Algeria has outlined plans to spend an estimated $286bn on domestic development over the next five years as part of the new Presidential Plan.

The investment represents the country’s largest-ever national budget and an increase of $136bn from the 2005-2009 plan. The main areas of focus include human development, infrastructure and industry.

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika ratified the new plan on 10 July.

Central to the human development category is an estimated $51.2bn initiative to build 1.2 million homes. The allocation represents 18 per cent of the total five-year budget.

Algiers also plans to build 172 hospitals, 377 clinics, 70 schools for disabled children and 45 specialised facilities for the treatment of cancer, heart and kidney diseases.

To improve national infrastructure, plans are in place to build 35 dams, 25 water transfer systems and complete all unfinished desalination plants.

An additional $50bn has been earmarked for the transport sector. Algiers is planning to build 4,000 kilometres of motorways and increase the above-ground rail network from 500 to 3,500 kilometres. Additionally, 14 towns throughout the country are scheduled to receive underground tram systems.

The plan also allocates $13.4bn to double Algeria’s capacity for agricultural and industrial production. By 2014, the government hopes that new power plants and the modernisation of existing facilities will connect an additional 1.3 million homes to the country’s natural gas and electricity networks.

To meet its goals, Algiers is investing $2bn to create 5,000 new companies and 600 additional research offices. The entire initiative is expected to create around three million jobs by 2014.

The drive to invest in development comes despite growing protectionism in the country. In early-July, Amar Ghoul, Algeria’s public works minister, outlawed the use of foreign materials for public works projects (MEED 8:7:10).

After the ratification of the Presidential Plan 2010-2014, Ghoul once again urged the use of national companies and locally sourced materials.