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Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune on 22 December outlined his government’s plans for economic development over the next 12 months, saying Algeria will boost investments, improve human development, and shift towards a more advanced export structure relying less on hydrocarbons to qualify for membership into the BRICS group of emerging economies.
“When Algeria’s GDP exceeds $200 billion, then it can be said that Algeria is close to joining BRICS,” Tebboune told reporters.
The North African country applied to join the group comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa in November, months after Iran and Argentina did the same. The move was hailed by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov.
The informal bloc was formed in 2009 to enhance cooperation between the nations and elaborate common approaches to global economic challenges. BRICS members account for nearly 30 percent of the global gross output and around 40 percent of the global population.
Other nations interested in becoming part of the club include Saudi Arabia, Turkiye and Egypt.
Last year, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that the process of BRICS expansion would demonstrate the bloc’s openness and inclusiveness, meet the expectations of developing countries, increase their representation and voice in global governance, and contribute more to international peace and development.
Algeria is a major producer of natural gas and the biggest exporter of fuel in the region. During his speech on Thursday, the Algerian president said the country is currently pushing to double its natural gas exports to reach 100 billion cubic meters per year.
Tebboune also offered to ship Algeria’s spare electricity capacity to the EU and said the nation is planning a 270km undersea pipe towards Italy.
The EU has been eyeing Algerian gas as a cheaper alternative to Russian energy sources as the region faces a major energy crisis.
The North African country recently signed an implementation plan with Beijing to join the ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and also doubled its defense budget for next year, making it the largest in Africa.