Algeria

The tragic events in Algeria this week are of course being widely reported across the world’s media.  It’s not the role of Investing in Development to comment on the broad security imperatives, although it’s worth briefly considering a few factors even this soon after the violence.

First, the Algerian security forces go in hard and the government has a policy of not negotiating with attackers.  In addition, in this case it seems that the attackers were ready to blow the plant up and in that event no nation would wait about to see what happened next.  Already, media outlets and politicians are muting criticism of the Algerians.

Second, it may be that the Algerians might, in addition to taking on more assistance from developed nations, allow oil and gas operators to make greater use of armed guards from private security companies.

Third, the UK government might now reasonably look at whether we need to revolutionise how we spend development aid.  It’s seems clear that funding NGOs to do good works has value; but it’s equally clear that helping security and economic development in countries like Algeria requires a new mindset.  We’ll be contributing to that debate in the UK parliament and elsewhere in the coming months.