Restoring confidence to setting up business partnerships is the aim of the new Angola-China Chamber of Commerce, whose governing bodies include important figures from Angolan society and the business world.
The institution, which is a continuation of the former Angola-China Friendship Association, established in 1995, is group of several Chinese associations in Angola, a community currently consisting of about 200,000 individuals and to stimulate business partnerships between the two countries.
In addition to a board made up of 27 Angolan and Chinese businesspeople, the Chamber’s president is Arnaldo Calado, former CEO of Angolan national diamond company Endiama, as President of the General Assembly Paulo Kassoma, former president of the National Assembly and one of its promoters is Carlos Feijó, one of Angola’s most renowned lawyers.
In an interview with Angolan newspaper Novo Jornal, Calado said that the Chamber “will act as a platform for Angolan and Chinese businesspeople.”
“It will be good to bring these Chinese private interests together with ours. We have several entrepreneurs who unfortunately lack funds, have space and ideas (…) but lack the funds,” said the head of the Chamber, referring to the credit lines opened by China.
“The most important thing in business is trust. That has not happened so far. The lack of confidence of Chinese entrepreneurs due to various situations will be minimised with the Chamber. Our partners will have our seal of approval. There is no suspicion here. This is key in business. And it is something that the Chinese did not have before,” he said.
The Chamber currently brings together over 200 Angolan companies and more than 100 Chinese companies.
The Chamber has seven strategic areas made up of the offices for food, agro-industry and fisheries; construction, housing and infrastructure; transport and logistics; banking, insurance and capital markets; tourism, housing and culture; health and education; water, energy and mineral resources; innovation, information and communication technology; trade, industry and services.
“Our time is short, we have to move fast. Over and above the time we have to prepare the studies, we have to have other elements. For example, if a Chinese investor is interested in investing in a farm in one of the provinces, we have to mention that this money will have to enter the BNA, go through the procedures and all these things that are out of our hands. As the Chamber we will put pressure on,” Calado told Novo Jornal.
“Fortunately we have a political climate that allows us to negotiate. We do not have the problems that exist in many countries. I think that despite the economic and financial crisis affecting the whole world, and also Angola, the political and legal climate, of the laws governing business in the country is considered very good,” he said.
With low oil prices dragging on that has made diversification of the economy more urgent and the “drying up” of several credit lines to stimulate economic activity, the Chinese financing has become increasingly important for Angola.
According to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), China will continue to be an important partner, which was evident in the announcement made February that US$5.3 billion of Chinese credit lines will be used to finance 155 public investment projects across the country.
According to the EIU in its latest report on Angola, the government of Luanda is expected to continue prioritising the payment of debts to China, in order to ensure the continuation of the Chinese credit. (macauhub/CN/AO)