Editor’s Note: December 05, 2018
Angola is stirring
Norwegian prime minister Erna Solberg was in Angola on Monday. It’s the first time a sitting head of government from the Nordic country has visited Africa’s second-biggest oil producer.
This coincided with its state-controlled oil company Equinor marking the milestone of having produced 1bn barrels of crude in Angola.
While important for relations between the two, oil had little to do with the visit.
It’s an endorsement of an unlikely turnaround unfolding under the country’s president João Lourenco.
He succeeded José Eduardo dos Santos in September 2017 after 38 years in power, inheriting a legacy of nepotism and corruption that had earned Angola one of the worst reputations in Africa.
His first year in office has been defined by unexpected and sweeping changes, including anunprecedented crackdown on corruption.
The goal is to clean up Angola’s image, attract much-needed investment, and end the economy’s debilitating oil dependency.
Steps towards this include privatisation plans, a new investment law and the easing of notoriously onerous visa rules.
Much remains to be done, with the consensus among observers and investors being to wait and see if reforms can be sustained and consolidated.
But the country is stirring. Solberg’s visit, which included a Norwegian business delegation, is a good illustration of this.
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