Angela Merkel meets Angola's president - Potential for stronger cooperation
Following his meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel, Angola’s President João Lourenço called for investment in his country’s infrastructure. Angola is Africa’s second largest oil exporter, and is now aiming to diversify its economy. The country wants to become more attractive to investors.
Angola’s new President João Lourenço introduced a reform agenda on taking office in September 2017. “We are happy to see that a fresh breeze is blowing in Angola since the new President took office, with reforms launched in a great many areas,” said the Chancellor at a joint press conference with President Lourenço.
Incentives for investors
Angela Merkel pledged support. The German government, she said, intends to provide Hermes export credit guarantees to back private investment in Angola. Germany is already involved in electrification in Angola, while cooperation in the field of tourism is another option, alongside infrastructure measures. “We have the potential to step up our cooperation,” said the Chancellor.
Since becoming President, João Lourenço has been quick to emancipate himself from his predecessor. He has determinedly launched economic reforms, taken a tough line on corruption and worked for peace and security in the region. He has not been afraid to take on long-serving leaders. He is extremely popular among the Angolan people, and enjoys the support of the government party (MPLA - Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola).
A new law on private investment, for instance, makes it possible to conclude business deals without a local partner. Previously, at least 35 percent of a business had to be in Angolan hands. Although the new legislation does not apply to the oil and mining industries or the financial sector, it is a sign that under João Lourenço, the economy is opening up. The country’s economy has suffered from the drop in oil prices.
Greater transparency in bidding for public contracts
Bidding procedures are to be re-opened for a number of large-scale projects that the previous government had placed in the hands of family members and friends of the previous President. All these reforms also aim to create more market-economy incentives. The reforms have been very much welcomed by international observers, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.