02 August 2014, Tunis – The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Donald Kaberuka, was received recently by the President of the Republic of Angola, José Eduardo dos Santos, at the Palácio da Cidade Alta in Luanda, where discussions focused on expanding cooperation between the AfDB and the Angolan Government.
At the end of the audience, Kaberuka said it was his third visit to Angola since he became Bank President and underscored the Bank’s interest in strengthening its “strategic relationship” with Angola given the growing role and importance of the country on the African continent. During his meeting with the Angolan leader, Kaberuka discussed economic reform and development programs in Angola, with a particular focus on the country’s strategy to combat poverty.
The President of the AfDB indicated that, thanks to the deep macroeconomic reforms undertaken in Angola, the country is today one of the three strongest economies of the region, after Nigeria and South Africa, and has made significant achievements in the fight against poverty. Kaberuka said the AfDB is watching and wants to play an active part in this process.
“During the meeting we addressed very specific issues that have to do with job creation, poverty reduction, women’s empowerment and diversification of the economy, but [the focus] was very much in reducing poverty,” the Bank chairman said, noting that the Government of Angola has made a remarkable achievement that cannot be ignored, by reducing the poverty levels in the country from 60 to 38 percent.
The Angolan Government is making progress in economic reforms and infrastructure, with a view to developing industry, diversify the economy, reduce dependence on oil revenues and enhance the well-being and quality of life for the people.
“When we talk about development of infrastructures, we are talking about energy, transport and other vital sectors of an economy. We congratulate the Angolan Government’s efforts in these areas, because they are common problems in most African countries,” Kaberuka said.
Kaberuka visited the Presidential Palace in the Cidade Alta accompanied by Finance Minister Armando Manuel. The two had met hours earlier, having signed an agreement that will make it possible to inject about one billion dollars in the State budget for projects in the fields of energy.
“Today I signed a one billion-dollar agreement to support the reforms of the energy sector so that, in future, Angola can produce efficiently and comprehensively. We will work with the Ministry of Finance to support the financial and institutional reforms,” Kaberuka said. The Minister announced the first disbursement would be in the amount of $600 million.
AfDB supports reforms in Angola and the construction of infrastructure, particularly in the energy sector, acknowledging that a rapidly growing economy such as Angola’s needs reliable energy. The country aims to make reforms in the energy sector to ensure sufficient energy is available to the entire population.
The AfDB President observed that whenever he visits Angola he notes “major transformations” and he welcomed the efforts being made. “The journey is still long. On the macroeconomic front, it is important to remain vigilant to ensure that gains are sustained and there is no slippage, but it’s a good start,” said Kaberuka, who spoke of macroeconomic and fiscal reforms in the oil sector: “Angola still has many challenges, like other African countries, but we can work together to find solutions.”
Indeed, four areas of particular focus include: reducing poverty levels; addressing inequalities and accelerating human development; diversifying the economy to create more jobs; and effective management of the petroleum sector so as to maximize the benefits.
Kaberuka praised Angolan authorities and underscored the Bank’s commitment to a closer relationship and support for further projects in Angola, particularly in the power sector. One clear goal on this issue was to make the energy sector more efficient and more attractive to investment.
“Angola, as other African countries that rely heavily on oil, must step up its pace of reforms,” said the AfDB President. “The wealth of a nation is not necessarily what’s underneath the soil or sub-soil, but rather it is in the knowledge of men and women, children and youth,” he said.
During in visit in Luanda, Kaberuka paid a courtesy call to the Vice-President of the Republic, Manuel Domingos Vicente, and also met the chairman of Fundo Soberano de Angola, José Filomeno Dos Santos, with whom he discussed the Bank’s Africa50 Fund.