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Algeria-China express common willingness to strengthen cooperation in training, research and innovation

August 5, 2022

ALGIERS- The Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Abdelbaki Benziane, and the Chinese Ambassador to Algiers, LI Jian, expressed their common readiness to review the programs for university exchanges, scholarships and mobility of researchers at the service of cooperation based on training, research and innovation projects between the two friendly countries, said a press release from the ministry on Thursday.

Mr. Benziane, while receiving the Chinese ambassador, specified that “cooperation will be further strengthened through joint training, research and innovation projects in priority areas for the government and the sector, namely food security, energy security, health security, artificial intelligence, mathematics and their applications in various fields”.

During the meeting, both officials “exchanged their positive experiences and practices, particularly with regard to the employment of university graduates, methods of governance and the modernization of the university.”

For his part, the Chinese ambassador expressed his country’s willingness to “intensify the teaching of the Chinese language in Algerian educational establishments”, stressing that the approach had been accepted by the minister, especially since ” pilot Algerian universities have already tried the experiment”.

Regarding the Algerian-Chinese joint commission, the two parties indicated that it will be marked by “the establishment of new cooperation mechanisms adapted to the developments underway in the two countries, the reformulation of the framework agreement and the legal regulations governing cooperative relations and academic exchanges in accordance with the aspirations of both parties”.

The meeting constituted an opportunity for the minister to explain the sector’s “new vision” in terms of university cooperation which is based on a “constructive partnership” promoting twinning through the conclusion of mutually beneficial agreements.

Algeria and China have traditionally strong relations, celebrating the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations in 2018. The bilateral cooperation between both countries in various fields has stood the test of time and has shown a strong momentum for further growth.

China and Algeria have all along offered mutual sympathy, enjoyed mutual understanding and supported each other.

In the 1950s, China, to the best of its ability, provided political, economic and military support for Algeria’s liberation struggle against colonial rule, when China itself was experiencing a difficult time for its development.

Shortly after the Algerian interim government was formed in September 1958, China immediately recognized it, becoming the first non-Arab country to grant diplomatic recognition to the government. Later on, China and the North African country established full diplomatic ties on Dec. 20 that year.

Soon after Algeria declared independence, China dispatched a medical team to Algeria in April 1963. The medical team was also the first one China had sent to an African country. Since then, China has sent a total of 21 batches of medical staff to Algeria, numbering more than 2,800 Chinese medical personnel.

The local people were impressed by the professional dedication on the part of the Chinese doctors who have made their due contributions to Algeria’s healthcare development.

In May 2003, a strong earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale hit northern Algeria, causing heavy casualties and property losses. China, shortly after the disaster, dispatched a rescue team to Algeria, the first one China had ever sent overseas.

Algeria, in the early 1970s, played an important role in the efforts to restore China’s legitimate seat in the United Nations, as a major co-sponsor country for the draft resolution calling for the restoration of all China’s legitimate rights in the world body.

For a long period of time, there have been frequent exchanges of visits between the two countries’ top leaders, who have maintained close contact with each other.

At the invitation of his Algerian counterpart, the late Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Chinese President Hu Jintao paid a state visit to Algeria in February 2004, during which the two leaders exchanged views on bilateral ties and regional and international issues of common concern, signed several accords on boosting bilateral cooperation and announced the establishment of the China-Algeria strategic cooperation.

In November 2006, the late Bouteflika paid a state visit to China and attended the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. The two presidents signed a communique on promoting the strategic cooperative ties.

The good political ties between the two countries have given a strong impetus to bilateral exchanges and cooperation in economy and trade and other fields.

According to the statistics provided by China’s Commerce Ministry, bilateral trade reached 3.828 billion U.S. dollars in 2007, up 83 percent from 2006. China’s exports to Algeria rose to 2.688 billion dollars, while its imports from that country hit 1.140 billion dollars.

During 2020, China had a large net trade with Algeria in the exports of Machines ($1.83B), Textiles ($924M), and Metals ($814M). During 2020, Algeria had a large net trade with China in the exports of Mineral Products ($869M), Textiles ($13.5M), and Metals ($3.57M).

There are several large Chinese enterprises which are currently expanding business in Algeria, ranging from road and housing construction, telecommunications and energy, to water resources and transportation.

In 2014, the Sino-Algerian bilateral relationship was elevated to a “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership,” the first of its kind in the Sino-Arab world. Chinese top political advisor, Yu Zhengsheng, stated the goals of this partnership were to “enhance exchanges at all levels, cement political mutual trust and promote pragmatic cooperation” between the two nations. In 2018, Chinese President Xi Jinping echoed similar rhetoric, pledging to help promote further development of the partnership and continue the trend towards closer diplomatic ties.

The Sheraton Hotel, built by a Chinese company, is now a major landmark in the capital city, while the expressway under construction that will link Algeria’s east and west will also become a key strategic artery for the North African countries and the littoral states of the Mediterranean Sea.

In 2019, and after seven years of construction and over $1 billion in expenses, chine finalized the Great Mosque of Algiers. The Great Mosque of Algiers, or Djamaa El Djazair, sits on an area of 400,000 square meters and has a 265 meter (870 feet) minaret that houses observation decks. The compound’s domed sanctuary and outside courtyard overlooking the Bay of Algiers can house up to 120,000 worshippers and has an underground parking space with a capacity of 7,000 cars.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Algeria sent urgent medical aid to Beijing in February 2020. In March 2020, China started to deliver tons of medical equipment to Algeria including respirators, medical protective clothes and screening kits.

In September 2021, Algeria started the production of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine in cooperation with China.