TUNIS, AUGUST 28 - Algeria has decided to focus on research and will be building some 100 new centres over the coming months, which will add to the current 20 research centres nationwide. The decision was made not only to meet the needs of a country seeking to better prepare itself for future challenges, but also as a way to Algeria to free itself of its reputation for being a producer of natural resources and nothing else. Secondary school and university education has long been at the centre of government efforts across the nation, though the southern regions lament a geographical imbalance in funding and new initiatives.
This is an issue that the government has said it plans to resolve, most likely in reaction to protests predominantly by youth from the southern areas, who say - probably with good reason - that the lack of job opportunities causes their skills and preparation to go wasted to the benefit of coastal regions. The announcement of the new plan was made in Oran by Higher Education and Scientific Research Minister Rachid Harraoubia, and comes at a time when Algeria is seeking to enter the list of nations that ''invest'' and no longer be seen as one of those who simply use the results of research done elsewhere. Recent initiatives show this, especially in the infrastructure sector (e.g. research in vehicles running on non-conventional energy sources) and aeronautics (the production of a drone is at an advanced stage, with the first trial runs already conducted), in which the country is using its best minds and placing its faith in its young researchers. However, Algiers' ambitions are not limited to its internal resources since - as Harraoubia said himself - the country intends to call on what it has called 'Algerian competences living abroad' as well. The appeal is to the Algerian diaspora to consider contributing to the country's development. An initial effect of this new policy has already been seen, with the nomination of two Algerians living abroad as members of the scientific council of the research centres. (ANSAmed).