Despite its membership and founding role in the OAU, Algeria
remains a society much more closely affiliated with its Arab neighbors
and counterparts than with the African countries to the south.
In many countries, economic crisis and dependency on foreign aid
have diminished the prospects of liberation and movements and
hence also reduced the relevance of Algeria's liberation experience
for those nations. Algeria has, however, resolved its remaining
border conflicts with Mali, Niger, and Mauritania and generally
maintains harmonious relations with its southern counterparts.
Economic linkages remain fairly limited in the 1990s, constituting
less than 1 percent of Algeria's total trade balance, although
a new transnational highway running across the Sahara is expected
to increase trade with sub-Saharan Africa.
In the early postindependence years, Algeria committed itself
to the fight against colonialism and national suppression in sub-Saharan
Africa. Its commitment was reflected in its support for the revolutionary
movements in Zimbabwe, Guinea-Bissau, Angola, Mozambique, and
Namibia and in its condemnation of South Africa. Algeria has not
officially retreated from its earlier ideological affinity for
the revolutionary movements in Africa, but its role has become
that of mentor rather than revolutionary front-runner. As Algeria
has found its influence in the rest of Africa greatly reduced,
its economic interests, ideological affiliation, and identification
have fallen more in line with the Maghrib, the Mediterranean,
and the Middle East.
Algeria has consistently reaffirmed its commitment to the OAU,
although its interests in this regional organization have frequently
been motivated more by tactical considerations than ideological
affinity. Algeria has worked toward strengthening the structure
and mediating capacities of the OAU, largely hoping to use the
organization to further its own views on the issue of self-determination
for the Western Sahara.
Data as of December 1993