Angola bets on FOCAC 2018

Angola, one of the main Chinese partners in Africa, is organising a high-level delegation to attend the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit in 2018, on the 3-4 September in Beijing.

The Angola presence in FOCAC is part of a unprecedented strategy of the government to raise foreign investment and credit.

Sources told CLBrief that the delegation to Beijing will be headed by President João Lourenço, marking the first anniversary of his election to the Angolan presidency, and after visits to South Africa, France, Belgium and more recently a speech in the European Parliament.

On this speech his focus was once again on the Government’s efforts to make the country more attractive to foreign investors, notably by fighting monopolies, nepotism and corruption.

The main objective of Lourenço’s visit to Beijing is to finalize talks with the Chinese authorities on China’s next funding program, mainly the projects and the amounts China could provide credit for.

The Angola high-level delegation will include Manuel Nunes Junior, Minister of State and Economic and Social Development, Archer Mangueira, Minister of Finance and Ricardo de Abreu, Minister of Transport.

The delegation will also include the new President’ Secretary for Economic Affairs, Alcino da Conceição.

Angola is the most important of the Portuguese speaking African partners with China, which since 2002 has been providing funds for infrastructure and reconstruction public projects.

The recent issuance of Eurobonds (US $ 3 billion) by the Angolan state this month prospect indicates that China is the main source of “several new credit facilities” that the authorities are already negotiating.

This is the case of a credit line with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), for infrastructure projects in Angola, valued at 11.7 billion dollars.

Under this credit line, the Angolan government is currently negotiating the terms for a 1,281.9 million dollars loan to pay for up to 85% of the contract price for the design, construction and procurement of the New Luanda International Airport.

The airport is being constructed 30 kilometers away from the capital Luanda by several Chinese companies, being China International Fund, Ltd. the main contractor.

Through the Chinese state bank that supports imports and exports from the country (ExIm Bank), Angola is also negotiating a loan for the construction of the Corimba sidewalk by the sea? in Luanda of US $ 690.2 million, for the transportation system of electrical power from the Lauchimo dam for US$ 760.4 million and for the construction of the Navun Academy base in Kalunga, Porto Amboim, worth US$ 1.1 billion.

Between 2013 and the end of 2017, data from the Angolan Government indicate that Angola’s total debt to China – bilateral and with Chinese commercial banks – went from US $ 4.7 billion to US $ 21.5 billion, equivalent to more than 60% of the total debt contracted abroad.

The Chinese authorities have shown high expectations for FOCAC 2018, which should be attended by the main heads of state of the African continent.

On 22 January, just before launching a tour of Africa prior to the 10th BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit in Johannesburg, Chinese President Xi Jinping published a signed article entitled ” For a New Era of China-South Africa Friendship”, that was printed by three South African newspapers.

“Over the past six years, our two countries (China and South Africa) have been working closely as co-chairs of Forum on China-Africa Cooperation to promote the comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership between China and Africa,” Xi said.

“We must strive for new results in our practical cooperation. We need to promote complementarity between our development strategies, and take full advantage of bilateral mechanisms, the FOCAC, the Belt and Road Initiative, the cooperation of BRICS, and other platforms to deepen cooperation in important areas such as industries, productive capacity , resources and energy, infrastructure, finance, tourism, and digital economy and bring greater benefits to our populations, “he said.

On the sideline of the BRICS summit, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that the FOCAC 2018 summit should raise the China-Africa strategic partnership to a new level.

He also said that most African leaders have already confirmed their presence in the meeting.

The previous FOCAC summit, in December 2015, took place in Johannesburg, and concluded with the launch of a package of Chinese aid to African countries worth 60 billion euros.

Strong interest in the summit has also been manifested by Guinea-Bissau, whose President, José Mário Vaz, has already confirmed his presence at FOCAC, according to the Chinese ambassador to Bissau, Jin Hongjun.

Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi also announced in Maputo that he will attend the FOCAC summit.

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