Transcript: Economic Development of the Maghreb | May 08, 1996

(rhythmic drumming plays)

Fast clips show local tribes in their daily activities, a straw village, traditional buildings, men wearing turbans, women wearing colourful dresses and a factory. A title in white letters reads “The Africa File.”

(flute music plays)
Ahmed Mestiri speaks French.

Ahmed says FOR TUNISIA, LIKE FOR
MOST OF ASIA AND AFRICA,
THE FIGHT FOR INDEPENDENCE
WAS ESSENTIALLY A STRUGGLE
FOR DIGNITY.
DIGNITY MEANT FREEDOM
FOR THE NATION.
DIGNITY FOR US,
AS PEOPLE.
HAVING GAINED INDEPENDENCE,
WE HAD TO BUILD A GOVERNMENT.

Ahmed sits on a balcony against a city on the background. He’s in his forties, clean-shaven with black hair. He’s wearing black-rimmed glasses, a white shirt and light trousers.

A caption appears on screen. It reads “Ahmed Mestiri. Ex-Ministre tunisien de la justice.”

Ahmed continues BUILD UP THE STATE.
BECAUSE THERE
WASN'T ANY STATE.
AND AT THE SAME TIME, WE HAD
TO ENSURE DEMOCRACY, WHICH
MEANT ALLOWING THE PEOPLE TO
BE MASTERS OF THEIR OWN FATE.

The caption changes to “Economic development of the Maghreb.”

The Narrator says AFTER HAVING REGAINED THEIR
DIGNITY THROUGH INDEPENDENCE,
THE THREE MAGHREB COUNTRIES,
TUNISIA, ALGERIA, AND MOROCCO,
MUST NOW FIGHT A SECOND BATTLE,
AGAINST UNDERDEVELOPMENT.

An aerial view shows a village that sits by a mountain.

The Narrator continues THEIR BATTLE IS GOING ON
EVERYWHERE BUT WITH DIFFERENT
MEANS AND DIFFERING DEGREES
OF LUCK AND DETERMINATION.
TOGETHER, THE THREE MAGHREB
COUNTRIES OF NORTH AFRICA HAVE
A TOTAL OUTPUT OF ABOUT 10
BILLION DOLLARS IN 1970 PRICES,
OR ABOUT ONE EIGHTH OF CANADA'S
GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT.
THIS PUTS NORTH AFRICA IN
THE SO-CALLED DEVELOPING
COUNTRIES CATEGORY.
DESPITE THE APPARENT
SIMILARITIES, ALGERIA FINDS
ITSELF BETTER OFF THAN
ITS TWO NEIGHBOURS.
AT 1970 PRICES, THE GROSS
NATIONAL PRODUCT PER PERSON
WAS SOMETHING ON THE ORDER
OF 300 DOLLARS IN ALGERIA,
250 DOLLARS IN TUNISIA, AND
ONLY 200 DOLLARS IN MOROCCO.

An animated map of Africa under the title “Produit National par Tete 1970” appears. A country highlighted in yellow reads “Algerie, 300 dollars,” another one highlighted in light brown reads “Tunisie, 250 dollars” and a last one highlighted in mustard reads “Maroc, 230 dollars.”

The Narrator continues THE THREE COUNTRIES ALSO
DISPLAY ALL THE OTHER
CHARACTERISTICS NORMALLY
ASSOCIATED WITH
THE THIRD WORLD --
A BOOMING BIRTHRATE, A
WORKFORCE HEAVILY CONCENTRATED
IN AN AGRICULTURE NOTED FOR
LOW PRODUCTIVITY AND ARCHAIC
TECHNIQUES, WIDESPREAD
ILLITERACY, AND HIGH
UNEMPLOYMENT RATES THAT ARE
MORE THAN DOUBLE OR TRIPLE
THE RATES PREVAILING IN
INDUSTRIALIZED COUNTRIES.

Several men wearing turbans and long robes sit one next to the other on the street.

Mohammed says FOR A LONG TIME, THE PEOPLE
OF NORTH AFRICA, ESPECIALLY
IN RURAL AREAS, BUT EVEN IN
THE CITIES, THOUGHT ABOUT
DEVELOPMENT IN A WAY THAT
CAN BE SUMMED UP AS FOLLOWS:
ON ONE HAND, MAN HAS LIMITED
POWERS AND ABILITIES.
LIMITED INTELLECTUALLY,
MATERIALLY, PHYSICALLY, ETC.
ON THE OTHER HAND, THERE ARE
ALL THE FORCES THAT SURROUND
HIM AND THAT SEEM TO
THREATEN HIM CONTINUALLY.
THE FORCES OF NATURE, LIKE THE
SUN, THE RAIN, WINDS, STORMS,
DISEASES, ETC. RELIGIOUS
FORCES, GODS, MAGIC,
EVIL SPIRITS, ETC.
FROM THIS CONTRAST BETWEEN
MAN'S LIMITED POWERS AND
THE SEEMINGLY UNCONTROLLABLE
GIGANTIC FORCES AROUND HIM,
PEOPLE DRAW ONE CONCLUSION.
MAN IS WEAK.
THIS TYPE OF THINKING IS THE
RESULT OF A SOCIETY WHERE
SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL
KNOWLEDGE IS VERY LIMITED AND
WHICH, DURING LONG PERIODS,
HADN'T SUFFICIENT CONTACTS
WITH THE OUTSIDE.

A man riding a donkey crosses a gate.

Mohammed continues BECAUSE IT IS THROUGH THE
FOREIGNER, THE OUTSIDER, THAT
YOU CAN KNOW YOURSELF BETTER
AND DISCOVER THE UNTRUTHS,
THE NON-TRUTHS, THE HALF
TRUTH THAT EACH SOCIETY
TEACHES ITS MEMBERS.
AND IT'S PRECISELY THESE
FACTORS THAT ARE CHANGING NOW.
AND IT'S A CHANGE THAT
GIVES BIRTH TO A COMPLETELY
DIFFERENT TYPE OF HUMAN BEING.

Mohammed sits in front of an interviewer. He’s in his forties with black hair. He’s wearing glasses and a dark jacket.

The caption changes to “Mohammed Guessous. Sociologue marocain.”

Mohammed continues ONE WITH MORE INITIATIVE,
WHO IS MORE AMBITIOUS,
MORE DEMANDING,
MUCH MORE RATIONAL,
MUCH LESS WILLING TO BE
SATISFIED WITH
THINGS AS THEY ARE.

(music plays)

The Narrator says OVER VAST AREAS, THE
OVERWORKED SOIL IS SUBJECTED
TO HEAVY EROSION.
THIS DEPRIVES IT OF THE
NATURAL MECHANISMS THAT
REGULATE THE WATER CYCLE.
IF IT RAINS, THERE IS FLOODING
AND SILTING, HENCE GREAT
FLUCTUATIONS IN THE HARVESTS.
IN THE AUTUMN OF 1969, FOR
EXAMPLE, TORRENTIAL RAINS
BATTED TUNISIA.
WATERS CARRIED OFF MILLIONS
OF TONS OF SAND THAT WERE
DEPOSITED ON CULTIVATED LAND,
DESTROYING BOTH HARVEST
AND SOIL.

The caption changes to “1. Tunisia.”

The Narrator continues THAT YEAR, WHEAT PRODUCTION
FELL BY A QUARTER.
BECAUSE OF IRREGULAR
RAINS AND A BURNING SUN,
CROPS MUST BE IRRIGATED.
BUT THIS MEANS
EQUIPMENT THAT IS COSTLY
AND NOT AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE.

A zoom-out view features a farmer working in a huge arid area.

Buteau and Lavoie stand in an open area. Buteau is in his fifties with receding brown hair and sideburns. He’s wearing a white cardigan over a blue shirt.

Buteau says WHAT HAPPENS IS THAT THE
FARMERS WHO HAVE LAND ON THE
BANKS OF THE RIVER HERE,
YOU DON'T EVEN HAVE TO BE
ALL THAT CLOSE.
BUT THEY ARE HESITANT ABOUT
INVESTING BECAUSE THEY DON'T
KNOW IF TOMORROW A FLOOD WILL
COME AND DESTROY THEIR LAND.

The caption changes to “G. Buteau and C. Lavoie. Experts canadiens en agriculture.”

Lavoie is in his thirties, with sideburns and brown wavy hair. He’s wearing a dark sweater over a blue shirt.

Lavoie says ONE OF THE PECULIAR FEATURES
OF THE REGION HERE IS THAT
UNDERGROUND POOLS OF WATER
ARE FED BY THE RIVER.
THE WATER COMES HERE, AND IT
FILTERS DOWN INTO THE SOIL,
MAKING A NATURAL RESERVOIR
THAT IS ABSOLUTELY IDEAL
BECAUSE THAT WAY, UNDERGROUND,
THERE'S NO EVAPORATION.
IT'S MUCH BETTER THAN CREATING
A RESERVOIR WITH A DAM
BECAUSE IN HOLDING THE WATER
FOR IRRIGATION WITH THE DAM,
THERE ARE HUGE LOSSES THROUGH
EVAPORATION DUE TO THE HEAT
OF THE SUN.

Buteau says IN THIS AREA OF CENTRAL
TUNISIA, WE REALLY NEED
IRRIGATION BECAUSE OF
THE LIMITED RAINFALL.
SOMETIMES, IT ONLY RAINS ONE
YEAR OUT OF THREE, SO PEOPLE
COULDN'T DO MUCH, AND THE
SITUATION GOT WORSE AND WORSE.

Local farmers collect crops.

Buteau continues THEN SOMEONE THOUGHT OF DIGGING
WELLS IN VARIOUS REGIONS.
TODAY, WITH THE WELLS,
THEY HAVE IRRIGATED CROPS,
IRRIGATED MARKET
GARDENS, SUMMER CROPS.
THEY GROW PEPPERS,
TOMATOES AND OTHER THINGS.
THEY GROW BEANS,
CARROTS, GARLIC, ONIONS,
A BIT OF EVERYTHING.

Ahmed says TUNISIA IS A COUNTRY
THAT LIVES, ABOVE ALL,
OFF OF AGRICULTURE.
WE FIRST HAVE TO
MODERNIZE OUR AGRICULTURE.
BUT, OBVIOUSLY, MODERNIZING
AGRICULTURE ISN'T ENOUGH
BY ITSELF.
WE NEED TO INDUSTRIALIZE.
NO COUNTRY HAS EVER DEVELOPED
WITHOUT INDUSTRIALIZATION.
YOU MUST BE ABLE TO ABSORB
THE ENORMOUS MASS OF PEOPLE
COMING INTO THE JOB
MARKET EVERY YEAR.
FOR TUNISIA, THE FIGURE
REACHES 50,000 TUNISIANS
WHO EACH YEAR ENTER
THE JOB MARKET.

Men work in a trench where a pump runs.

The Narrator says EMPLOYMENT IS AN ACUTE PROBLEM
IN THE MAGHREB COUNTRIES.
THE PEOPLE ARE YOUNG.
IN MOROCCO, FOR EXAMPLE,
70 PERCENT OF THE
POPULATION IS UNDER 21.
THIS MEANS THAT EVERY YEAR,
ENORMOUS WAVES OF YOUNG
WORKERS FLOOD THE MARKET AND
COMPETE WITH THEIR ELDERS
FOR A SHARE OF THE NEW JOBS.
INDUSTRIALIZATION
HAS TO BE RAPID,
AS IN THE
CASE OF ALGERIA.
FOR AT THE MOMENT, NEW JOBS
ARE TOO FEW TO MAKE A DENT
IN THE NUMBER OF UNEMPLOYED.
BUT EVEN INDUSTRIALIZATION
CREATES FEW JOBS,
AT LEAST IN
THE EARLY STAGES.
AND MANY OF THE MAGHREB'S
WORKERS MUST EMIGRATE.

Female and male employees work in a factory.

Ahmed says INDUSTRIALIZATION PRESUPPOSES
THAT YOU'VE GOT RESOURCES,
ENERGY, AND THE MARKET.
IT'S NOT EASY TO FIND ALL
THREE THINGS IN ONE PLACE.
PERHAPS, WHEN THE MAGHREB
UNITES, WE'LL BE ABLE TO HAVE
MORE AMBITIOUS GOALS.
HISTORY HAS SHOWN THAT
INDUSTRY NEEDS A LARGE MARKET.
SO FAR, THE THREE MAGHREB
COUNTRIES HAVE MADE LAUDABLE
EFFORTS TO COORDINATE
DEVELOPMENT PLANS AND
INDUSTRIALIZATION PLANS.
BUT THAT IS NOT ENOUGH.
WE MUST GET TO THE POINT
WHERE WE CAN HAVE INTEGRATED
INDUSTRIES SO THAT A FACTORY
BUILT IN ALGERIA COULD SELL
ITS PRODUCT IN MOROCCO, OR
TUNISIA, OR EVEN LIBYA.
AND A FACTORY IN TUNISIA
COULD SELL ITS PRODUCT
ANYWHERE IN THE MAGHREB.

A close-up shot shows textile machinery at work.

The caption changes to “Chadly Ayari. Ministre tunisien de l’economie.”

Chadly sits on a blue sofa. He’s in his mid-forties, clean-shaven with black hair. He’s wearing a light suit, a white shirt and a spotted blue tie.

Chadly says THERE'S AN ARAB PROVERB THAT
MIGHT BE APPROPRIATE HERE.
SOMETIMES, WHEN YOU SEE A
PERSON WITH A LOT OF MONEY,
BUT WHO DOESN'T
KNOW HOW TO USE IT,
WE SAY GOD CREATED BEANS
FOR THOSE WITHOUT TEETH.
BEANS ARE SOMETHING
WE EAT A LOT OF.
SO IF YOU DON'T HAVE ANY
TEETH, YOU'D BETTER LIKE BEANS
OR YOU'RE OUT OF LUCK.
WELL, WE'VE GROWN OUR TEETH
WITHOUT HAVING ANY BEANS.
I MEAN, WE'VE GROWN OUR
TEETH WITHOUT ANY MEANS OR
RESOURCES, WHICH MEANS
THAT THIS HAS TAUGHT US
TO LIMIT OURSELVES.
IT'S INCREASED THE PRESSURE
ON THE GREY MATTER.
COUNTING ON MEN, MUCH
MORE THAN OUR RESOURCES.

The Narrator says TUNISIA IS RELATIVELY
POOR IN NATURAL RESOURCES.
HER SOIL IS OVERPOPULATED,
SO SHE TRIES TO REDUCE THE
PRESSURE OF AN
INCREASING POPULATION.
FIRST, WOMEN'S LEGAL RIGHTS
ARE GREATLY IMPROVED.
A NETWORK OF FAMILY PLANNING
CENTRES AIDS IN REDUCING THE
AVERAGE SIZE OF FAMILIES.
DEVELOPMENT IS, ABOVE ALL,
THE GROWTH OF PER CAPITA
NATIONAL OUTPUT.
BUT IT'S OTHER
THINGS, AS WELL.
DEVELOPMENT, ESPECIALLY,
IMPLIES MODIFYING AGE-OLD
HABITS, TRANSFORMING THE
ATTITUDES OF THE POPULATION,
IMPOSING THE ACCEPTANCE OF A
NEW, GENERALLY MORE EQUITABLE
SHARING OF THE
NATIONAL WEALTH.

Local villagers walk across a market.

(traditional music plays)
The caption changes to “2. Morocco.”

The Narrator says IN MOROCCO, THE GREAT ESTATES
HAVE PASSED FROM THE FRENCH
COLONISTS TO LOCAL LANDLORDS.
3 MILLION ACRES OUT OF 21 THUS
REMAIN IN THE HANDS OF BIG
LANDOWNERS WHILE THE
REMAINDER IS OVERCROWDED.

A young man plows a field.

The Narrator continues ENCOMPASSING 15 PERCENT OF
THE ARABLE LAND, THESE BIG
ESTATES PRODUCE 80 PERCENT OF
THE CITRUS FRUITS AND WINES,
ONE-THIRD OF THE VEGETABLES,
AND ONE-QUARTER OF THE
COUNTRY'S AGRICULTURAL OUTPUT.

Abderrahim Bouabid sits in an office. He’s in his sixties, clean-shaven with gray hair. He’s wearing glasses, a dark green suit, a striped gray shirt and a dark tie.

Abderrahim says WE ARE NOW IN A SITUATION
WHERE LESS THAN TEN PERCENT,
AND I WEIGH MY WORDS
CAREFULLY, LESS THAN TEN
PERCENT OF THE POPULATION
CONTROLS 50 PERCENT,
IF NOT MORE, OF
THE NATIONAL WEALTH.
SO YOU SEE THE
HOLE WE'RE IN.

The caption changes to “Abderrahim Bouabid. Ex-Ministre marocain.”

Abderrahim continues SO WE DRAW THIS CONCLUSION.
DURING THE FRENCH PROTECTORATE,
THERE WERE 450 TO 500,000
FRENCHMEN IN MOROCCO.
AND THEY HAD A STANDARD
OF LIVING HIGHER THAN
WHAT THEY HAD IN FRANCE.
AND THEY HAD THE 50 OR 60
PERCENT OF OUR NATIONAL WEALTH.
TODAY, THESE
FRENCHMEN ARE GONE.
WHO REPLACES THEM?
A GROUP OF MOROCCANS.
THERE'S BEEN A TRANSFER OF
WEALTH IN FAVOUR OF A CERTAIN
PRIVILEGED MOROCCAN CLASS.
THE GREAT MASS OF MOROCCANS
STILL REMAIN IN A SUBSISTENCE
ECONOMY, ESPECIALLY
IN RURAL AREAS.

(music plays)

Ahmed says VERY OFTEN, IN MOST CASES IN
THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES, THE
ELITES, THE
NEW
ELITES, SIMPLY
TOOK THE PLACE OF THE OLD
RULING CLASS, THE FRENCH
OR BRITISH COLONIZERS.
SOMEONE ONCE SAID THAT
DECOLONIZATION IS NOT
NECESSARILY THE OPPOSITE
OF COLONIZATION.

Fast clips show luxurious Moroccan buildings.

The caption changes to “MM. Benanu and Fechtali. Trade unionists.”

Benanu and Fechtali stand on a terrace. Benanu is in his late thirties, clean-shaven with black hair. He’s wearing a gray jacket and a light sweater. Fechtali is in his forties with black hair. He wears a light green jacket.

Fechtali says IT'S ALMOST 20 YEARS NOW
THAT WE'VE BEEN INDEPENDENT.
OUR STRUGGLE FOR INDEPENDENCE
WAS, FIRST OF ALL, A FIGHT
AGAINST COLONIALISM.
WHICH, FOR THE WORKING CLASS,
REPRESENTED THE FORCES OF
DOMINATION AND EXPLOITATION.
SO WITH INDEPENDENCE,
WE HOPED TO ELIMINATE
THIS FOREIGN EXPLOITATION.
WELL, SIR, AFTER 20 YEARS,
WE'VE STILL GOT THE SAME
FOREIGN CAPITALISTS
WHO WERE HERE 20 YEARS AGO,
AND THEY'RE STILL HERE.

The Narrator says IN 1959, THREE YEARS AFTER
INDEPENDENCE, MOROCCO TRIED
TO DEVELOP THROUGH HEAVY
GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION.
THE KING AND HIS CONSERVATIVE
BACKERS CHANGED THAT.

An aerial view features a boulevard with palm trees.

The Narrator continues INDUSTRY WAS THUS LARGELY
LEFT TO PRIVATE INITIATIVE.
IN 1971, HOWEVER, THE PHOSPHATE
MINES WERE NATIONALIZED.
CONTROL OVER THEM WAS GIVEN
TO A CROWN CORPORATION,
THE ROYAL PHOSPHATE BOARD.
BUT THE GOVERNMENT'S PLANS
HAVEN'T PRODUCED THE DESIRED
RESULTS IN AGRICULTURE.
THERE IS STILL NO
AGRARIAN REFORM.

(Moroccan music plays)

The Narrator continues FOR SOME TIME, MINERAL
PRODUCTION HAS BEEN
RAISING NEW HOPES.
FIRST, THE PRICE OF PHOSPHATES
HAS MARKEDLY INCREASED.
IRON ORE MINING ALSO
SEEMS TO HAVE IMPROVED.

People watch a group of men perform a stunt on the street.

The Narrator continues BUT FOR A LONG TIME NOW,
PEOPLE HAVE BEEN EXTRACTING
MINERALS FROM THE
MOROCCAN SUB SOIL,
AND THE COUNTRY
IS STILL POOR.
PRIVATE ENTERPRISE IS COUNTED
ON TO SUPPLY ANY INCREASES
IN INVESTMENT.
BUT INVESTORS HAVE BEEN FEW,
AND MANUFACTURING IN MOROCCO
IS STILL DOMINATED BY SMALL
ENTERPRISES AND ACCOUNTS FOR
ONLY 20 PERCENT OF THE GNP.

Street signs read “Coca Cola” and “Fanta.”

Fechtali says THEY ARE MOROCCANIZING
THINGS OH, SURE.
THEY ARE MOROCCANIZING, BUT
THEY MOROCCANIZE A FACADE.
NOW, THERE'S A LAW THAT SAYS
EVERY COMPANY IN THE SERVICE
SECTOR MUST BE 50
PERCENT MOROCCAN.
BUT THERE ARE FEW ESTABLISHED
MOROCCAN CAPITALISTS WHO WILL
FORM PARTNERSHIPS
WITH FOREIGNERS.
SO IT IS THE FOREIGN BANKS
WITH GOVERNMENT GUARANTEES WHO
LEND MONEY TO MOROCCAN FRONT
MEN SO THEY CAN KEEP ON
EXPLOITING US.
BUT THIS TIME, BEHIND
A MOROCCAN FACADE.

Abderrahim says I THINK THAT THE MOROCCAN
PEOPLE ARE PERFECTLY AWARE
OF THEIR PROBLEMS.
THERE ARE CONCRETE PROBLEMS.
WHAT DO THE PEASANTS WANT?
70 PERCENT OF THE PEASANTS ARE
LANDLESS, OR HAVE LESS THAN
FIVE ACRES.

Men sit on the ground under white tents.

Abderrahim continues OKAY, THAT'S CONCRETE.
THEY WANT TO HAVE THE MEANS
TO LIVE, AND TO SURVIVE.
THEY WANT LAND
AND THE MEANS TO
CULTIVATE THAT LAND,
TO WORK IT.
THEY ALSO WANT THE MEANS
TO SELL WHAT THEY PRODUCE.
THAT'S WHAT WE CALL
AGRARIAN REFORM.
AGRARIAN REFORM MEANS GIVING
POOR PEASANTS THE MEANS OF
GETTING OUT OF THE SUBSISTENCE
ECONOMY, AND REACHING THE
POINT WHERE THEY CAN PRODUCE
A SURPLUS AND SELL IT.
ALSO, PEASANTS, THE MAJORITY
OF MOROCCANS WANT SCHOOLS FOR
THEIR CHILDREN.
THEY WANT TO HAVE HOSPITALS.
THEY WANT HEALTH
INSURANCE, ETC.
THESE ARE CONCRETE PROBLEMS, BUT
SOMEHOW, THEY ALWAYS BECOME
BIG, ABSTRACT PROBLEMS.

The caption changes to “3. Algeria.”

The Narrator says IT WAS DURING THE WAR OF
LIBERATION THAT ALGERIA'S
DEVELOPMENT PLANS WERE
GRADUALLY SET OUT.
LAND REFORM, NATIONALIZATION
OF RESOURCES, ACCELERATED
INDUSTRIALIZATION THROUGH A
NETWORK OF STATE CORPORATIONS,
A HIGH PRIORITY FOR INVESTMENT,
NATIONALIZATION
OF ALL FINANCIAL
INSTITUTIONS, WAGE
AND PRICE CONTROL.

A clip shows various industries and men wearing uniforms looking at a scale model.

The Narrator continues THE AGRARIAN REVOLUTION BEGAN
SPONTANEOUSLY TOWARD THE END
OF THE WAR OF INDEPENDENCE,
WHEN WORKERS TOOK OVER THE
MANAGEMENT OF THE ESTATES
OF FLEEING COLONISTS.
OTHER MEASURES LONG ON
THE DRAWING BOARDS HAVE
RECENTLY BEEN ENACTED.
REGISTRATION AND REDISTRIBUTION
OF PRIVATE LANDS, CREATION
OF COOPERATIVE VILLAGES, AND
CONSTRUCTION OF THE GREEN
CURTAIN, A REFORESTED
ZONE DESIGNED TO BLOCK
THE ADVANCING SAHARA.
AND, OF COURSE, IRRIGATION
PROGRAMS, EROSION CONTROL,
AND THE DIGGING
OF ARTESIAN WELLS.
FOR IN ALGERIA, AS IN TUNISIA,
THERE IS A SEVERE WATER
PROBLEM, ESPECIALLY IN THE
SEMI-DESERT PLATEAUS,
AND IN THE SAHARA ITSELF.

Palm trees sit on the sides of a water trench.

The Narrator continues RIGHT AFTER INDEPENDENCE, AND
ON TOP OF THIS AGRICULTURAL
EFFORT, CAME THE BATTLE FOR
LITERACY AND EDUCATION.
IN ALGERIA, HALF THE
POPULATION IS UNDER
19 YEARS OF AGE.
UNTIL RECENTLY, THREE-QUARTERS
OF THOSE OVER TEN YEARS OLD
WERE ILLITERATE.

A man drives a tractor and youngsters play football.

The Narrator continues ALGERIANS HOPE THAT BY 1980,
EVERY CHILD WILL HAVE THE
RIGHT TO NINE
YEARS OF SCHOOLING.
TO ACHIEVE THAT RESULT,
ALGERIA DEVOTES A THIRD OF ITS
BUDGET, AND NEARLY TEN
PERCENT OF ITS GROSS NATIONAL
PRODUCT, TO EDUCATION.
THEIR TASK IS ENORMOUS.
TO TAKE A COUNTRY THAT IS 60
PERCENT RURAL AND MAKE IT AN
INDUSTRIAL NATION
IN ONE GENERATION.
BUT RESOURCES ARE PLENTIFUL.
SINCE 1958, OIL HAS BEEN
FLOWING LIKE WATER
FROM THE SAHARA.
AND ACCORDING TO THE MOST
RECENT ESTIMATES, ALGERIA
POSSESSES ONE-TENTH
OF THE WORLD'S RESERVES
OF NATURAL GAS.

Pierre Harvey sits by a pool. He’s in his forties, with a grayish beard and short hair. He’s wearing a blue turtleneck.

Pierre says THE BIG PROBLEM FOR ALGERIA
IS TO USE THE QUARTER OF A
CENTURY THAT IS LEFT TO MAKE
MAXIMUM USE OF THE OIL, AND
THE SPIN-OFFS FROM THAT
OIL, AND TO INDUSTRIALIZE
THE COUNTRY.

The caption changes to “Pierre Harvey. Economiste.”

Pierre continues THE HOPE IS THAT BY THE TIME
THE OIL RUNS OUT, AND IT WILL
RUN OUT IF THERE AREN'T ANY
SPECTACULAR DISCOVERIES BEFORE
THEN, ALGERIA WILL HAVE BECOME
A MODERN INDUSTRIALIZED
COUNTRY CAPABLE OF
USING ITS MANPOWER.
THE LINK BETWEEN INDUSTRY AND
AGRICULTURE IS IN THE AREA OF
JOBS.
JUST NOW, OUR INDUSTRY
IS IN ITS INFANCY.
WE ARE BUILDING INDUSTRIES
THAT DON'T USE MUCH LABOUR,
BUT IN FOUR OR FIVE YEARS,
NEW PROJECTS WILL PROVIDE
A VERY GREAT NUMBER OF JOBS.
MANY OF WHICH WILL BE
FILLED BY RURAL PEOPLE.
THIS WILL HAPPEN WHEN
WE HAVE VERY DEVELOPED,
MECHANIZED INDUSTRIES.
WHEN WE HAVE LIGHT INDUSTRIES
EQUIPPED BY OUR HEAVY
INDUSTRIES, SUCH AS THE
PETRO CHEMICAL COMPLEXES.
AND WHEN WE HAVE MORE HEAVY
INDUSTRY, LIKE STEEL MILLS,
THAT WILL BE IN THE 1980s.
THERE WILL BE
LOTS OF JOBS THEN.

Gerard Chaliand is in his mid-forties. He has short black hair. He wears a black sweater.

Gerard says SONATRACH IS THE MOST IMPORTANT
GOVERNMENT CORPORATION
IN ALGERIA.
IT IS THE ONE THAT CONTROLS
FOSSIL FUELS, AND MORE AND
MORE, IT TAKES
OVER OTHER FIELDS.
THIS STATE MONOPOLY
PLAYS AN IMPORTANT ROLE
IN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT.
BUT, UNFORTUNATELY, AS A TYPE
OF BUREAUCRATIC STRUCTURE,
SONATRACH IS RATHER
REPRESENTATIVE.

The caption changes to “Gerard Chaliand. Economiste.”

Gerard continues IT HAS ITS MODERN SECTORS
WHERE, IN A GIVEN AREA,
THERE ARE DYNAMIC DIRECTORS,
AND THEN, LIKE ANY STATE
CORPORATION, AS IN, FOR
EXAMPLE, IN EASTERN EUROPE
WHETHER IT'S CZECHOSLOVAKIA,
OR EAST GERMANY, WHAT HAVE
YOU, OR IN NORTH AMERICA,
THERE IS A SLEW OF
BUREAUCRATIC DRAGS ON
ANY SORT OF INITIATIVE.
AS A GOVERNMENT CORPORATION,
SONATRACH SHOULD BE MOBILIZING
FROM THE BOTTOM UP.
BUT IT IS DOING THE
COMPLETE OPPOSITE.
IT'S MOBILIZING
FROM THE TOP DOWN.

Pierre says IF YOU DEFINE SOCIALISM AS
THE BENEFITS OF ECONOMIC
GROWTH TOUCHING THE
GREATEST NUMBER OF PEOPLE,
WELL, THAT'S ONE KIND.
NATURALLY, THERE ARE
OTHER CHARACTERISTICS.
THE FACT THAT STATE
CORPORATIONS CONTROL MOST OF
THE COUNTRY'S LARGE ECONOMIC
ENTERPRISES, THAT INVESTMENT IS
CENTRALLY PLANNED, THUS
ALL DEVELOPMENT IS PLANNED.
THOSE ARE A FEW
CHARACTERISTICS.
AND YOU CAN'T SAY THIS IS OR
ISN'T A SOCIALIST ECONOMY.
I THINK THE TERM HAS
LOST A LOT OF MEANING.
WE KNOW IT'S CERTAINLY NOT
A CAPITALIST ECONOMY OF THE
NORTH AMERICAN VARIETY.
IT'S RADICALLY DIFFERENT.

[hammering]
Men work on a roof.

The interviewer says YOU ARE PREPARING HOT HOUSES?

A man wearing a black moustache says THAT'S RIGHT.
THAT'S THE COVERING THEY ARE
ON, THE PLASTIC SHEETING,
SO THEY CAN COVER
ALL THE PLOTS.
THIS IS THE FOURTH
YEAR THAT WE'VE DONE THIS.
IT'S A HOT HOUSE CULTURE THAT
WE'VE STARTED OURSELVES.
YOU SEE, THIS NEVER EXISTED
DURING THE FRANCE OCCUPATION.

The interviewer says IT'S A LOCAL
INITIATIVE PROJECT?

The man wearing a black moustache says THAT'S RIGHT.

The interviewer says WHO MADE THE DECISION?
HOW DID IT WORK?

The man wearing a black moustache says THE MINISTRY
MADE THE DECISION.

A man wearing sideburns says IT'S A SORT OF PILOT PROJECT.
THE MINISTRY CHOSE
THIS SELF-MANAGED FARM
TO CARRY OUT THE PROJECT.
IT HAS IDEAL CONDITIONS FOR
CROPS OF THIS SORT UNDER
PLASTIC IN A HOT HOUSE.

The interviewer says AND YOU, SIR, WHAT DID
YOU DO BEFORE INDEPENDENCE?
WERE YOU IN AGRICULTURE?

A man wearing a dark jacket says YES, AN AGRICULTURAL WORKER.

The interviewer says AGRICULTURAL WORKER.
AND NOW YOU ARE...?

The man wearing a dark jacket says CROP SUPERVISOR.

The interviewer says HOW DOES THE FARM OPERATE?
WHAT'S YOUR ROLE AS
DIRECTOR OF THE FARM?
WHAT IS YOUR RELATIONSHIP
WITH THE WORKERS?
WHAT DECISIONS DO
YOU HAVE TO MAKE?

The man wearing a black moustache says WE HAVE TO MAKE DECISIONS
LIKE PREPARING THE PLAN FOR
THE COMING SEASON.
THERE IS A GENERAL
WORKERS' ASSEMBLY.
AND OUT OF THAT ASSEMBLY,
THERE'S A WORKERS' COUNCIL
THAT DECIDES, THAT DRAWS
UP THE SEASON'S PLANS.
INCLUDING WHAT TO PLANT ON THE
MOST FERTILE GROUND, ETC.,
AS WELL AS ALL THE OTHER
DETAILS FOR PLANTING.

Ahmed says LIKE MOST UNDERDEVELOPED
COUNTRIES, AND LIKE MANY
DEVELOPED COUNTRIES, TUNISIA
HAS CONSIDERED AGRARIAN REFORM.
WE HAD A GO AT AGRARIAN
REFORM IN THE LATE '60s.
REGRETTABLY, IT WAS AN
UNFORTUNATE EXPERIENCE THAT
ENDED IN A DISASTROUS FAILURE.
IT EVEN HAD POLITICAL
REPERCUSSIONS.
WE KNOW WHY IT FAILED.
PEOPLE TRIED TO IMPOSE
SOMETHING FROM ABOVE BY FORCE.
LIKE FARMERS EVERYWHERE,
THE TUNISIAN FARMER IS
VERY INDIVIDUALISTIC.
FOR HIM, THE LAND
IS SOMETHING SACRED.
THE LAND IS HIS REASON FOR
LIVING, HIS RAISON D'ETRE.
COLLECTIVIZATION
WAS A FAILURE.
A FAILURE EVERYWHERE.

Two farmers shovel seeds.

Mohammed says THE ALGERIAN FARMER HAS A
WHOLE TRADITION OF STRUGGLE
BEHIND HIM.
AN ENTIRE PAST THAT PREPARES
HIM NOT ONLY TO ACCEPT CHANGE,
BUT TO HOPE FOR IT, TO
WANT IT, TO BRING IT ABOUT.
FOR INSTANCE, PLANTING
DIFFERENT CROPS IN PLACE
OF THOSE GROWN BY
THE COLONIALISTS.
AND WHEN IT WAS TIME FOR
INDEPENDENCE ALGERIA'S FIRST
CROP SEASON, THERE WERE
NO GOVERNMENT STRUCTURES.
THE ALGERIAN GOVERNMENT
HAD BARELY BEEN BORN,
SO THE FARM WORKERS
RAN THE FARMS THEMSELVES.
AND FOR THE FIRST TIME IN
THE HISTORY OF ALGERIAN
AGRICULTURE, WE PLOUGHED
MORE THAN 7 MILLION ACRES,
WHICH GAVE US THE BEST
WHEAT CROP WE'VE EVER HAD.
ONCE AGAIN, OUR FARMER HAS
PROVED NOT ONLY HIS ACCEPTANCE
OF CHANGE, BUT THAT HE'S
THE DRIVING FORCE BEHIND IT.
I THINK THE ALGERIAN
REVOLUTION HAS BECOME A MYTH.
LIKE MANY OTHER THINGS.
BUT IT'S TRUE THAT THE
CHANGES I DESCRIBED EARLIER,
AND WHICH BEGAN IN MOROCCO AND
TUNISIA, QUITE SOON AFTER
WORLD WAR II, HAVE GONE MUCH
DEEPER IN ALGERIA, PRECISELY
BECAUSE THE FACTORS
I TALKED ABOUT WERE MORE
WIDESPREAD THERE.

Two peasants stack corn plants.

Mohammed continues FOR EXAMPLE, THE FRENCH
COLONIAL PRESENCE LASTED
MUCH LONGER THERE.
ALGERIA WAS A
COLONY SINCE 1830.
SO THE INTENSITY OF CONTACTS
WITH FOREIGNERS, WITH THE
OUTSIDE, WITH WESTERN
CIVILIZATION, PLUS THE SPREAD
OF WESTERN CULTURE,
SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL
KNOWLEDGE, WAS MUCH GREATER IN
ALGERIA THAN HERE IN MOROCCO.
ABOVE ALL, THE STRUGGLE FOR
LIBERATION HAD AN EXTREMELY
TRAUMATIC SHOCK
EFFECT ON PEOPLE.
A SHOCK THAT OFTEN LEADS THEM
TO CALL INTO QUESTION TRUTHS
THAT THEY HAD LONG
ACCEPTED AS SELF-EVIDENT.
TO QUESTION THEMSELVES.
ANSWERS, IN A SENSE,
BECAME PROBLEMS,
AND PROBLEMS BECAME ANSWERS.

(music plays)

The Narrator says THE MAGHREB...
THREE COUNTRIES,
THREE DIFFERENT
MIXTURES OF RESOURCES.
THREE ROADS TO THE FUTURE.
ALGERIA HAS COMMITTED
ITSELF TO SOCIALISM
AND RAPID INDUSTRIALIZATION.
IMPOVERISHED TUNISIA HAS YET
TO FIND THE RIGHT BLEND OF
CAPITALISM AND SOCIALISM TO
MAKE USE OF HER MOST PRECIOUS
RESOURCE, TRAINED MANPOWER.
MOROCCO SEEMS ADRIFT, NOT
YET SURE OF ITS COURSE.
BUT THERE ARE DEEP CHANGES
BENEATH THE SURFACE.
FOR THE COUNTRIES OF THE
MAGHREB, INDEPENDENCE HAS BEEN
A SUCCESS IN TERMS OF DIGNITY,
BUT OFTEN A FAILURE IN TERMS
OF ECONOMICS.
ONLY ALGERIA TOOK
CONTROL OF ITS RESOURCES,
LAND AND OIL
AND NATURAL GAS.

Donkeys and large groups of local people stand on a field.

The Narrator concludes NO ONE DICTATES
TO THE ALGERIANS.
THEY ARE PROUD
AND PROSPEROUS.
PERHAPS THERE'S A LESSON TO
BE LEARNED FROM THIS FACT.

(music plays)

The end credits roll.

Executive Producer, John Labow.

Director, Karl Parent.

Office de la Telecommunication Educative d’ Ontario 1975.

Watch: Economic Development of the Maghreb