The challenges of 2018, 2020 & 2030 Algeria: reform of the political system and economic transition would be a dialectical link between politics and economics where social forces inevitably carry any project, often with different interests. In a democracy, it is through the ballot box that the political minority submits to the will of the majority. As not to recall that in the past(1), I had the honour of coordinating several multidisciplinary works, of a topicality hot theme, having addressed the political reforms, social and economic issues; the fruit of collective work in the drafting of which contributed colleagues specialists in anthropology, economics and Political Science of the Universities of Oran and Algiers. At that time, I had given several lectures at the Universities of Annaba, Tizi Ouzou, Sidi Bel Abbes and Oran before closing at the National School of Administration of Algiers (ENA). Other conferences between 2007 and 2017 were held to explain our approach that is as always based on democratic alternation while considering our authenticity, and a diversified and non-hydrocarbons economy within the framework of universal values.
This operational work is now the hot topic and the subject of this present contribution, which is part of the already well-established tradition of ‘Transitology’.
It is about dealing with all Third World countries experiences and those of the former socialist bloc with the objective of reviewing policies that various government teams have developed and executed in response to the tremendous internal and global challenges.
Development in Algeria involves reform of the political system
For Algeria, a proactive management since independence with internal power issues lead to an economic, social and cultural crisis and, to the increasingly burdensome external constraints resulted in some changes, sometimes hastily carried out, revealing a very bitter reality: the dramatic absence of a genuine national strategy to adapt to this total and inexorable phenomenon of Globalization. The combination of endogenous and exogenous factors and the massive-sometimes direct and insidious-moment intervention of internal and external actors has led to a transition that has been dragging on for decades and not just for the current period. As previously recalled, the economy is fundamentally political as we have been taught by its founders including Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Karl Marx, Joseph Schumpeter and closer to us the Nobel Prize in Economic Science awarded to all those Institutionalists between 2000 and 2017.
The fundamental reforms of the socio-economic transition refer to the ‘Refounding’ of the State which implies to grasp the real tendencies of the Algerian society in the face of both internal and global changes. The demands of a strong statement of its righteousness and its right, if they constitute a vital tool for national cohesion and the destiny of the nation, must not obscure the needs of Local Authorities autonomy which must be restructured according to their anthropological history and not according to electoral or clientelist needs. The cohesion of these spaces and their involvement in the management of their respective interests and territorialities would then trigger a dynamic of positive complementation’s and make the control of the groups easier for the national political centrality. The autonomy of Local Authorities does not mean autonomy of government but an act that strengthens good governance by reinforcing the role of civil society, that only actions of common interests must legitimise and not be State support only.
The ‘refounding’ of the State, not to say its foundation as a public entity, passes necessarily through a profound change in the social function of politics. The end of the cash-cow State and that of the revolutionary legitimacy means above all that the benevolent or charitable power inaugurated as an implicit political contract by the supporters of benevolent socialism to legitimise the exchange of a part of the rentier’s annuity against political dependence and submission. It has removed any spirit of active citizenship; shear power must give way to a just, vigilant and righteous power. It is the Law norms that legitimise the actual status of national citizenship.
The transition from the state of “support” to the State of justice is, from my point of view, a major political gamble because it merely implies a new social contract and a new political contract between the Nation and the State. Algeria cannot get back to itself only if all false privileges are banned, and criteria of competence, loyalty and innovation reinstated as gateways to success and social advancement. Competence is by no means synonymous with positions in the informal hierarchy, nor be positioning in the perception of a rentier annuity, it is enough by itself, and its effectiveness and legitimacy mainly verified in the relevance of the ideas and the symbolically positive that it anchors in the bodies and social actors. Moreover, competence is not a diploma only but a conscience and a substance that nourishes the institutions to build the foundations of knowledge to have a real impact on the global social dynamics to realise the aspirations of an Algeria anchored to modernity while preserving its authenticity.
The ‘refounding’ of the State cannot be confined to a technical reorganisation of authority and powers and governance is a matter of real and non-fictional legitimacy. This implying redevelopment in the organisation of authority poses the strategic problem of the future role of the State primarily influenced by the effects of globalisation on economic and social development, mainly through real decentralisation. A first cell par excellence, the Algerian ‘commune’ has been governed by texts which are no longer topical, in other words, lapses have stricken them. The central objective of the approach is to transform the ordinary “providence” into a “common enterprise”. This implies that all the components of society and the actors of economic, social and cultural life, are involved, without exclusivity, in the decision-making process which commits the configuration of the image of the Algeria of tomorrow which will have to gradually move away from the spectre of exclusion, marginalization and all negative attitudes that undermine social cohesion. The involvement of the citizen in the decision-making process that engages the future of future generations is a way for the State, to mark its will of justice and to rehabilitate its credibility by giving a definite meaning to its role as regulator and arbitrator of social demand. The image of the common-manager based on the need to do more and better with limited resources. There would be more room for waste and the right to error, which necessarily excludes sight-seeing, to the benefit of positive actions by long-term prospects on the one hand, and coherent arbitrations on the other, which implies a certain degree of rigour in the act of Management. It would mean addressing the democratic political-institutional underpinnings, the redesign of the unjust system and civil society.
(1)- Collective work under the direction of Prof. Abderrahmane Mebtoul “The stakes of Algeria: reforms and democracy” 2 volumes Kasbah Edition Algiers-2005 (520 pages)
-Lecture by Professor Abderrahmane Mebtoul on November 26, 2014 at the Club of Pines, Palais des Nations Algiers – in the presence of the Prime minister, the majority of members of the government and executives of the Nation – following the debate I held at Radio France Internationale RFI Paris on November 12, 2014, with Prof. Antoine Halff Former chief economist of the Government Barak Obama and director of foresight at the IEA, on “Prospects for the fall of the Cous of hydrocarbons and their impact on the Algerian economy ‘
-Interviews by the American Herald Tribune of December 28, 2016 and the French financial newspaper La Tribune.fr March 2017 « Any destabilisation of Algeria would have an impact on the Mediterranean and African area. ‘
-Collective work “The geostrategic stakes of the integration of the greater Maghreb” Edition l’Harmattan Paris/France-2015 under the direction of Abderrahmane Mebtoul and to Camille Sari Two books (1050 pages) The first collective work is entitled “What governance and institutions in the Maghreb in the face of geostrategic issues”. The second book Collective Trafficking Of the Maghreb economic integration, a forced destiny.
-A contribution of Professor Abderrahmane Mebtoul Institute French international Relations – IFRI-“Europe/Maghreb cooperation in the face of Geostrategic issues 55 pages 04 April 2011” and the same author “The problem of the informal sphere in the Maghreb” (IFRI 28 pages December 3, 2013).
-Africa, Maghreb and migratory flows» Site Afrik Press Paris France two parts, June 24/27, 2018