Private property is guaranteed by law. Citizens have the right to acquire property, although zoning regulations can limit land use. The state respects individual rights, unless the title is ambiguous or land is wrongfully expropriated. However, as institutions are not free from corruption and political manipulation, individual rights are sometimes adversely affected. Also, purchase of land by foreign entities has been limited to avoid speculation. Legislation in 2009 made the transfer of land to foreign investors only possible through 33-year concessions, which can be renewed twice. Foreign companies have complained about difficulties in registering property. According to the World Bank Doing Business Report 2012, it takes 63 days and 10 procedures to register a property in Algeria (higher than the BTI country selection average of 51 days and 6 procedures).
The government is promoting the protection of intellectual property rights but counterfeit remains rampant and progress is slow. This is a concern for Algeria’s membership to the WTO.
The Algerian state encourages the private sector and has taken measures to encourage investment from domestic and foreign sources. At the same time, privatization of state companies has been delayed and the government still appears ambivalent about the process. With a prevalence of small and medium sized enterprises (SME), the private sector suffers from structural weaknesses, including difficult access to financing, lack of technical equipment and knowledge, and shortcomings in vocational training. Structural handicaps, combined with the large quantity of investment volumes handled by the state, result in slow private sector development, despite massive public investment. A national program and a number of international programs (two financed by the European Union) have been set up to support Algerian SME development. Persisting barriers include the weakness of intellectual property protection and the strong presence of the informal sector, which is beyond the reach of state regulation. According to the World Bank Doing Business Report 2012, it takes 25 days and 14 procedures to register a business in Algeria (less than the average of 27 days, but more than the average of seven procedures).