French car manufacturer Renault inaugurated a car assembly plant in Oued Tlelat near Oran on 10 November.

The €50m ($62.4m) plant will produce 25,000 Renault symbol cars a year. A second phase, which would increase capacity to 75,000 vehicles a year by 2019, is under consideration. It would include closer integration of local suppliers as well as body and paint shops.

There is the long-term possibility of an expansion to 150,000 cars a year, with an additional €800m of investment.

The plant, a first for Algeria, is 51 per cent state-owned in accordance with foreign investment laws. Renault owns the other 49 per cent.

Algeria is an important market for Renault, where it sold about 400,000 cars in 2013. Its market share in 2014 is more than 25 per cent, making it the largest car brand in the country, while its European sales are declining.

Renault has hired 350 local workers and signed an agreement with three Algerian universities to provide scholarships and training to local students. Algeria is seeking to develop its automotive industry from this base to reduce imports, diversify its economy and tackle its high unemployment rates. Unemployment stood at 10 per cent in 2012, concentrated among 15-24-year-olds.

Renault opened a plant in Tangiers in Morocco in 2012, with an initial capacity of 170,000 vehicles a year.