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H. E. Mrs. Latifa Benazza: Your experience in agriculture is particularly helpful for Algeria

There is a significant potential for cooperation between the two countries

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Photo: ambalg-sofia.org

Even though their capitals, Sofia and Algiers, are more than 1,800 kms. apart, the two countries have maintained diplomatic relations for many years. Their beginnings were laid in 1962 when Algeria won the 8-year long war for its independence from France. The Bulgarian embassy in Algeria has existed since 1963. In the time from 1963 until 1989 more than 7,000 highly-qualified Bulgarians have worked in Algeria – doctors, agronomists, engineers, builders etc. They have helped construct roads, buildings, dams there.

“When I came to Bulgaria six years ago it was a real pleasure for me to find some of the people I had worked with in Algeria, or their children who had studied there at the time. With these Bulgarian friends of ours, a Bulgaria-Algeria friendship association was founded in 1994,” explains Algerian Ambassador to Bulgaria H. E. Mrs. Latifa Benazza in an interview for Radio Bulgaria. “Together with this association we are continuing our efforts to popularize the history and culture of Algeria by organizing numerous initiatives in different parts of Bulgaria. It is very helpful for Algerians who want to find out more about Bulgaria.”

Until 1999 there existed a direct flight between the capitals of the two countries, a testimony of the extensive cooperation existing between them.

“To operate such a flight it has to be cost-effective,” Mrs. Latifa Benazza says. “First, we need to develop the economic ties so there may be interest in intensive exchange – economic and tourist. Before it was closed in 1999 the direct flight was very cost-effective. We recently restored the direct flight to and from Budapest, so I don’t see why we couldn’t do the same with Sofia at some point.”

The Algerian ambassador to Bulgaria believes there is a significant potential for exchange between the two countries:

“Indeed, there is great potential for developing and deepening cooperation. I would like to call attention to agriculture. Algeria is a vast country, while Bulgaria has valuable experience in this sphere. Several small projects are being implemented at the moment but it is our ambition to do something much bigger. Establishing joint processing plants for fruit and vegetables to be sold in Bulgaria, Algeria and other countries of Africa is a possibility. Projects such as this can be implemented in other spheres as well. Bulgaria is known for its oil-bearing roses and the products made out of them. They deserve to be widely known in Algeria and throughout Africa.”

Other spheres in which Algeria and Bulgaria could find common ground are the pharmaceutical industry, cosmetics, information technologies, the food industry and tourism. In most of these spheres agreements have already been signed which remain to be applied in practice.

The climate and terrain of Algeria make the country an excellent tourist destination. Nevertheless, it is not, as yet, among the most popular destinations with Bulgarian tourists. In the words of the Algerian ambassador, the tourists who choose Algeria as their holiday destination come from all over Europe though their numbers cannot reach the peak marked in 2019 of 8 million foreign tourists.

“We have the potential for different kinds of tourism. We would like to develop tourist complexes, together with Bulgaria, though not mass tourism,” Latifa Benazza says.

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