Saturday, April 28, 2012

Chinese Populations in Angola

The number of Chinese residents in Angola, subject of frequent speculation, is approximately 259,000 as stated by Beijing Angolan director of the Office of Migration and Foreigners, Freitas Neto.

Speaking to the official news agency Angop, Freitas Neto stated that "there are currently 258,920 Chinese in Angola", with almost 98% of these as construction workers helping to rebuild the country.

China is Angola's biggest trade partner and export destination as well as the fourth-largest importer. Bilateral trade reached $27.67 billion in 2011, up 11.5 percent year-on-year. China’s imports, mainly crude oil and diamonds, increased 9.1 percent to $24.89 billion while China’s exports, including mechanical and electrical products, machinery parts and construction materials, surged 38.8 percent, according to China’s General Administration of Customs.

Angola embarked on fast development after the end of a civil war in 2002. It was China’s second-largest trade partner in Africa in 2011 and the second-largest crude oil provider.

Trade in diamonds, China’s other major import from Angola, will continue to surge owing to strong investment demand in the second-largest market for the diamonds.

China's investments in Angola, mainly centered in infrastructure, social development including schools and hospitals, and agriculture, also help to expand bilateral trade since the investments lead to the purchase of engineering materials from China. (Angop, China Daily)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Angolan economy is the fastest growing in 2012

The Angolan economy will grow 9.7% in 2012, being the fastest growing among the 18 sub-Saharan African countries covered by the forecasts of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) released today. In its spring economic projections ("Outlook"), published today, the IMF estimates that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Angola to grow 9.7% this year and 6.8% in 2013, after having last year stayed by 3.4%. 

Among the countries covered by the analysis of the IMF which appear immediately after Angola are Ghana, with a growth of 8.8% in 2012, and Côte d'Ivoire (8.1%).  

This acceleration of economic growth will be due mainly to the early exploration of new oil wells in Angola, indicates the institution. 

In the report released today, the IMF notes that sub-Saharan Africa has been one of the least affected by the recent global financial crisis, growing about 5% in 2011. This despite the economic slowdown in South Africa, the effects of drought in the eastern and western parts of the continent and the conflict in Ivory Coast. 

The reduced financial connection in the African region with Europe has helped to protect it from the crisis, while the diversification of exports to emerging markets has reduced the commercial exposure of these economies in Europe. 

Indeed, notes the IMF, exports to the euro zone now represent a fifth of the region's exports, while in 1990 they accounted for two fifths. 

However, the IMF stressed that a priority, especially in East Africa, is the containment of inflation.The IMF estimates that inflation in Angola is of 11.1% in 2012 and 8.3% in 2013, while in Mozambique is expected to be 7.2% this year and 5.6% next year.  (Source: Lusa/SOL)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Angola Celebrates 10 Years of Peace

On Wednesday April 4, Angola celebrated 10 years of peace after a devastating civil war, with parades and concerts hailing President Jose Eduardo dos Santos for ushering in an oil-fuelled economic boom. 

Dos Santos unveiled a peace monument in Luena, the capital of the eastern province of Moxico, near the site where Unita rebel leader Jonas Savimbi was killed in battle on February 22, 2002.  The monument featured two giant dark hands releasing a white dove to the sky and is installed in the town's Lenin Park, named after Russian communist leader, Vladimir Ilyich. 
Savimbi’s death paved the way to a peace deal signed in the capital Luanda on April 4, 2002, ending the 27-year civil conflict that erupted soon after independence from Portugal in 1975. 

The conflict left an estimated 500 000 dead, displaced four million others, involved three different liberation movements and saw intervention from the former Soviet Union, Cuba, the United States and apartheid South Africa.   The immensity and duration of the conflict left much of the road, bridge and farming infrastructure destroyed. 

How times have changed. Today Angola can now boast of a booming economy - forecast to grow 12% this year - and a growing regional and international diplomatic profile.

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Foreign investors are flocking to Angola hoping to share in the boom times ”
Angola's physical transformation since the end of the war has also been immense.  Oil revenues and associated Chinese loans have bankrolled an ambitious national reconstruction programme of roads, airports, bridges, hospitals and schools.
In the sprawling cities, where the war-weary sought refuge during the height of the conflict, urban slums are being given a facelift.
And once productive agricultural fields are now being cleared of landmines ready for replanting; industries like cotton and coffee are being revived and old copper, iron and gold mines are being re-opened for prospection.
Meanwhile, foreign investors are flocking to Angola hoping to share in the boom times and Luanda's tiny Fourth of February airport is overwhelmed by new flights coming from across Africa as well as Europe, Asia and the Middle East. (AFP, BBC News)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Angola Promotes the Cause of African Peace

The Republic of Angola since yesterday assumed the presidency of the Rotary Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), a mechanism created with the aim of promoting peace, security and stability in Africa.

Angola's presidency of the Council of the AU Peace and Security comes at a time when there are still some areas of tension in the continent such as Darfur in Sudan, the situation prevailing in Madagascar and the recent coup in Mali. 

On the agenda of Angola to the front of this body, which will focus on managing and finding solutions to these major crises that disturb and affect the development of the African continent, are also the stabilization of Guinea-Bissau, the situation in Somalia, where the AU has a contingent of peacekeepers (AMISOM), as well as the "dossier" Libya as a result of so-called Arab Spring. The political crisis in Madagascar, the electoral processes in Africa and the issue of violence against women and children in situations of conflict on the continent are also among the priorities of the presidency of Angola's Peace and Security Council of the African Union. 

Angola was elected to the Council for Peace and Security at the 17th Summit Conference of Heads of State and Government of the AU, held in January 2012 in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), for a term of two years. Besides Angola, the other countries that are involved in the Peace and Security Council of the African Union, established in May 2004,  are Libya, Equatorial Guinea, Kenya, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Egypt, Djibouti, Cameroon, Congo, Tanzania, Ivory Coast , The Gambia and the Kingdom of Lesotho.  Five of the 15 Member States are elected for a term of three years and the remaining ten for a term of two years. 

The Peace and Security Council responsible for promoting security and stability on the continent, secure protection and welfare of the population and work to peacekeeping, including missions of good offices. It is also the mission of the board, promote and implement peace-building and post conflict reconstruction.