The last few months have marked a turning point in relations between Italy and Algeria.   

Mario Draghi in Algiers
Mario Draghi in Algiers

Italy and the North African giant share a historical friendship that started whit Italy’s support for Algerian independence and consolidated over the years, thanks above all to the importance of Algeria for Italy’s energy security and its role as Italy’s first commercial partner in the MENA area.  

However, over the last year and a half, Algeria has taken a decidedly more central position in Italian foreign policy.  

First, as we explained in another article, Algeria has become the pivot of PM Draghi’s strategy to reduce Italy’s dependence on Russian gas. During the Prime Minister’s visit to Algiers on April 11, the counterparts signed an agreement that transformed the North African country in Italy’s first gas supplier. The two countries also expressed their willingness to work together on issues such as the energy transition and the development of renewable energies, with a specific focus on green hydrogen.  

A solar panels field in Algeria
A solar panels field

Diplomatic exchanges, however, did not focus exclusively on the issue of energy. In fact, the two partners increased cultural cooperation, as demonstrated by the significant Italian presence at the International Book Fair in Algiers. They also strengthened industrial ties in sectors such as manufacturing and agri-food. Algeria sees Italy as an economic model for its own SMEs, and it hopes to increase cooperation in areas such as shipbuilding, the pharmaceutical industry, information and telecommunications technologies, and the restoration of historic buildings.  

Finally, bilateral trade has also grown. As Italian magazine Africa e Affari reports, bilateral trade reached a total value of 8.5 billion dollars in 2021, a sharp increase compared to 2020 (6 billion dollars). Italy is Algeria’s third trade partner (in fact, it is its first customer and third supplier).  

President Mattarella in Algeria
President Mattarella visiting Algiers

In 2021, Algerian exports to Italy (including oil and gas) amounted to $6.24 billion, while imports from Italy (mainly machinery, refined petroleum products, chemicals, and steel products) reached $2.26 billion.  

The recent visit of Algerian President Tebboune to Italy, which took place in May, after a period of intense diplomatic contact that included President Mattarella‘s visit to Algiers in November, once again ephasized the positive momentum in bilateral relations.