New cooperation agreements highlight increasing closeness of Angola and China

25 July 2011

London, United Kingdom, 25 July – The latest cooperation agreements between Angola and China, signed at the end of May, show that the two countries having been growing closer and are increasingly economically interdependent, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

In its June report on the Angolan economy, the EIU noted the, “rapid expansion of commercial ties,” between Angola and China over the last few years, even to the point where, “Angola is now China’s main trading partner in Africa.”

“The two countries signed their first trade agreement in 1984, but only at the end of the civil war in 2002 did trade really take off,” the EIU analysts said.

In 2010, they said, Angola’s exports to China, mainly made up of oil, totalled US$21 billion, around 44 percent of the country’s total exports, when in 2002 they had been just US$1 billion.

At the end of May, in Luanda, Angola and China signed six cooperation agreements after a meeting of the Angolan and Chinese parliamentary leaders, António Paulo Kassoma and Wu Bangguo.

One of the documents was signed by the government of Luanda province and the consortium made up of CITIC Construction Co., Ltd. And the Urban Planning and Design Academy, both from China, to draw up the inter-municipal plan for the municipal areas of Quilamba Quiaxi and Belas.

The Angolan secretary of state for Cooperation, Exalgina Olavo Gâmboa and the deputy Chinese trade minister, Fu Ziyng, signed an agreement for economic and technical cooperation and another document for china to donate 50 million yuan (around US$7.7 million).

Documents were also signed about donations from the Chinese government of equipment and materials to the anti-malaria centre and anti-malaria medication.

The director of the Angolan National Telecommunications Institute (Itel), Américo António dos Santos, and the vice president of telecommunications group ZTE, Zhang Renjun, signed a memorandum of understanding to donate equipment to a centre for staff training.

According to the EIU; despite these agreements being, “relatively modest (…) they are symptomatic of a much larger trend,” of expansion of China-Angola economic relations.

Relations between the two countries, “will continue to expand,” the EIU projects and Luanda will continue to seek out new extensions of credit lines that Beijing has provided for the country’s reconstruction efforts.

Angola is now China’s second-largest trading partner amongst the eight Portuguese-speaking countries.

According to official figures from China’s customs service, between January and May 2011, trade totalled US$11.237 billion (1.20 percent more).

In the period, China imported goods from Angola, mainly oil, worth US$10.287 billion (0.60 percent less) and sold goods worth US$950 million (26.50 percent more).

The improvement of the country’s macro-economic situation and growth prospects led the three main ratings agencies, Moody’s, Fitch and Standard & Poor’s, to raise their rating on Angola’s debt, at a time when the government is preparing to issue debt worth an estimated US$500 million.

According to Fitch, delays in payment to state suppliers accumulated by the government in 2008 and 2009, worth a total of US$5.7 billion, where paid off in the first quarter of this year. (macauhub)