Algeria

Cultural and creative industries

Creative industries in Algeria are, on the one hand, very young: this is especially the case for professional creative services — namely communication, advertising, interior design architecture and construction — and cultural transmedia — audiovisual, publishing, music and videogames —with the latter still being dominated by state actors. On the other hand, Algeria has a long and very rich tradition of handicrafts, albeit very fragmented and highly informal.

Few associations or other forms of formal collaborative action exist in creative industries and cluster initiatives have been formalized until now. A few support and auxiliary agents exist (such as universities and training centres, funds, support centres, etc.), although often with limited personnel capacities and limited outreach.

 

Existing cluster framework and cluster programmes

Algeria has yet to develop a national cluster policy, but during recent years it has been gathering some experience in cluster development. In 2007-2008, the Ministry of SMEs and Handicrafts (now known as Ministry of Tourism and Handicrafts) set up 21 local productive systems (Systèmes de production locale) to promote the local development of strategic economic segments — at the moment only a few remain active and mostly have administrative functions. Since 2010-2011, and based on this experience, the Ministry of Industry and Mines and the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) have promoted pilot clusters in ship building/reparation, food industries and transport/logistics. Together with the French car manufacturer Renault, the Ministry has also encouraged other potential automotive clusters in Constantine, Rouiba and Ouled Tlélat. A EU-funded programme to diversify the Algerian economy, known as Programme d’Appui à la Diversification de l’Economie en Algérie, also provides support to agro-processing clusters. There are few “spontaneous” clusters that have not yet been formalized, such as the food industry cluster in Taharacht and the white goods cluster in Bordj Bou Arréridj.

In terms of cultural and creative industries, none of the identified potential clusters has been formalized; 15 out of 17 are handicraft clusters formed mostly by artisans and a limited number of SMEs. The two exceptions are the advertising and the publishing sectors, both in Algiers. GIZ is developing a cluster initiative for the production of carpets in Ghardaïa but it has not yet led to the formalization of the cluster.

 

Potential clusters in cultural and creative industries

Potential clusters in CCIs are to be found in the handicraft sector, which has been suffering from a discontinuation of state engagement especially related to the sourcing and commercialization of raw material. Despite this loss of support and despite the growing concurrence of more competitive, imported products, several poles of handicraft have been able to persist in carpet, jewellery, ceramics/pottery and traditional clothing. Geographically, a high density of artisans can be found in the central regions of Algiers and Kabylia as well as in the region of Ghardaïa.

The identified clusters are:

  • Advertising in Algiers
  • Berber jewellery in Tizi Ouzou
  • Brassworks in Constantine
  • Carpets and other home textiles in Laghwat
  • Carpets in Ghardaïa
  • Carpets in Khenchela
  • Carpets in Tizi Ouzou
  • Gold and silver jewellery in Batna
  • High-end ceramics in Algiers
  • Leather accessories in Jijel
  • Pottery in Kabylia
  • Publishing in Algiers
  • Traditional clothing (camel hair) in Djelfa
  • Traditional textile in Algiers
  • Traditional textile in Constantine
  • Traditional textile in Tlemcen/Oran
  • Tuareg jewellery in the “Grand Sud”

 

 

Other economic realities in cultural and creative industries

Other economic realities have also been identified:

  • Fine arts in Algiers: a concentration of fine arts exists in Algiers but it lacks important parts of the value chain as, for example, very few art galleries and agents exist
  • Heritage management in Algiers: associations that are preserving the heritage exist, especially around the old city centre of the “Casbah”, but the concentration of enterprises is too low
  • Heritage management in Oran: the historic neighbourhood of Sidi El Houari is also trying to develop with the help of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) but lacks the volume of enterprises
  • Music in Algiers: there is a concentration of artists but a lack of studios, private agents and event agencies. Activities are generally organized by state actors with little private sector participation
  • Architecture in Algiers: Algiers is home to many architects but there is no cluster as many steps in the value chain are missing, including training and support institutions
  • Concentration of traditional handicrafts in the Kabylia region: the areas around Tizi Ouzou, Bejaïa, and Jijel are home to concentrations in the jewellery, pottery, carpets and leather sectors; however, a lack of critical mass and limited coverage of the value chain have prevented wood works and basketry from qualifying as clusters

 

Other realities were detected but they lack the critical mass to be considered as clusters:

  • Traditional pottery production in Tlemcen
  • Traditional pottery production in Adrar (black pottery)
  • Leather production in the Medea region
  • Pottery production in the Jijel region
  • Basketry production in the oasis region of Biskra, Ouargla, El Oued, and Touggourt

 

 

The two selected clusters

Jewellery cluster in Batna:

  • Sector: jewellery in the region of Batna
  • Strengths: the product offered by the jewellers in Batna is recognized and appreciated, especially since it integrates the Algerian craft heritage and is strongly linked to this region. The critical mass of indicators that have been facilitated reported a consolidated economic reality, with the presence of many players, a strong value chain and generating a very important turnover. The development potential seems important, especially reinforced by organizational and structural references (an important group of actors) and by a craft tradition that brings credibility to the products manufactured by cluster companies
  • Weaknesses: export capacities are currently limited. Moreover, gold-made jewels production is increasing and is impacting heritage-related products made from silver. Finally, the environmental impact is not being addressed and the related social elements are too lightly touched upon 

 

Copperware cluster in Constantine

  • Sector: copperware in Constantine
  • Strengths: the link between copperware and Constantine is very strong, dating back to the Middle Ages: the products offered thus benefits from local knowledge and a very good reputation. The critical mass of players on the cluster is interesting for this segment. The potential for development is also important for the products that are concerned but also for the structure of the sector that is involved. The strategic plan presented is clear even if brief
  • Weaknesses: the vision presented is more focused on the strategic thinking process than on prior proposals. Beyond this limit, steps and proposals remain balanced. The environmental aspect is not addressed in the responses that are facilitated. Finally, cluster firms do not export so far

 

 

For more information, please contact:

Ms. Rebekka Hilz
National Project Coordinator
r.hilz@ahk-algerie.org

 

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