Algeria, a country that depends on energy for 97 percent of its exports and two-thirds of its government revenue, is facing an economic crisis precipitated by the plunge in oil prices. And that is just fine with Toufik Lerari and Marhoun Rougab, entrepreneurs who see it as salvation for the rest of the Algerian economy.
“Our chance is the collapsing oil prices,” Mr. Lerari said in his office, where colorful pop art paintings decorate the walls. “Now, we cannot wait anymore. We must act. We want to concentrate our energy on what works well in this country. What can you build if you’re not positive?”
Mr. Lerari, 38, and Mr. Rougab, 30, founded a communications company, Allegorie, in 2010, and business has been good — so much so that they want to hold up themselves and others like them as an answer to Algeria’s problems.
If nothing else, Mr. Lerari said, their optimism is a welcome antidote to the government officials who recently warned on national television of an incipient economic crisis. The warnings prompted talk among pundits that political instability could soon follow.
Mr. Lerari and Mr. Rougab — who can recall childhoods of water shortages and slow-flowing faucets, as well as terrorist attacks and curfews that kept them inside at night — live today in a more secure and developed Algeria. Now when they discuss water, they talk metaphorically about glasses half full. When the sun goes down, they seek out pockets of night life in the otherwise staid capital.