With a population of approximately 44 million and a territory roughly 3.5 times the size of Texas, Algeria is a Southern Mediterranean market between the European Union and developing African countries. In addition to its impressive size, Algeria has the fourth-largest economy in Africa and is one of the continent’s most competitive (following South Africa, Morocco, and Tunisia). Algeria’s current level of development and relative economic girth is due to its significant hydrocarbon resources, with oil and natural gas historically accounting for 95 percent of export revenues and 60 percent of total government revenues.
Despite the size of Algeria’s total available market, it remains underexplored by American companies except for large multinational corporations and companies working in the energy sector. The reasons for this include decades of a state-controlled economy, a strict and unwieldy bureaucracy that hampers efficient business decision-making, and a lack of economic diversification. As a result, American companies often find the market inaccessible. The U.S. is Algeria’s seventh-largest trading partner, with export volumes equal to only 20 percent of Chinese exports to Algeria and 40 percent of French exports to Algeria.