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About North Africa Risk Consulting

North Africa Risk Consulting Inc. is the political risk consultancy specializing exclusively in North Africa & the Sahara. NARCO helps firms navigate Maghreb markets. Ongoing events in North Africa and the Sahara have heightened the need to understand political circumstances, their trajectories and implications for the commercial environment. Learn more about North Africa Risk Consulting.

Another Friday demonstration. Another Tuesday student protest. An oligarch arrested. And another. A former prime minister arrested. And another. And another arrest. And another. A website blocked. And another. Another public statement from the president or Army Chief of Staff that muddies more than it clarifies. A self-pitying op-ed plumbing the depths of how far Algeria has sunk from the ideals of the Statement of 1 November 1954. And another. Woe unto Algeria.

Eid Mubarak! Rather than being the typically quiet Holy Month, North Africa was abuzz. Algerian demonstrators kept the pressure on the government, Libya’s civil war intensified, and Mauritania is making final elections preparations. On the hydrocarbons front, Mauritania is the most optimistic story, with Algeria facing a commercial crisis (entirely not of its own making), and Libya’s NOC is under acute threat.

Big political developments are happening on a near daily basis in Algeria. There was a holy trinity of arrests, including former head of intelligence Mohamed Mediene, his successor Athmane Tartag, and Said Bouteflika. That same evening, interim President Abdelkader Bensalah gave a speech insisting that the presidential election scheduled for 4 July 2019 will go forward. The high-profile arrests and the president’s insistence of sticking to the constitutionally mandated transition process despite ongoing Hirak demonstrations, all begs the question of where Algeria could go from here.

There is a lot going on in North Africa: Algeria is in the midst of a profound political transition, Libya is at war with itself, and Mauritania is preparing for the first democratic transition of presidential power in the country’s post-independence history. With the exception of the war in Libya, the security outlook is neutral. And with the exception of Mauritania, the hydrocarbons outlook is negative.