Angola president, João Lourenço, has expressed his hope for the upcoming U.S.- Africa Leaders’ summit, which he terms would be an ideal moment to chart the path of long-lasting solutions for Africans. Lourenço spoke in an interview with Hariana Veras the White House Permanent correspondent for Angola, before the upcoming U.S.-Africa Summit, where he told investors to see Angola and Africa as a logical and resourceful destination for investments which will help create a win-win partnership and help accelerate industrialization. He said the investment is crucial for accelerating industrialization in the country.
This event will juxtapose the best of Africa at a time when African leaders want to move from the past perception of a gloomy continent and promote the many opportunities Africa has to offer. The president said that more investment by the United States into Angola would accelerate the industrialization of the country and cement collaboration between Angola and the United States. Although the relationship between Angola and the United States are good, the president expressed his hope that the summit will further strengthen the strategic partnership with the United States, which will see increased direct foreign investment from the U.S. to Angola. “…the message that we will take to President Biden is that we would like to see private sector American investment in our country to help us diversify our economy, “added Lourenço.
Angola and the African continent at large have witnessed stagnated industrialization, further curtailing economic progress. The continent has the potential to become more industrialized, but it will require massive investments from countries such as the United States. According to the president, infrastructure, energy, and water investment will significantly contribute to the country’s and the continent’s economic progress. The president further assures investors that the country will take their investment seriously.
The president, who was recently re-elected, comes at a time when a country has been dragged down by many years of corruption and impunity, which have adversely affected its progress. For many, the president is recognized for his courage in fighting corruption and impunity. After he was elected president in 2017, João Lourenço chose to rejuvenate hope among Angolans by revitalizing and revamping a new era that will see the country takes a progressive path to recovery. However, he spoke about the need to accelerate and continue the fight against corruption in the country. “We cannot consider the fight being over, no. Corruption still exists, in a smaller scale, people are not as free to practice,” said the president. Despite his commitment to fighting impunity and corruption in the country, he said that fighting the corruption is enormously challenging. Still, he hopes he will win the way or enhance the continuity to fight impunity and corruption in the country.
The president spoke about the disappointment corruption has brought to the country, especially in development. Despite being endowment with enormous resources, corruption has made the country fail to realize its full potential. However, the recovery of money and assets, which have been the proceeds of corruption, has enabled his government to start an integration plan and important investments in municipalities, which will significantly improve welfare of the country and its people. Lourenço further emphasized that there is concrete evidence that investment in the current government will significantly impact the country’s economic growth and industrialization path. He gave examples of some clothing factories, Luanda, Dondo, and Benguela, that had created jobs for many Angolans.
With his vision to change the country, the president added that he is mostly motivated by the need to change the country and repair its image to enhance its international appeal. Although the war, which has negatively projected the country’s image, has been surpassed, more efforts are needed to continue the fight against corruption and impunity in the country.
The president spoke also about the Russian-Ukraine war and explained his position against the war. One reason was that Angola is a member of the United Nations and subscribes to its agendas. Another reason was that the country has come from a deep pit of prolonged civil war that have destabilized it for many years, and its upshots are still experienced. He understands the adverse consequences of wars, including loss of lives, human displacement, and refugees. Therefore, he would not wish to see another country experience what Angola has faced. He hopes the two countries will resolve the conflict and prevent further loss of life, displacement, and instability. He accentuated that he would reiterate his concern for the Russian and Ukraine war in Washington, DC, during the upcoming summit. He is optimistic that resolving the war between the two countries would promote stability and help solve the energy and food crises that the conflict had triggered.
The president advised that the war should open the eyes of advanced countries to lead efforts in increasing investment in more alternative energy sources besides the traditionally used energy sources. As the Russia-Ukraine war grapples Europe and its ramifications extended to other parts of the world, he also called for increased food production and investment in African nations. It is clear that food crises have been issues triggered by the war. Further, there is a need to increase investment in production and Africa can be the solution. Accordingly, the president called for investments in agriculture in Angola as the country is endowed with abundant arable and productive lands with a good climate and sufficient water to support agriculture. However, capital and technical know-how remain critical hindrances to enabling the government to fully exploit arable lands. He opined that investment in capital, technology, and know-how has the potential to enable Angola to produce enough that will play a significant role in reducing world hunger.
It is irrefutable that the country has gained and maintained its international reserves at satisfactory levels, which allows the transfer of dividends of investors in all sectors of the country’s economy. He calls investors to invest in the country and, besides achieving their self-interest, will help chart the country’s economic growth and prosperity path. He reassured investors that his government will support them to speed up investment. He echoed a governance approach that meets international standards. He hopes the summit will give Angola the opportunity to get lasting solutions and results that will help industrialized the country.
Currently, the president has a vision of creating jobs for the young people in Angola. His administration continues giving special attention to education and health. He is committed to continuing to invest in education and health infrastructure with a major focus on building more schools and hospitals. For instance, he outlined his plan to increase investment to equip hospitals with more beds. The president also hopes to build more public universities and promote university education.
Lastly, Lourenço invited tourists and investors to Angola, arguing that Angola is one of the most beautiful countries to visit and invests. “Our fauna is very rich and therefore come to Angola, come visit a tourist destination and it will certainly not disappoint anyone who visits Angola,” Lourenço said.