Algeria’s digital government: Making (slow) progress but more can be done

Published on January 12, 2023

Algeria is the largest country in Africa by area, with a population of more than 44 million people.

While the government has put an emphasis on digitalization with heavy investment in the ICT sector, the progress has been slow.

Algeria’s ICT sector is continuously evolving but it has problems

The ICT sector serves as the pillar of the country’s digital transformation program.

From 2010 to 2019, the government invested nearly $4 billion in its ICT infrastructure; from 2015 to 2019, total ICT equipment imports counted for $22 billion.

The telecommunications and information technology segments dominate this sector.

Its infrastructure primarily relies on 3G-4G LTE for mobile telecommunications and ADSL and fiber for fixed telecommunications.

Mobile adoption rates are high, with the number of mobile connections at the start of 2022 going up to 47 million, according to data from GSMA Intelligence.

Note that many people use more than one mobile connection, so it’s not unusual for mobile connection figures to significantly exceed figures for the total population.

Note that many people use more than one mobile connection, so it’s not unusual for mobile connection figures to significantly exceed figures for the total population.

Despite this significant progress in ICT infrastructure development over the last decade, Algeria lags behind other African countries.

Algeria’s internet penetration rate stood at 61% of the total population at the start of 2022.

According to Kepios’s analysis, internet users in Algeria increased by 7.3 % between 2021 and 2022.

However, there are 17.70 million people in Algeria who did not use the internet at the start of 2022.

 Digital ID, online transactions and EGDI index

Algeria’s Digital ID was launched in 2016, enabling public institutions to onboard customers efficiently.

The biometric identity card included a national ID number for each citizen and encouraged the modernization of government services across the country.

On the other hand, while mobile broadband connectivity in Algeria is above the MENA average, the use of mobile money is very low.

According to a 2021 World Bank report, only 16% of Algerian adults and 11% of women used digital payments.

For comparison purposes, the average in the MENA region is 23% of adults and 18%.

However, according to the EGDI report, Algeria ranks 112th in the world and 9th in Africa, improving its position by 8 places in two years.

It is among the countries with high EGDI with an E-Government Development Index of 0.5611.

Final remarks

For a developing country like Algeria, productive participation in the digital economy represents a complex challenge.

Without proper institutional support, policies, and strategies, pursuing digital economic integration can lead to job losses and increased inequality.

In Algeria, ICT has the potential to provide new solutions to development challenges.

This segment is well organized, with specialized distributors and nationwide distribution channels that provide services, products, and solutions.

Despite this, more governmental guidance and support is needed to help mitigate the risks.

Further modernization of this sector and the country’s digital transformation will require substantial IT investments.

Furthermore, while legislation is not a problem, partial executions of the newly adopted regulations and the lack of accountability and clear vision hamper the development of a real digital government.


About the Author

Mohammad J Sear is focused on bringing purpose to digital in government.

He has obtained his leadership training from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, USA and holds an MBA from the University of Leicester, UK.

After a successful 12+ years career in the UK government during the premiership of three Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher, John Major and Tony Blair, Mohammad moved to the private sector and has now for 20+ years been advising government organizations in the UK, Middle East, Australasia and South Asia on strategic challenges and digital transformation.

He is currently working for Ernst & Young (EY) and leading the Digital Government practice efforts across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and is also a Digital Government and Innovation lecturer at the Paris School of International Affairs, Sciences Po, France.

As a thought-leader some of the articles he has authored include: “Digital is great but exclusion isn’t – make data work for driving better digital inclusion” published in Harvard Business Review, “Holistic Digital Government” published in the MIT Technology Review, “Want To Make Citizens Happy – Put Experience First” published in Forbes Middle East.

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