Algeria flag Algeria: Business Environment

Business Practices in Algeria

Opening hours and bank holidays

General Information
Commisceo Global, Algerian business culture as per Commisceo Global
Opening Hours and Days
In Algeria, typical working hours are from 9am to 5pm. The working week typically runs from Sunday to Thursday and the weekend is on Friday and Saturday.
During Ramadan, the pace is slowed and hours are modified (9am to 3pm in general).

Public Holidays

New Year's Day 1 January
Eid al-Fitr, end of Ramadan
Eid al-Adha, feast of the sacrifice, Ashoura, Muslim New Year, Mouloud, birth of the Prophet
Religious feasts do not follow the Gregorian calendar, but rather the Hegirian calendar (based on the lunar cycles). As dates are therefore variable from one year to the next, use the following page of the IMCE (Institute of Celestial Mechanics and Calculation of Ephemerides) website, for an exact calculation of the religious feasts.
Labor Day 1 May
Coup d'Etat against Ben Bella 19 June
National Day 5 July
Anniversary of the Revolution 1 November

Periods When Companies Usually Close

Aïd al-Fitr The two days following the end of the month of Ramadan.
Aïd al-Adha 2 days, about two months after Aïd El Fitr
Ramadan It is difficult to contact Algerian companies in August and during Ramadan.

Business culture

The Fundamental Principles of Business Culture
In Algeria, courtesy, mutual confidence and respect are fundamental principles guiding business relations. Honour is a foundation block of Algerian society and the highest importance is given to preserving ones honour and reputation.
Social rank is important in Algerian society and this respect for hierarchy is also appearing in business context. The decision making process is vertically hierarchical, and anticipating a discussion may be seen as a defiance of authority.
Algerian society is relationship driven, hence personal relationships and networks are essential. It is important to invest time building trust and rapport, and to accept any prospective business partners’ invitation to have lunch or dinner at their home. Algerians like to keep business separate from pleasure, so it may take some time before you are invited.
First Contact
It is better to be recommended by someone who personally knows your prospective business partner. Appointments should be made at least two or three weeks ahead of time and confirmed one or two days before.
Business communications are centred more around phone conversations and fax than email and texting. You should avoid scheduling meetings in July and August, as these are periods when people often take their holidays.
Moreover, the month of Ramadan is not a good time for business meetings. Keep in mind that Fridays are a Muslim holiday.
Time Management
Punctuality is a valued quality but is not essential. Deadlines and schedules are viewed as goals that can and should change rather than rigid targets.
Greetings and Titles
When meeting someone for the first time, give a hand shake and maintain eye contact and an appropriate distance. Algerians do not leave much personal space between each other during conversations. In the presence of a woman, the best is to nod (with a smile) and wait for her to hold out her hand for you to shake. You should avoid prolonging eye contact and asking personal questions. Men may sometimes refuse to shake hand with foreign women as a sign of respect. The use of titles is important due to the hierarchical nature of Algerian society. When introduced to interlocutors, try to call them by their honorific, professional, or academic title and their surname. Common titles are "doctor", "professor", and "lawyer" in English or "docteur", "professeur", and "avocat" in French. Some religious scholars may be called "Sheikh". If you do not know your interlocutor’s title, address him by his name preceded by “Mrs” or “Mr”.
In addition to the handshake one is obliged to ask about family, work, the house, the weather, etc.
Gift Policy
Gift giving is a part of Algerian culture that is used to cement relationships. The gesture of giving is more important than the gift. You should give gifts with your right hand or both hands. They are not usually opened when received.
Dress Code
For the first meeting, it is preferable to adopt a rather conservative dress code, such as a suit and tie for men and a suit for women. Then, one may adapt to the dress code of the interlocutors, while keeping to classic styles. In summer (a period when it is often very hot), men may wear a short-sleeved shirt. Women must have at least the arms and legs covered. It is not uncommon to find oneself being judged on appearance.
Business Cards
Business cards are exchanged at the beginning of the first meeting without any formal ritual. You should always use the right hand to give and receive them. It is better to have them translated into French or Arabic. To help attract attention, they should incorporate graphics and colour codes of Arabic culture. Algerian businessmen often work in several companies and can therefore provide different visiting cards.
Meetings Management
During meetings, it is customary to spend a lot of time exchanging courtesies and engaging in small talk. You should wait for your interlocutor to initiate the business discussion.

PowerPoint presentations are not essential in Algeria. It is thus very important for you to be ready for an interactive and lively discussion. Negotiations can be long, thus patience is a real asset.

It is important to maintain eye contact with the interlocutor, in order show your consideration. You should ensure that your body language and the manner in which you speak and are always respectful, polite and formal. It is preferable not to contradict someone in public, to raise your voice nor to be too direct. As Algerians are often concerned about not losing face and preserving their honour and their interlocutor’s, you should be careful about your interlocutor’s unspoken thoughts. In general, Algerians have an open-door policy, thus appointments and meetings are often interrupted by visitors. You should wait for the person to leave before trying to bring the topic back to the original discussion.

Business appointments or meetings are normally held within the confines of the office. It is rare to hold them in restaurants or bars.

Sources for Further Information
Algerian business culture as per Commisceo Global Career Addict

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Latest Update: July 2024