Nabil Mellah, the iconoclastic Algerian boss

When Nabil Mellah leaves the WikiStage stage, in December 2018it will do so by moonwalk – Michael Jackson’s famous dance step – to the laughter and applause of the audience. It has now been more than a year since he disappeared from the economic and media scene due to detention pending trial for “violation of exchange control regulations” and “money laundering” brought against him by the Ministry of the Pharmaceutical Industry. Suddenly no one is laughing.

Nabil Mellah, 50, has always been the type to carry out the communication exercise with pleasure, with laughing eyes and a playful tone, serving journalists anecdotes on a silver platter with, as a bonus, a lucid look at the economic situation, the business climate in Algeria, as well as the administrative aberrations.

The applauded and those who applaud

His analyzes are often imbued with humour, interspersed with sonorous and dazzling laughter. A “ease” tinged with audacity, some would say, “pure madness”, others will think. He knew, however, that this freedom of tone had a price. After each media intervention, its administrators had to prepare to receive tax or trade officials. Also, he said, to ensure “leave nothing to chance and scrupulously respect laws and regulations”.

He also distilled comments on other businessmen who chose to remain silent for fear of reprisals or out of allegiance. Faced with the many pitfalls set before them, a good number of Algerian investors kept quiet about their suffering. Also Nabil Mellah clashed in the business world by saying out loud what others think quietly. “I’m one of those dogs that barks all the time,” he enjoys repeating.

Anthology: “Once, I tried to call a manager at the level of a ministry. No answer. I called back thirty minutes later. And I pretended to be Mr. ‘X’ from the French Embassy, ​​I was immediately passed the person. Well me, Nabil, the Algerian, the frizzy hair, the brown eyes, the green passport, I felt humiliated”, he confided in an interview given to ASD in 2014.

“In this country where there are two categories of people: the applauded and those who applaud, he launched in one of his recent interventions on Radio M. It is necessary, above all, to resolve the political problem in order to finally be able to work in anticipation and in planning and no longer in what I would call ‘improximation’, this skilful mixture of improvisation and approximation which has cost Algeria so dearly in all areas in recent years”, he uttered in the columns ofEl Watan in November 2019.

Very followed on social networks, he is the inventor of the term “tibararkism” [néologisme qui évoque les maladresses verbales des responsables algériens, mais plus largement le manque de visibilité économique et politique]very fashionable shortly before Hir

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