President Lourenco Attends Business Forum During State Visit in China

During the state visit to China, Angolan President Joao Lourenco Angola and China jointly held a Business Forum on Saturday 16 March 2024. The Forum explored partnerships in petroleum, mining and agriculture.

In 2023, bilateral trade volume between Angola and China reached USD 23 billion and Angola is China’s 2nd largest trading partner in Africa, behind South Africa. However, the trade is heavily slanted with Angola exporting nearly USD 20 billion of oil to China.

In his keynote address, President Lourenco highlighted the long-standing friendship and cooperation between his country and China for more than 40 years now. It is worth noting that Angola is one of the top African oil exporters to China.

President Lourenco Delivers Keynote Address at Angola-China Business Forum
President Lourenco Delivers Keynote Address at Angola-China Business Forum

In December 2023, Angola and China signed an Agreement for the Promotion of Reciprocal Protection of Investments (APPRI). The objective of thee APPRI is to boost capital investment and bilateral economic partnerships.

Lourenco also outlined the National Development Plan (#NDP) of Angola for the period 2023-2027. The priority sectors identified in the plan consists of: Agriculture, Energy, Water, Manufacturing, Fishing, Tourism, Health, Education, Logistics and Infrastructure. In addition, the government of Angola lays particular emphasis on #Digitalization to improve efficiency and productivity.

He urged Chinese companies to explore sectors other than hydrocarbon and to examine the NDP in order to achieve new win-win partnerships.

Following a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, the two sides announced that Angola and China have elevated their bilateral ties to a Comprehensive Strategic Cooperative Partnership.

For several decades, the Angola-China economic partnership has been mainly centered around the ‘infrastructure for oil’ or Angola model. However, the model has displayed certain limitations and thus China has proposed to tweak it towards a ‘high-quality development’ model.

Currently, Angola owes China some USD 7 billion, which represents some 30% of the external public debt load. Unsurprisingly, the Angola partnership with China has come under scrutiny with critics labelling it as a ‘debt trap.’

Some of the flagship projects resulting from the China-Angola cooperation include the Benguela Railway, Caculo Cabaca Hydropower Plant and the Kilamba Kiaxi Social Housing Project.

President Lourenco expressed the wish for Chinese entrepreneurs to take full advantage of the opportunities in the Angolan economy in order to contribute to the diversification efforts away from Oil & Gas.