World Bank Group executive director for Angola, Nigeria and South Africa Bongiwe Kunene says a roundtable event taking place on September 24, will enable South African businesses and investors to explore the growth opportunities in Angola created as a result of the 2017 election of that country’s new President Joao Lourenco.
The event, sponsored by the Angolan government and World Bank Group affiliate IFC, in Angola, is aimed at presenting business opportunities to the South African private sector.
The roundtable discussion will feature the Angolan Ministers of Finance, Economy and Planning, Water and Energy, Agriculture, Fisheries, Tourism and Industry, as well as the Central Bank Governor.
As such, participants will be afforded an opportunity to direct their inquiries to highest level of government.
Kunene tells Engineering News Online that the reforms and deregulation started by Lourenco have led to several cooperation agreements between South Africa and Angola, but that neither country’s private sectors have fully exploited the new investment opportunities that have become available.
She suggests that public–private partnerships (PPPs) between South African and Angolan entities are a means of easing in new investors, who may be hesitant owing to the perception of risk.
“PPPs are a means of sharing risk for companies who have not had exposure to Angola. PPPs could eliminate a lot of questions – surrounding the availability of foreign exchange, exchange regulations and the use of land, for example.”
The South African Department of Trade and Industry reports that South Africa’s share of exports to the rest of Africa exceeds R400-billion, with Angola among the largest trading partners.
Further, trade between South Africa and Angola in 2017 amounted to R25-billion, with a large number of South African companies being invested across various Angolan sectors including the finance, agroprocessing, clothing and textiles, transportation and metals sectors.
With regard to the event on Monday, Kunene notes that the Angolan government has singled out four key sectors, namely agribusiness, fisheries, tourism and service provision, which Kunene describes both as “ready for immediate investment”, and “of strategic importance in boosting economic growth”.
She explains that Angola intends to leverage its vast natural resources and modernise its agriculture sector, as well as the associated value chain, and it is offering South African investors a “first-mover advantage” in investing in this sector which has a “huge competitive advantage in terms trade with both the Republic of the Congo, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo”.
Meanwhile, Kunene notes that the Angolan tourism sector is hindered by a centralised tourism landscape focused on the capital, Luanda. “Angola is vast, there are provinces that a lot of international tourists have never ventured toward . . . South African companies with an interest in tourism and its value chain, including marketing, could allow the sector to open up, while offering alternatives to the European hotels and service providers.”
Regarding service provision, “the one area that is of investable nature immediately is the water sector. Companies involved in water management, and bulk infrastructure works, have the opportunity to consider the sector and its growth prospects.
Moreover, the Angolan coastline, known mainly for oil production, also has a vast amount of resources, and the country is looking to stimulate its blue economy. “South African companies in this space have scope to grow alongside Angolan entities and I imagine the conversations will centre on what would it take for both countries to transition fruitfully to a blue economy.”
Kunene stresses that this event is very much a win-win situation, offering growth, cooperation and development to both Angolan and South African business and business associations.