The Entrepreneurial Class
One of the most recent sectors of civil society to emerge as an independent movement is that of the entrepreneurs. For most of Algeria's political history, the socialist orientation of the state precluded the development of a class of small business owners and resulted in strong public anticapitalist sentiment. Economic liberalization under Benjedid transformed many state-owned enterprises into private entities and fostered the growth of an active and cohesive group of professional associations of small business owners, or patronat. The patronat has maintained almost continuous dialogue with the government, has strongly supported government reforms, and has persisted in its lobbying efforts. The patronat consists of well over 10,000 members and is steadily expanding. Some of its member associations include the Algerian Confederation of Employers, the General Confederation of Algerian Economic Operators, and the General Union of Algerian Merchants and Artisans.
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