As Algeria continues to battle with rising youth unemployment, the country’s president has announced that jobless citizens will be receiving unemployment benefits.
President Abdelmadjid Tebboune said this will commence in March and will cover people who are 19 years old to 40 years old.
According to the BBC, people eligible for the payments will get about $100 (£73) a month, as well as some medical benefits, until they find work. The payments will be made “to preserve the dignity of young people.”
He said there were more than 600,000 unemployed in Algeria, adding that Algeria is the first country outside of Europe to roll out this policy.
Algeria, Africa’s biggest gas exporter, earns some 90 percent of its state revenues from hydrocarbons.
Last year, africanews reported that Algeria was facing an economic crisis due to falling gas and oil prices which has been aggravated by the pandemic. The country’s economic woes further led to a series of strike actions.
In February 2020, the country released over 3,000 prisoners in President Tebboune’s attempts to restore some confidence in his administration after months of political unrest. According to Tebboune, a constitutional amendments referendum was also in the pipeline. He said at the time that he intends to have the public decide on the scope of the parliament’s roles.
The president was during this period being opposed by a movement of protesters who said they preferred a radical change in the establishment.
They were protesting every Friday, with the protests having their origins from the time when former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced that he would run for a fifth term. Bouteflika had been president for four terms since 1999 but he was forced to abandon plans on a fifth term after nationwide protests took the fiercest turn.
Following his resignation in April 2019, protesters went further calling for a revolution.
President Tebboune was a loyalist of Bouteflika. He was also a civil servant who rose through the ranks to become a prime minister.