• “With Select Maghreb, we promote the active and positive Diasporas” – Djamila Zeroual, Chairperson.

“With Select Maghreb, we promote the active and positive Diasporas” – Djamila Zeroual, Chairperson.

Select Maghreb, a federation network of the Diasporas founded in 2011, will host the 4th “Algerians of France” Forum in Paris on March 10. With more than 36 events organized for 3,500 participants and nearly 110 supported initiatives, the network promotes the role of the Algerian Diaspora through the voice of the Chairperson Djamila Zeroual. Interview by ANA.

How does the Diaspora perceive Algeria today?

The Algerians of France love Algeria, it is in their DNA and they are constantly in search for recognition of their original mothers. But there have always been difficulties to organize themselves in the Diaspora: each one did it on his/her side and at the end, there were little structuring, few events … with more games of ego than opportunities to meet. The Diaspora has therefore lost a lot of time but we must remain confident – and not forget to give visibility to the new generations who are now organizing themselves with the new digital tools.

Precisely, how to encourage this generation to invest in Algeria?

Many talents of the Diaspora have the desire to establish in Algeria, however they face many hurdles. Algeria must provide more incentives such as the creation of a bank for the Diaspora, the creation of a low-cost air transport sector, the abolition of the system of equivalence of foreign diplomas held by students of the Diaspora … There is also the increasing ceiling of capital repatriation.

To which extent is capital repatriation considered as a hurdle?

Today, only expatriates (except for those with Algerian background) can repatriate 90% of their income from Algeria. This is not the case for the Diaspora who are often compelled to pay fees abroad (mortgage, taxes, etc. …). But a structure must be set up in each embassy specially dedicated to the development of the Diaspora’s talents and skills; cultural initiatives must be reinforced, Arabic and Amazigh language learning developed and a single window created in the consulates to facilitate the procedures for the nationals … to dream of Algeria again.

How then do you help carry this dream?

First of all, the pride of being an Algerian goes beyond the flag the Diaspora brandishes at every football match … This is what we are working on with our “Algerians of France” event, which aims to bring together the Talents of the Diaspora and make them known at the grassroots level through our round tables and our networking. We seek to highlight atypical careers and raise the ambition of future talent.

And for those young talents who would like to join you, what’s your recommendation?

We must keep our course towards success for everyone, but have ambition for everyone. That is why all our partners are selected not only for their special career but also for a common passion to share their knowledge, experience and convey messages of hope around common values. More concretely, we support the Diaspora through a cycle of events and have already supported 109 initiatives between the two continents. Our next “Algerians of France” forum, on March 10, will be an opportunity to develop them, because, even today, we too rarely have the opportunity to hear them.


 

Author: ANA // Photo: Djamila Zeroual, founder of Select Maghreb © Djamila Zeroual

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