In Algeria, the last two decades were marked by the increasingly visible political influence of private-sector actors. Considered as potential agents of change, they have often been expected to contribute to democratisation in their country, particularly after the introduction of a multiparty system and the transition from a socialist model to a market economy in the late 1980s. The analysis of economic actors’ political involvement in Algeria raises questions concerning modes of renewal of political leadership. The Algerian case demonstrates that the inclusion of new private-sector actors in the political arena does not mean that the system has opened itself to competition for the management of the country’s wealth, even less its democratization. However, the increased presence of the figure of the ‘businessman’ in the Algerian political arena reveals the authorities’ strategy of diversifying alliances in order to preserve their monopoly.