members of the Non-Aligned Movement, Group of 77 and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

Indonesia was among a handful of nations to have recognized Algeria before its independence. Algeria still cherishes Indonesia`s support and its invitation to attend the first Asia-Africa Conference in Bandung in 1955. During the 50th anniversary of Algerian independence in 2013, the then-Algerian ambassador to Indonesia, Abdelkrim Belarbi, thanked Indonesia for its vocal support for Algerian independence.

Back to history, Indonesia actively supported Algeria in their struggle for independence by establishing the North African Independence Struggle Support Committee, chaired by Prime Minister of Indonesia Muhammad Natsir in 1951. In 1955, Indonesia organized the Bandung Afro-Asian Conference, which called for the independence and decolonization of Asian and African countries from European colonialism. Although at the time Algeria was still colonized, Indonesia invited an Algerian delegation to attend the Bandung conference.

The political relations between both countries are further enhanced by frequent high-level bilateral exchanges and meetings between senior officials and MPs, as well as the two states’ shared participation in several multilateral mechanisms, such as; the Non-Aligned Movement, Group of 77, and Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Algeria has spared no efforts to grant Indonesia non- permanent membership in UNSC, UNISCO and other organizations given that they share the same policy and are members in the non-alignment movement due to both countries deep- rooted and long-standing ties.

As for regional and international dossiers, Jakarta and Algiers note a convergence of views on several causes, such as; Libya, Palestine, and the Western Sahara.

Economically, Indonesia and Algeria have made a commitment to increase bilateral trade and investment. The two countries have economic ties that go a long way back. Algeria ranks sixth on the list of Indonesia’s biggest export destinations in Africa and is the fourth-biggest African exporter to Indonesia, following Egypt, Nigeria, and South Africa – both according to 2017 statistics. On the list of Indonesia’s trading partners at the global level, meanwhile, Algeria ranked 46th as an export destination for Indonesia and 41st as an exporter to Indonesia.

By 2015, trade between the two countries reached $555.95 million. While Algeria mainly exports crude oil, Indonesia’s primary exports are food stuffs, such asn wood, sugar, dried fish, textile fiber, coffee, and palm oil.

The Indonesian state oil firm Pertamina is already present in Algeria under a partnership with Sonatrach and it has participated in several oil operations in this country since 2012, especially in the Menzel Ledjmet Nord (MNL), El Merk (Illizi) and Ourhoud (Ouargla) fields.

According to the Diplomat, in 2012, PT Pertamina inked an MoU with Algerian national oil company Sonatrach to strengthen cooperation and exchange of expertise and knowledge in various segments of the hydrocarbon chain.

Meanwhile, in 2016, PT Pertamina began the development of the Phase 4 Project in its block in Algeria, which the Indonesian company purchased from ConocoPhillips in 2013. The Algerian oil and gas authority Alnaft has allowed PT Pertamina to increase its production to 54,300 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd), higher than the 39,000 boepd permitted a year earlier. To take advantage of the increase, in January 2016, PT Pertamina Drilling Services Indonesia (PDSI), a subsidiary of PT Pertamina, initiated a tender to ship a rig to Algeria to be used by PT Pertamina to explore its fields.

Other deals were inked in July 2016 between Algeria and Indonesia’s Indorama Corporation to construct a phosphate mine and develop two factories to process the crop nutrient in Algeria at a total expected cost of $4.5 billion. Part of the deal was a joint venture between Indorama and Algeria’s Manal to develop a new phosphate mine in Algeria’s eastern province of Tebessa. Indorama and Manal would also join another Algerian company, Asmidal, to construct a phosphate processing plant in Souk Ahras, close to the Tunisian border, to produce phosphoric acid and diammonium phosphate.

In the same year, an MoU was signed by Indonesia and Algeria on the industrial sector. It is reported that the agreement covers the development of bilateral relations in a number of strategic industrial sectors, including mining, textiles, machinery, foods, petrochemicals, and fertilizers. A bilateral working group was also planned to be set up for the implementation.

For its part, Indonesia’s construction company Wijaya Karya (Wika) has won development contracts in Algeria with the aim to construct up to 5,000 subsidized houses in the country.

As for the religious and cultural spheres, an agreement was inked between the two countries to foster ties in religious cooperation to help tackle radicalism and promote moderate Islamic teaching. As a follow-up, the two countries have also drafted a number of related programs to be implemented, that include cleric exchanges and the dissemination of moderate Islamic values. Previously, Indonesian youngsters came to Algeria to study at a Zawiya or Islamic boarding school.

In 2016, a MoU was signed for the exchange of Non-aligned Movement archives. In 2019, Indonesia’ Soekarno Festival was held in the Palace of Culture. It included an exhibition of the Soekarno Archives and the Afro-Asian Conference 1955.

In July 2016, Jakarta and Algiers signed an MoU for cooperation in higher education and scientific research. The agreement includes the extension of scholarships, exchange of lecturers, joint research, and publications.

For tourism, many Algerians have gone to Indonesia for tourism, in particular to Bali, aside of their other purposes, such as; business or official visits.

In March 2022, the Algeria-Indonesia Parliamentary Friendship Group was set up at the headquarters of the People’s National Assembly (APN), as an institutional framework enabling, in the future, to take joint initiatives capable of consolidating the links between parliamentarians. The installation ceremony was chaired by the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Community Committee, Mohamed Hani, the Indonesian Ambassador to Algeria, Chalief Akbar, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Friendship Committee , Mohamed Yazid Benhamouda, as well as the director of South Asia, Oceania and the Pacific Ocean at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and National Community Abroad, Aida Zahira.

On Saturday July 18, 2020, a stele of late Indonesian President Ahmed Soekarno was erected in the commune of Ben Aknoun (Algiers) as a symbol of eternal friendship between Indonesia and Algeria as despite the fact that both countries are separated by a considerable distance, they succeeded in establishing a very close and strong friendship.

“The monument of Soekarno represents a form of sincere appreciation from Indonesia to Algeria, as a friendly country that continues to express and support the principles of world peace and prosperity based on equal rights and independence,” the-then Indonesian Ambassador in Algiers, Ms. Safira Machrusah, said in her speech.

The Soekarno Monument was designed by Dr. Ridwan Kamil, a prominent architect who is also the Governor of the Province of West Java, Indonesia, while the statue of Soekarno was made by Mrs. Dolorosa Sinaga, a contemporary sculptor from Indonesia. The erection of this monument in Algeria cannot be dissociated from the role of the two Indonesian public companies currently active in Algeria, PT Pertamina and PT Wijaya Karya (WIKA).

The Monument of Soekarno has the shape of a crescent with five star pillars in each corner, symbolizing the shape of the crescent and stars of the Algerian flag. In each of its small pillars is attached the text of Dasasila Bandung or the ten principles adopted in the Asia-Africa Conference in Bandung, April 1955, as a joint declaration of Asian and African countries to express independence, equality and world peace.

President Sukarno, noteworthy, has deeply inspired Algeria to declare its independence to the whole world through the United Nations. Thus, it is hoped that this monument of Soekarno can become a monumental story that can build a solid foundation of confidence in order to establish political, economic and cultural dialogue as well as other common interests both bilaterally and multilaterally.

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