Despite the general demise of the phenomenon of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in Europe since the 1970s, SOEs remained central to state economic planning in African markets after independence. Weak performance of African SOEs since the 1960s, mitigated reforms and some privatisation. The opening up of markets in Africa and states’ alignment to the market economic model, contributed to a different approach to the managing and operation of SOEs. The UNCTAD list of top non-financial conglomerates in the developing world includes two African SOEs. The lack of capital, access to modern technology and professional managerial skills (human capabilities), hampered the development of national economies in Africa. The state has re-entered the market in a different role as facilitator of private enterprise, but also as entrepreneur in strategic industries. Global resurgence of SOEs in the 21st century witnessed a new generation global SOEs, also in some African cases. This paper will assess the development of the «new generation» SOEs in Africa since the last decade of the 20th century using the case study of Sonatrach in Algeria.
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