The re-launch of cotton production is the Angolan government’s latest initiative to urgently diversifying the economy. According to the Angolan Secretary of State for Agriculture, Carlos Alberto Jaime, Japan and China are the countries that Angola is “contacting to finance the re-launch of the cotton crops in the Cassange region” – China’s support is seen as fundamental in this project.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Angolan vice presidents’ visit to the agricultural fair of Malange province, he added that 10,000 hectares of cotton are already being cultivated along the perimeter of the Capanda Agro-industrial Hub in the municipality of Cacuso, and in the Lower Cassange Region.
He noted that the business sector in Malanje has lost some momentum since the beginning of the economic crisis in 2014, which has led to lower production by agricultural companies. The minister also said, “the Ministry of Agriculture intends to leverage this segment, with a view to achieving figures previously recorded in cotton production with the participation of rural families.”
Also in the province of Kwanza Sul, a pilot project for producing cotton is being developed to supply the Africa Têxtil and Satec factories, operating in the provinces of Benguela and Kwanza Norte. Carlos Alberto Jaime reiterated the support of the ministry to rural families, by reducing the costs of agricultural inputs, in order to increase their income.
The chairman of Angolan textile company Alassola said at the end of 2017 that the company needs 11,000 tons of cotton per year so that it can start up three production lines in the first quarter of 2018. The company is currently operating at less than 15% of its installed capacity.
The government-led programme to recover, expand and equip the textile industries in Angola was financed by a Japanese government credit facility and includes three large fabric factories, Textang II, in the Luanda, Sociedade Angolana de Tecidos Estampados Comerciais (Satec), located in the province of Kwanza Norte and Alassola in Benguela.
Given the limited efforts to diversify the country’s economic fabric, global developments in the oil and gas sector will continue to influence the behaviour of Angola’s economy, according to the the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
As a result, the report said, the Angolan economic growth rate is expected to average 2.4% in the 2018-2022 period, compared with a rate of 4.7% in 2011-2015.
The EIU predicts that the growth rate of the Angolan economy will contract this year to 1.6%, compared to an estimated 2.7% for 2017, rising in 2019 to 2.3%, and in the years following growing by an annual average of 0.2 percentage points to reach 3.0% in 2022.
According to Africa Monitor Intelligence, prospects for a decline in oil production in 2018 put additional pressure on economic diversification at a time when the level of dependence of the economy on the oil sector remains high.
The ongoing change in the regulation of the oil sector is under pressure from forecasts of a significant decline in oil production in the coming years, resulting from the suspension of investments in the exploration of new fields, from the beginning of the fall of barrel prices in 2014, aggravated by factors specific to the Angolan oil industry, damaging its competitiveness.