Algeria punches above its weight, asks to join BRICS

Algeria punches above its weight, asks to join BRICS

The ailing and ageing military regime in Algiers has officially asked to join the BRICS, a group of fastly growing emerging economies, in a move that indicates the level of disillusionment among the leadership of a country whose GDP is indexed on the raw oil and gas it exports.

Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa which, was the latest to join the heavyweights of emerging economies in 2010, all have diversified and industrialized economies.

Algeria’s economy was about to crumble had it not been for the Russian-Ukraine war which sent energy prices skyrocketing giving Algerian regime some space to delay economic collapse.

Algeria has nothing to export but oil and gas. Its hydrocarbon export capacity has been diminishing on the back of higher domestic consumption. Its economy is nothing but emerging and it is best described as a rentier state representing the worst aspect of what economic experts call the Dutch disease.

The BRICS to the exception of India- an economy of over 3 trillion- all have a GDP per capita exceeding 10,000 dollars compared to Algeria’s GDP per capita which has decreased from an average 4000 in the pre-Covid19 era to some 3300 dollars currently.

Previously, Iran with a GDP per capita of about 2500 dollars and an oil dominated economy has asked to join the BRICS and so did Argentina with a GDP per capita of over 10,000 but none was admitted.

Spreading the news of the Algerian application to join the BRICS is part of a series of manipulations by an ageing regime that kept the country hostage to fluctuations of the barrel price and shunned painful reforms to diversify its economy.

Applying for the BRICS also shows how the ruling elites in Algeria are myopic to their own economic size as a nation which depends by over 90% on hydrocarbon exports in a fast evolving world that is speeding up its energy transition away from fossil fuels.

By the time Algeria realizes oil and gas no longer matter, it will be too late for it to reform and the money it has accumulated would have been squandered by a regime that is mired in façade politics.

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