The external context of the Algerian transition
in The international dimension of the failed Algerian transition
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This chapter describes the external environment with which Algeria had to contend before, during and after its problematic transition to democracy. In Algeria, the timing of the process of liberalisation coincided with a significant internationally-driven crisis of its rentier state model. After independence, following the policy advice of France's economists, Algeria chose a socialist model of development built around three fundamental priorities: the priority of accumulation of capital over consumption, the priority of industrialisation over agriculture, and the priority of developing capital equipment over consumer goods. The smooth running of the Algerian economy was, and still is, strictly linked to the revenues in foreign currency that the regime can earn through the export of oil and gas. There is a strong link between the internationally driven crisis and the tentative liberal economic reforms initiated in the mid-1980s. The programme of economic reforms and the stance of Western countries towards these reforms are also important elements to analyse in order to understand how the process of democratisation determined the strategies and choices of the different domestic actors.


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