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Monday, 19 August, 2002, 12:07 GMT 13:07 UK
Michelin to return to Algeria
Michelin website
Will Michelin find a clear road back into Algeria?
The French tyre manufacturer Michelin has said it has taken the first step towards resuming production in Algeria after a gap of nearly ten years.

Michelin has set up a company, Michelin Algerie, to re-open a factory closed in 1993, a spokesman for the French tyre-maker said.

Michelin's spokesman said the firm was "waiting for a number of answers from the Algerian government" before production could resume.

Algeria has suffered from politicial violence and instability since 1992, when the government cancelled a general election which was widely expected to hand power to the opposition Islamic Front.

The picturesque southern town of Ghardaia
Violence has cost Algeria tourist income

With the backing of international lenders, the North African country has since launched an privatisation programme to attract foreign investment but progress has been slow.

Analysts say the policy has been opposed by the trade unions and some members of the elite.

Algeria's economy is heavily dependent on exports of oil and gas for its healthy trade balance.

Approval granted

Michelin's factory will employ more than 500 people to make lorry tyres, mostly for export. About 40% of the factory's output will be sold in Algeria.

No details of the cost of the investment were given.

The factory has already won approval from the body which regulates foreign investment in Algeria, the National Investment Council, the local APS news agency reported.

Although shootings and bomb attacks remain frequent, Algeria's economy has been growing at a healthy 3% a year for the last five years.

See also:

05 Jun 02 | Country profiles
09 Aug 02 | Business
25 Jul 02 | Middle East
10 Jul 02 | Middle East
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