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CONTEXT AND TRENDS
When it comes to country developments, Angola is busy, with many projects in the pipeline. The government is trying to encourage foreign investors to the country....
CONTEXT AND TRENDS
When it comes to country developments, Angola is busy, with many projects in the pipeline. The government is trying to encourage foreign investors to the country. "Angola is the second largest country producing and exporting petroleum in sub-Saharan Africa," says a partner. Apart from the attractive oil and gas sector, there are also developments in the infrastructure such as roads and motorways. Industrial products are also in demand, such as fertilisers, scrap metal, cement, oil and gas equipment and machinery. "Investors come from all around the world, such as China, Russia, India, Korean and US investors," says one partner, adding, perhaps surprisingly, "but not Portuguese. They never play a role as investors, though Portuguese construction companies moved here and are doing well."
All these projects however are private now and the government has no involvement. The projects are now between banks and borrowers. It dates back to 2009, when oil prices went down, the government stopped making payments to construction companies and other services. In 2010 oil prices went up again. The government repaid its debt so the construction industry came back.
Banking in Angola is largely focused around projects. At the moment the banking sector is going through problems, changes and law reforms. First there is enforcement of guarantees. "Given the Angolan Judicial system is not that good, it doesn't always work out the way we want," says one partner. Another problem is getting finance repaid from outside the country. "It's not easy if you want to take money out," says one partner. There was the Foreign Investment law last year, which proved to be a failure. By law the amount that investors have to bring for the investment is $1 million. Angola is currently under several law reforms and banking will still take a while to reshape.
Lastly national elections are coming on August 31 2012. Firms express different opinions regarding the effect on the country's economy. "I'm almost certain the same president will be there. Everything will continue as it is." says one lawyer. "Investors are very anxious, they are keen to know how things are going with the elections," says another, adding however: "The market will continue to grow. Angola is developing, there are businesses here, we expect to grow."
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