DON'T MISS : Talking Africa Podcast – Mozambique's insurgency: After Palma, what comes next?

Algeria: Foreign affairs minister Lamamra prioritises diplomacy

By Farid Alilat
Posted on Tuesday, 14 September 2021 10:17

Algerian diplomat Ramtane Lamamra announced the end of diplomatic relations with Morocco on 24 August 2021, in Algiers © Fateh Guidoum/PPAgency/SIPA

Algeria has embarked on a vastly new diplomatic campaign, which has involved appointing more than 70 ambassadors and consuls general. Seven special envoys have also been hired that will be directly attached to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Algeria’s diplomatic apparatus has undergone a major upheaval, as President Abdelmadjid Tebboune appointed no less than 70 ambassadors and consuls general on 5 September.

Much awaited by the diplomatic staff, both in Algiers and abroad, this move came two months after Ramtane Lamamra was appointed as head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

A long-awaited reorganisation

The first of its kind in a decade, this waltz involves several major capitals, as well as figures from outside the diplomatic apparatus.

  • Former prime minister Abdelaziz Djerad, in office from December 2019 to June 2021, has been appointed ambassador to Sweden.
  • Belkacem Zeghmati, the former justice minister who oversaw investigations into Bouteflika regime officials suspected of corruption, begins a new chapter of his career as ambassador to the Czech Republic.
  • Slimane Chenine, president of the National Assembly from July 2019 to February 2021, has been appointed ambassador to Libya.
  • Washington has also been affected by this campaign, as Ahmed Boutache will be replacing Madjid Bouguerra. Boutache, who is a specialist in Sahel affairs and former chairman of the Comité de Suivi de l’Accord de Paix au Mali, is leaving Rome, where he had been living since June 2019.

Antar Daoud will remain in his post, to which he was appointed in Paris in October 2020, as ambassador to France. President Tebboune is fully satisfied with his work and the two have maintained excellent relations.

Big rave

In the coming weeks, a conference bringing together all the heads of diplomatic missions and consuls will be held. This vast restructuring illustrates Algiers’ goal to revitalise its diplomatic efforts, that suffered under former President Bouteflika, who was extremely ineffective on the international scene and held a quasi-monopoly over his country’s diplomatic activity.

Lamamra, the new foreign affairs minister, is also responsible for re-establishing the Direction Générale de la Veille Stratégique, de l’Anticipation et de la Gestion des Crises, which reports to his department.

This Direction Générale needed to be reactivated due to the country’s renewed tension with Morocco over Western Sahara and the multiple crises affecting Algeria’s strategic environment, particularly in the Sahel and Libya.

Not only have new diplomatic staff been appointed, but seven special envoys have also been hired that will be placed under the minister of foreign affairs’ authority.

Flexibility, efficiency, responsiveness

According to the presidency, this vast movement “aims to provide Algeria’s diplomatic apparatus with the flexibility, efficiency and responsiveness necessary to enable the country to face the multiple challenges of the moment.”

Amar Belani, a former ambassador to Brussels, has been entrusted with the issue of Western Sahara and the Maghreb countries, two dossiers that have been of paramount importance to Algiers ever since it ended diplomatic relations with Rabat.

A diplomat who has worked in Addis Ababa, Geneva and Tokyo, Boudjemaa Delmi has been entrusted with African issues, in particular the Sahel-Saharan region’s geostrategy and the presidency of the Comité de Suivi de l’Application de l’Accord d’Alger sur la Paix et la Réconciliation au Mali. This is a highly strategic position, as Algeria is involved in managing this border country’s crisis.

Abdelkrim Harchaoui, minister of trade and finance during the 1990s, has taken charge of economic diplomacy. Meanwhile, Noureddine Aouam has inherited the Arab countries and Ms. Leila Zerrougui has been entrusted with the major international partnerships.

Understand Africa's tomorrow... today

We believe that Africa is poorly represented, and badly under-estimated. Beyond the vast opportunity manifest in African markets, we highlight people who make a difference; leaders turning the tide, youth driving change, and an indefatigable business community. That is what we believe will change the continent, and that is what we report on. With hard-hitting investigations, innovative analysis and deep dives into countries and sectors, The Africa Report delivers the insight you need.

View subscription options