Angola: Recurrent repressive methods vs. unlimited access to mineral resources

By Serafim de Oliveira, Washington D.C

With the arrival of the Biden Administration to the White House, Angolans have an increasing expectation, especially in civil society, regarding the improvement of economic, financial,  cultural, and commercial relations between Angola and the United States.

Endemic corruption

However, the vestiges of endemic corruption remain mirrored in the faces of the most vulnerable Angolan population, i.e., older people, women, and children. Based on the 2015-2016 IIMS Multiple Indicators and Health Survey, “the incidence of poverty (H) at national level is estimated at 54.0%, that is, more than 5 out of 10 people in Angola are multidimensionally poor” (National Statistics Institute, 2020).

In the period from 2002 to 2014, the Angolan Government collected about 280 billion dollars of tax revenues from oil exploration and had a “29 billion dollars (27.5 billion euros)” of“ “net savings ” from the State ”(Da Rocha, 2015, as cited in Euronews, 2015).

And how can these data be used?

To understand and gain a sense of the current financial crisis in which we are immersed.

To ask ourselves why non-oil economic diversification measures were not implemented at that time.

To better understand the contractual terms of our Chinese public and private debt.

To question how it was possible for Xu Jinghua (Sam Pa) to accumulate about $ 30 billion in business in our construction market (Asia Times, 2007, cited in The 88 Queensway Group, 2009).

To reflect on the constant postponements of the municipal elections.

To analyze the reasons and motives of our current business environment.

More than three years after the change of government, many of us consider our path and the small and slow change that has marked the fight against corruption:

Many point to the granting of “questionable multimillion-dollar contracts” to national or foreign companies and institutions in need of a Code of Business Principles, which were customary in the previous government’s policies.

Some blame a lack of political will to create adequate human and budgetary resources; thus, they blame those accused of squandering our public purse.

Others dispute the existence of some current government leaders, who are suspected of committing various types of crimes, when carrying out their functions in the prior government.

Perpetual Guessing Game

Whatever the reasons, the use of “perpetual guessing game” is extremely dangerous for a society with an increasing level of political distrust. Lack of evidence-based policy decisions  alienates the full participation of civil society in the democratic decision-making process, combats radicalization, poverty, corruption, harmony, and social coexistence.

Today, we must question the sustainability of the repression used in our society that excludes foreign political and economic support in exchange for unlimited access to our mineral resources.

New approaches

Furthermore, new approaches to relations with African countries, including Angola,are burgeoning from the new US administration. The approaches between these nations require a candid and open dialogue, which considers the interests of the respective participants and includes beneficial opportunities for all stakeholders.

China Debt

Unfortunately, in the current state of Angolans daily life, it is almost impossible to consider the populations’ problems without mentioning the overarching public, private, and state debts to China. The Chinese use investment methods that often lack ethical considerations; they have ignored human rights violations, set up bad business environments, and endemic state corruption practices. As a result, China has created a diplomacy debt-trap for much of the African continent. 

Gain prominent position 

For American entrepreneurs to gain prominent positions in African capital markets, the Biden administration must use specialized staff with deep knowledge of culture, language, and diplomacy. The administration could encourage businesses to use strategies such as the public relations approach of John Marston’s RACE theory to develop communication and evaluation of the problem. With rigorous preparation, the collaborative approach suggested for these “wicked,” and large-scale problems could be used for the issues prohibiting growth for African countries. The possibilities depend partly on the political will of Biden and his African counterparts. Despite that four years are likely not enough to solve these problems, and there are no guarantees, with the will to approach the issues, there can be a beginning. As the saying goes, where there is a will, there is a way.

References

Instituto Nacional de Estatística (2020, July, p. 12). Pobreza Multidimensional em Angola. Accessed on 3/01/21.

https://ophi.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Angola_PM_2020.pdf

Euronews (2015, para.1, 3).Angola: Receitas de exportação de petróleo “não diversificaram” economia. Retrieved from 

https://pt.euronews.com/2015/10/30/angola-receitas-de-exportacao-de-petroleo-nao-diversificaram-economia

U.S.-China Economic & Security Review Commission (2009,July 10,pag. 17).The 88 Queensway Group A Case Study in Chinese Investors’ Operations in Angola and Beyond. 

Accessed on 3/01/21.

Saylor Academy( 2012).The Public Relations Process—RACE (, para.1 p.96). Retrieved from

Author: angolatransparency

-Impulsionar os cidadãos angolanos a questionarem como o erário público é gerido e terem a capacidade de responsabilizar os seus maus gestores de acordo com os princípios estabelecidos na Constituição da República --Boost the Angolan citizens to question how the public money is managed and have the ability to blame their bad managers in accordance with the principles laid down in the Constitution of the Republic-------------- Prof. N'gola Kiluange (Serafim de Oliveira)

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