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Algeria announces measures to spur rural development
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19:47, May 28, 2008

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Algeria's Governing Council, the top decision-making body, has discussed and adopted a series of measures and mechanism aimed at bringing about social-economic renewal in the country's rural areas, the official Algerian News Agency (APS) has reported.

The policy document was prepared and presented by Deputy Rural Development Minister Rachid Benaissa, according to the government-run agency.

Speaking at a press briefing, Benaissa said that the policy on rural renewal, which is being implemented by the government between 2007 and 2013, includes "the upgrading of the rural world through the adoption of integrated programs with the involvement of several sectors and ministries."

This program aimed at exploiting natural resources, especially farmland and woodland, the coastline and mountains, modernizing villages and rural settlements in order to improve the standard of living, said the minister, who reaffirmed the government's commitment to improving the living conditions of the rural masses.

"Out of the planned 4,729 local and rural projects, 933 had been implemented by May 2008," said Benaissa, adding that the program which takes a particular interest in promoting local economic activities such as trade and rural tourism, also "enhances local products and use of renewable energies."

About 90 percent of the total surface of Algeria is made up of rural areas populated by some 14 million inhabitants, "of which 70percent are below the age of 30," said Benaissa, noting that there are 942 rural municipalities across the North African country.

Weary of the long-term sustainability of a growing dependence on the hydrocarbon sector, which currently accounts for over 90 percent of Algeria's revenues, the government has in recent days moved to diversify the economy by launching a number of programs targeting at sectors such as tourism and agriculture.

Source: Xinhua

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