(Reuters) The veteran leader of Angola’s largest opposition party said on Wednesday he would step down to allow someone else keep the new government of President Joao Lourenco to account.
Isaias Samakuva, who has led UNITA since 2003, said a new leader should take the party forward through the “new political cycle”.
He announced his departure a day after Lourenco was sworn in as only the third president of Angola since independence from Portugal in 1975, ending 38 years of rule by Jose Eduardo dos Santos.
Samakuva had previously said he planned to step aside, but had appeared to seesaw on the decision in recent months.
“During the campaign, I said I would leave the presidency of UNITA to serve the party in another function. I maintain and reaffirm that decision,” Samakuva told a meeting of the party.
Samakuva took over the leadership of UNITA – the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola – after the death of founder Jonas Savimbi who led the movement during 27 years of civil war.
Savimbi’s death brought peace and the transition of UNITA into a political party.
Under Samakuva’s leadership UNITA increased its proportion of the national vote from 10 percent in 2008 to 27 percent in 2017.
Among those slated to succeed him are Adalberto da Costa, who was the party’s leader in parliament under the previous administration, Rafael Massanga Savimbi, son of UNITA’s founder, and Lukamba Paulo, a former secretary general of the party who lost a leadership election against Samakuva in 2003.
(JN) O chefe de Estado português destacou o “ambiente muito caloroso” entre os dois países, “que é preciso aproveitar”.
O Presidente português, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, perspectivou hoje relações entre Angola e Portugal “muito boas”, demonstradas na ovação dada a Portugal na cerimónia de investidura do novo chefe de Estado angolano, João Lourenço.
Em declarações à imprensa, no final do acto de tomada de posse de João Lourenço, o chefe de Estado português destacou o “ambiente muito caloroso” entre os dois países, “que é preciso aproveitar”.
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, que chegou na segunda-feira a Luanda para participar desta cerimónia, considerou “impressionante” a ovação dada a Portugal, que “foi de longe a maior”.
“E não foi a mim, foi a Portugal”, salientou, destacando os laços de fraternidade entre os dois povos.
João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço foi hoje investido Presidente da República de Angola, na sequência das eleições gerais angolanas, realizadas a 23 de agosto deste ano, da qual foi vencedora o partido Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola (MPLA).
(BBG) Desperate for hard currency, Angolans are coming up with new ways to convert their kwanzas into dollars and euros.
Filipe Afonso got tired of waiting in line at a bank to exchange his kwanzas for greenbacks. So he bought two second-hand BMW motorcycles, shipped them to Portugal and sold them for euros to pay for his family’s expenses back home.
“You do what you need to do to get hard currency,” said Afonso, who runs a truck dealership on the outskirts of Luanda, the capital of the former Portuguese colony. Others travel hundreds of miles to sell diapers, flat-screen televisions or beer in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, where foreign currency is more readily available. Real estate and art are used to hedge against what many expect to be a precipitous decline in the kwanza.
Angola, Africa’s second-largest oil producer and an OPEC member, was one of the world’s fastest-growing economies for about a decade after a civil war ended in 2002. Flush with petrodollars, the government spent billions building roads, railways and other infrastructure, while skyscrapers went up across Luanda. But with the sharp drop in crude prices that began in 2014, economic growth slowed to zero last year, and foreign-exchange inflows dwindled.
Authorities are in a bind: a devaluation of the kwanza is needed to attract investment and spur exports, but that would also fuel inflation, which soared as high as 40 percent this year, in a country that imports almost all its consumer goods. Defending the currency’s peg is depleting foreign-exchange reserves, which have plunged in the past four years.
“There continues to be rumors and gossip on the streets about a potential devaluation of the kwanza, but I don’t think this will happen before the end of the year,” said Tiago Dionisio, a Lisbon-based analyst for Eaglestone Advisory SA. “Devaluation would put further pressure on consumer prices. I think the local authorities will continue to defend the kwanza at the expense of international reserves.”
The kwanza trades at 395 per dollar on the black market, almost 60 percent weaker than its official rate of around 166, where it’s been pegged since April 2016. Though the central bank has let it depreciate more than 40 percent since mid-2014, making it one of the worst-performing oil currencies in that period, analysts say it’s still too strong. Renaissance Capital said in July its fair value was 314.
“The currency remains highly overvalued,” David Earnshaw, an analyst at Fitch Group’s BMI Research, said in a Sept. 12 note. He expects the central bank to shift to a more flexible regime in 2018 and drop the kwanza more than 20 percent to 210 against the greenback.
Concerns about money laundering in the banking sector prompted foreign banks to halt dollar supplies to Angolan lenders in 2016, worsening the shortage. The new government of Joao Lourenco, who takes over as president on Sept. 21 as the 38-year rule of Jose Eduardo dos Santos ends, will have no choice but to devalue as the liquidity squeeze persists, Moody’s Investors Service said in a research note on Aug. 30.
Thousands of Chinese and Portuguese workers have already packed up and left because of difficulties in obtaining hard currency, according to the Angola-China Industrial and Commerce Association and Portugal’s Construction Sector Union. Those who have stayed behind are getting creative.
Every Wednesday, Juliol Lusol, 33, catches one of dozens of buses in Luanda that are headed to Luvo, an open-air market 348 miles to the north on the border with the Congo.
“I’m not trying to make a profit,” said Lusol, as he waited on the side of a dirt track in Luanda for a bus to load half a dozen boxes of diapers, television sets and beer. “I just want to get dollars.”
The flow of Angolan goods to Congo became so intense that last month the Congolese government imposed a six-month ban on imports ranging from cement to beer from its neighboring country.
Angola is not the only oil producer to try and defend its currency after the plunge in crude prices. Russia and Kazakhstan spent billions of dollars propping up their units before giving up and floating them. Nigeria, Africa’s biggest crude exporter, has eased some capital controls this year, but maintains several restrictions and operates a system of multiple exchange rates to protect the naira.
Angola’s foreign-exchange reserves have almost halved since 2013 to $17.5 billion, their lowest level in six-and-a-half years, a sign that access to dollars is likely to remain limited for the foreseeable future. The government has started talks with international banks about raising $2 billion through a Eurobond, which may enable it to maintain the kwanza’s peg for longer.
Nuno Gaspar, head of the Luanda-based property developer Gestimovel, is selling residential and office buildings by punting real estate’s safe-haven status.
“Most of our buyers are Angolans or Angolan companies eager to escape the possibility of a kwanza depreciation,” Gaspar, 46, said. “People with kwanzas are looking to invest in property, art, wine and even cars to avoid losing their money.”
(OBS) A consultora BMI Research estima que a economia de Angola cresça 2% este ano e 4,1% em 2018, com a inflação muito elevada e o fraco ambiente empresarial a impedirem uma recuperação mais rápida.
MANUEL DE ALMEIDA/LUSA
A consultora BMI Research estima que a economia de Angola cresça 2% este ano e 4,1% em 2018, com a inflação muito elevada e o fraco ambiente empresarial a impedirem uma recuperação mais rápida.
“Angola vai ver uma recuperação modesta no crescimento económico durante os próximos dois anos devido a uma melhoria na perspetiva de evolução do setor petrolífero; a inflação muito elevada e um fraco ambiente empresarial vão pesar na produção noutros setores da economia, negando uma recuperação mais abrangente”, escreve esta consultora do Grupo Fitch.
No relatório sobre a economia angolana no terceiro trimestre deste ano, marcado pelas eleições presidenciais deste mês, a BMI Research diz que o país vai acelerar neste e no próximo ano face aos 0,3% de crescimento registado no ano passado, “o que fica bastante abaixo da média anual de 6,8% registada entre 2006 e 2016″.
O petróleo, dizem, continua a dominar a economia, valendo 95,2% das exportações totais e 70,2% das receitas fiscais em 2016, o que significa que os movimentos no mercado internacional do petróleo vão continuar a ditar a evolução da economia angolana”.
No relatório, a que a Lusa teve acesso, os analistas afirmam que, “apesar dos ventos favoráveis oferecidos pelo setor petrolífero, a alta inflação, um fraco ambiente empresarial e a incerteza sobre o futuro do regime da taxa de câmbio pelo banco central vão garantir que o investimento continue abaixo do potencial e, em última análise, qualquer recuperação económica será curta”.
É por isso que, a seguir a um crescimento de 4,1% no próximo ano, as estimativas apontam para um abrandamento para os 2,4% em 2019 e 2020, o que é insuficiente para um país em desenvolvimento, como é o caso de Angola, o maior produtor de petróleo africano, a par da Nigéria.
Entre as vantagens do país, a BMI Research aponta os “abundantes recursos naturais, com diamantes e hidrocarbonetos”, e as estreitas ligações com a China, apresentada como “uma fonte confiável de empréstimos públicos a taxas relativamente baratas”.
Em sentido inverso, os analistas destacam a “enorme dependência estrutural do petróleo”, que vale mais de 90% do total das exportações e cerca de 70% da receita fiscal, a par da “elevada corrupção e um inóspito ambiente empresarial, que é um obstáculo aos investidores estrangeiros e nacionais”.
A nível financeiro, a análise aponta como ameaças os custos de servir a dívida externa, com taxas de juro a rondar os 10%, o que leva os analistas a preverem que “Angola se arrisca a entrar em incumprimento financeiro [‘default’, no original em inglês] se os empréstimos continuarem a este nível ou se a instabilidade política prejudicar as receitas fiscais”.
(ECO) Os resultados provisórios oficiais, divulgados esta tarde pela CNE de Angola, dão a vitória ao MPLA. A confirmarem-se os resultados, João Lourenço será o próximo Presidente da República.
A Comissão Nacional Eleitoral (CNE) de Angola já divulgou os resultados provisórios das eleições gerais para a Presidência da República. Os primeiros números oficiais apontam para a vitória do Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola (MPLA). O sucessor de José Eduardo dos Santos será, assim, João Lourenço.
Com 63% dos eleitores já escrutinados, anunciou Júlia Ferreira, porta-voz da CNE angolana, o MPLA é o partido mais votado, com 64,57% dos votos. Segue-se a UNITA, com 24,4% dos votos, e a CASA-CE, com 8,56%. A abstenção, informa ainda a CNE, terá sido de 23,17%.
Antes desta divulgação, o MPLA já tinha reclamado vitória e João Lourençodizia aguardar os resultados com confiança e tranquilidade. “Confiança na escolha do povo pelas nossas propostas e visão de país. Tranquilidade por saber que somos capazes de levar Angola a patamares cada vez mais altos de desenvolvimento”, escreveu o candidato na sua conta de Twitter. Os ex-Presidentes de Moçambique, Cabo Verde, São Tomé e Príncipe e Timor-Leste, na qualidade de observadores internacionais, já também reagiram a estes resultados provisórios, considerando as eleições “pacíficas, livres, justas e transparentes”.
Há ainda 15 assembleias de voto, de três províncias angolanas, que só vão votar no sábado. Por “situações de força maior”, como o mau tempo, não foi possível fazer a entrega de material logístico nestas assembleias de voto, afetando 1310 eleitores, que não puderam votar.
Os resultados definitivos só serão conhecidos a 6 de setembro e a tomada de posse do novo Presidente da República de Angola decorrerá a 21 de setembro.
(JE) O líder da UNITA Isaías Samakuya, afirma, em entrevista à TSF, não reconhecer a anunciada vitória do MPLA, chegando mesmo a admitir impugnar as eleições. Mas não coloca de parte uma coligação.
Depois do comunicado emitido pelo MPLA em que reclama a vitória nas eleições gerais por maioria qualificada, Isaías Samakuya, líder da UNITA, o maior partido da oposição, foi entrevistado pela TSF. Aos microfones da rádio lusa, Samakuya diz não reconhecer a vitória do MPLA, afirmando mesmo ter indicação de que o MPLA está em desvantagem na contagem dos votos, sobretudo em zonas onde há mais eleitores registados.
“As indicações que tenho são completamente diferentes. Posso dizer que há tendência que coloca o MPLA em posição de desvantagem”, começou por dizer Samakuya à TSF. “Não tenho informação clara neste momento. As indicações que tenho são satisfatórias. Vamos esperar. Devo dizer apenas que essas indicações dizem respeito a áreas bastante importantes do país, portanto com elevado número de eleitores.”
A corroborar estas afirmações estão os números divulgados à agência Lusa por Adalberto da Costa Júnior, dirigente da UNITA e membro da equipa de coordenação do centro de escrutínio do partido. Apuradas 6.150 mesas de voto, o escrutínio paralelo da UNITA coloca o MPLA com 47,60% dos votos, seguido da UNITA, com 40,20%. Atrás na contagem estão a coligação CASA-CE, com 9,15%, o PRS (1,55%), a FNLA (1,10%) e a APN (0,40%).
“Mas temos de ressalvar que já temos as atas síntese das assembleias de voto de Cacuaco e de Viana [dois dos municípios mais populosos de Luanda e do país] e do Huambo, em que os resultados são extremamente favoráveis à UNITA. Vamos aguardar pela sua inserção no sistema”, apontou Adalberto da Costa Júnior.
Impugnação e coligação
Na mesma entrevista, Samakuya alega a existência de casos de irregularidades nas eleições e admite poder vir a impugnar as eleições. “Se houver razões para isso, naturalmente que seremos levados a tomar posições que a lei permite e prevê. Mas isso tudo depende de uma avaliação adequada”, afirma o líder da UNITA.
Também não está fora de cogitação uma coligação, segundo diz Samakuya à rádio portuguesa: “Estaremos abertos a fazer essa coligação de acordo com as circunstâncias que os resultados nos apresentem. Independentemente do partido, se os resultados recomendarem uma coligação para podermos estar em maioria na assembleia nacional, naturalmente que tentaríamos esta modalidade.”
LISBON — How the roles have reversed: The colonizer, some Portuguese contend, has been colonized.
On the Portuguese coast of Cascais, where the nation’s royal court used to summer, a new 14-story condominium building looms confidently by the sea. So many of its apartments have been bought by Angola’s ruling class — sometimes a handful at a time — that the development has a nickname: the “Angolans’ building.”
Along the grandest shopping boulevard in the capital, Lisbon, Angola’s elite buy designer suits and handbags by the armful. And on one corner, above Louis Vuitton, sits the local office of Africa’s richest woman, Isabel dos Santos, a billionaire from Angola who has become one of Portugal’s most powerful figures by buying large chunks of the country’s banking, media and energy industries.
The money flowing into Portugal comes from the colony it dominated, often brutally, for hundreds of years, Angola. Now, the African nation is a major oil producer that has been led for the last 38 years by Ms. dos Santos’s father, President José Eduardo dos Santos.
Angola’s ruling class has profited so much during his tenure — and channeled so much of that money into Portugal — that when Angola threatened to cut off ties in recent years in response to reports that Angolan officials were being investigated for corruption in Portugal, Portugal’s foreign minister promptly apologized, setting off an intercontinental debate about the changing power dynamics between the nations.
“We had it in our heads that Angola was a poor country that needed to be helped,” said Celso Felipe, a Portuguese journalist and author of the book “The Angolan Power in Portugal.”
“And suddenly they were able to help us and to buy things that we cannot buy,” he said. “It was like a housekeeper buying your house. That is awkward.”
The conditions in both countries created a perfect match: As Portugal reeled from a financial crisis a few years ago, Angolans were enjoying an oil boom that provided enormous opportunities for self-enrichment by the elite, particularly the president’s family and inner circle.
Angola is often listed as one of the world’s most corrupt nations. And Portugal has been singled out for its laxness in reining in money laundering and bribery, particularly in its dealings with Angolans, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the research and policy organization of the world’s richest countries.
“In Angola, they call Portugal the laundromat,” said Ana Gomes, a Portuguese lawmaker in the European Parliament and a member of Portugal’s governing Socialist Party. “It’s because it is.”
But the two nations’ relationship has now slipped into a tense and fluid period. Oil prices are down and Portugal’s economy is reviving, leading to a tweaking in the balance of powers between the two countries. And Mr. dos Santos is due to step down after Angolans elect a new president on Wednesday, leaving the future of those who have benefited from his four decades in power — both in Angola and in Portugal — unclear.
In a case that has angered the Angolan government, Angola’s vice president, Manuel Vicente, was charged in February with paying a $810,000 bribe to a Portuguese judge to quash a corruption investigation, the furthest an Angola-related case has moved in Portugal’s judicial system. The vice president was accused of, among other things, laundering money by buying apartments in the “Angolans’ building” on the coast of Cascais. He has denied the allegations.
With billions invested in Portugal, including in some of its biggest public companies, the Angolans have bought Portuguese wineries, newspapers, sports teams and other trophies of the super rich. With Portugal giving them access to the rest of Europe and beyond, they have been catapulted, in a few short years, to the world’s jet set.
Projecting both glamour and gravitas, Ms. dos Santos, worth $3.5 billion according to Forbes, mingles with Hollywood and European celebrities, and recently gave a speech at the London School of Economics — all of which she has documented on her Instagramaccount.
In the past two years, her family has made a splash at the Cannes Film Festival: Ms. dos Santos sat in the front row of fashion shows, and Kim Kardashian cooed over a 404-carat diamond paraded at a party thrown last year by de Grisogono, the Swiss jeweler now owned by the dos Santos family.
“Thought I’d seen it all, this is the biggest diamond I’ve ever seen,” Ms. Kardashian tweeted.
Ms. dos Santos was upstaged this year at Cannes only by her younger half brother, Danilo dos Santos, who was recently granted major shares in a new Angolan bank, according to the Angolan news media as well as politicians and businessmen in Luanda, Angola’s capital. At a charityauction, Mr. dos Santos, who is in his mid-20s, made the winning bid of 500,000 euros, or about $590,000, for a collection of photographs.
In the next few hours, as video of the auction spread on social media, his spending caused widespread outrage in Angola, where poor health care contributed to a yellow fever outbreak that killed more than 350 people last year.
But in the moment, basking in the applause, Mr. dos Santos and a companion walked up to the stage and were hugged by the M.C., the star Will Smith, who shouted, “500,000 euros! Yes, yes, yes!”
Mr. Smith added, “They look way too young to have 500,000 euros.”
Scrutiny Over Investments
Angola had been at war — fighting for independence from Portugal, which came in 1975, and then locked in a civil war — for four decades by the time peace finally arrived in 2002. Peace coincided with an extended oil boom that eventually propelled Angola, with only 25 million people, to become one of the top 20 oil producers in the world.
It was an extraordinary turnaround for a country that had been dominated for centuries by Portugal, which exploited Angola for the slave trade and its natural resources, before falling into a long and costly civil war fueled by the Cold War.
Inside Angola, one of the world’s most unequal societies, half of the working population lives on less than $3.10 a day.
Meanwhile, its former colonial ruler, Portugal, suffered from a financial crisis that forced it to obtain a $111 billion bailout from international creditors and downgraded its national debt, rated junk to this day. Portugal was desperate for investment.
António Monteiro, a former foreign minister of Portugal and the chairman of the country’s largest private bank, Millennium BCP, said that investments from Angola had helped many Portuguese companies survive, including his bank.
“It was an investor that was very welcome and, in certain moments, the only investor in Portugal,” he said.
The problem was how the money was obtained.
Politicians and businesspeople in both countries say that Angola is dominated by allies of the president with tentacles in every corner of the economy, allowing them to amass great fortunes in politically connected deals under mysterious circumstances.
As Angola’s ruling elite sought to safeguard its wealth outside their country — knowing that Mr. dos Santos’s rule would eventually end — Portugal’s political and business elite more than obliged.
“If Angola was the front office of corruption, Portugal was the back office,” said João Batalha, the president of the Portuguese chapter of Transparency International.
In a scathing report, the O.E.C.D.’s working group on bribery said that Portugal’s “enforcement of the foreign bribery offense has been extremely low” — pointing out that cases involving Angola accounted for a third of all such bribery allegations against Portuguese firms. In a March report on money laundering and financial crimes, the United States State Department said, “Suspect funds from Angola are used to purchase Portuguese businesses and real estate.”
Portugal’s foreign minister, Augusto Santos Silva, said that the Portuguese judicial system investigated illicit investments without political interference. He said it had been a “mistake” for one of his predecessors, responding to news media reports that high-ranking Angolans were being investigated in Portugal, to visit Angola and apologetically take the Angolans’ side.
Still, Mr. Silva said that Angola’s growing power was a positive development. Unequal postcolonial relations, he said, would carry “the flavor of neocolonialism.”
Portuguese business leaders say that Angolan investments unfairly attract the kind of scrutiny that money from elsewhere, including China, does not.
Luis Míra Amaral — who until last year was chief executive of Banco Bic Portugal, a bank whose biggest shareholder is Isabel dos Santos — said that in Angola and some other African states, the same individuals tended to be both political and business leaders.
“It’s not realistic that a small country like Portugal would be able to change that,” said Mr. Amaral, a former Portuguese minister of industry and energy.
Mr. Amaral said that all Angolans had to “justify the money” they put into Portuguese banks by showing assets in Angola, to help prevent money laundering.
“When I see Isabel dos Santos putting money into Portugal because she has a number of big companies in Angola,” he said, pointing to her big stake in Unitel, Angola’s biggest cellphone operator, “it is easy to justify.”
“After, you can put another question: how she was able to create this company,” Mr. Amaral added with a laugh. “It’s another question. It’s not my problem as a banking manager.”
Jewels, Phones and Banking
On her Twitter account, Ms. dos Santos identifies herself with just one word: entrepreneur.
Helped by public relations officials in Lisbon, Ms. dos Santos has put forward an image of herself as a self-made businesswoman. In a 2013 interview, she told the Financial Times that she had had business sense from a young age and sold chicken eggs when she was just 6.
In a written reply to emailed questions, Ms. dos Santos told The New York Times that the egg anecdote was meant “to show that since a young age I had an entrepreneurial spirit.”
But in Angola, the story about the eggs fueled widespread ridicule and anger.
Asked whether it was possible that Ms. dos Santos’s fortune was self-made, Marcolino Moco, a former prime minister of Angola, said, “It’s possible to make us laugh. All her wealth comes from the fact that her father is the law.”
The oldest child of Angola’s president, Ms. dos Santos, 44, has gained large or controlling shares in Angola’s diamond, cellphone, banking and other industries over the years.
In her email, Ms. dos Santos said that, beginning in the early 1990s, she had started “a small beverage distribution and logistics business,” as well as a restaurant, an event production company and a walkie-talkie business.
Ms. dos Santos did not say where she had obtained the capital to invest in those businesses or in Unitel, which she now controls. She has also acquired big stakes in Portugal’s banks, the Portuguese energy giant Galp, the Portuguese telecommunications company NOS, and other businesses.
In 2015, Transparency International included Ms. dos Santos on a list of 15 cases that symbolized “grand corruption.” She responded by saying that her investments were “transparent.”
Last year, her father appointed her chief executive of Sonangol, the state oil company that the president has used over the decades to further political and business interests. A group of lawyers has tried unsuccessfully to remove Ms. dos Santos from her post, arguing that she, with no management track record or experience in the oil industry, was appointed by her father to erase evidence of her father’s embezzlement at Sonangol before he steps down.
Rui Amendoeira, a partner at Vieira de Almeida, a Lisbon law firm hired by Ms. dos Santos to help run the oil company, said he had no comment on the case or on Ms. dos Santos.
Her appointment as head of the state oil company gave Ms. dos Santos another platform internationally. In March, she was a speaker at the annual CERAWeek energy conference in Houston. In April, she spokeabout being an entrepreneur at the London Business School.
Ms. dos Santos’s critics say she has tried to gain respectability in the West by using her ill-gotten gains in Angola and laundering them in Portugal — an accusation she rejects.
“In my book respectability is not achieved by mingling with the ‘right people,’” she said in an email. “In my book respectability is something you gain and achieve through a lifetime of work, and actions worthy of esteem, coherent positive behavior, attitudes of good social standing and building a reputation with your friends and peers.”
A Continuing Inquiry
Respectability, some Angolans have found, can be acquired in Portugal — and lost.
Álvaro Sobrinho, the former chief executive of Banco Espírito Santo Angola, was born in Angola and now lives in Portugal, holding dual citizenship. In Portugal, he became the major shareholder in Sporting Lisbon, a major soccer team, and also bought two newspapers.
But he was eventually investigated by the Portuguese authorities for his role in the bank, the Angolan subsidiary of Portugal’s Banco Espírito Santo, which he headed for a decade until 2012. The bank was accused of misappropriating $5.7 billion by giving out loans — to the political elite and to Mr. Sobrinho himself — that were never repaid. Mr. Sobrinho has denied all accusations and has not been charged despite the long investigation.
But he is now regarded as a “thief” in Portugal, he said. He has sold off his newspapers. He said he had at least recovered his assets, which the Portuguese authorities had frozen for a few years. A court reaffirmed in May that the state cannot seize his assets, but prosecutors say that Mr. Sobrinho is still being investigated.
His assets include six apartments he owns with his family in Estoril Sol Residence in Cascais, the “Angolans’ building.” Brazilians, Russians and Portuguese, including some who made money doing business in Angola, also owned apartments but were never investigated for money laundering, he said.
“Only Angolans,” Mr. Sobrinho said, with bitterness.
The resentment, though, did not detract from his enjoyment of his apartments (“very beautiful, you can see the sea”) or of Cascais (“an amazing place”).
(BBG) Angolans began voting in an election that will bring about the first leadership change in almost four decades for Africa’s second-biggest oil producer.
“D-day has arrived,” Domingos Francisco said Wednesday as he stood in line behind dozens of voters outside a blue tent that served as a polling station in the Rangel neighborhood in Luanda, the capital. “I arrived at 5 a.m. because I was anxious to vote.” Balloting started at 7 a.m. and is scheduled to end at 6 p.m.
Jose Eduardo dos Santos, Africa’s second-longest serving ruler who led Angola through a civil war, an oil-fueled boom and a bust, is stepping down after 38 years in power. Defense Minister Joao Lourenco, the ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola’s presidential candidate, is widely expected to win the vote, according to Ricardo Soares de Oliveira, an Oxford professor and the author of a postwar study on Angola.
A defeat of the ruling party is “almost unimaginable,” Soares de Oliveira said in an emailed response to questions. “The most probable outcome remains an MPLA victory, but with a much enhanced performance by the opposition.”
Dos Santos, 74, is credited for rebuilding Angola with income from oil through glitzy infrastructure projects. At the same time, some of his family members accumulated fortunes, while a third of the population still lives in poverty, according to the World Bank. His eldest daughter, Isabel, is Africa’s richest woman, with an estimated wealth of $2.3 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Lourenco made the fight against corruption and poverty the centerpiece of his campaign. If elected, he will face the challenge of reversing the worst downturn since the country emerged from civil war in 2002, according to Manuel Alves da Rocha, chief economist at the Catholic University of Angola in Luanda.
“It’s not enough to say there’s a need to improve the economy and the financial sector,” Alves da Rocha said. “We need concrete measures because the situation is serious.”
The Angolan economy, sub-Saharan Africa’s third-largest, has been crippled by oil prices that have halved since mid-2014 and led to zero growth for 2016, an inflation rate of 30 percent and a shortage of dollars. Angola depends on oil for more than 90 percent of its export earnings.
Lourenco, a 63-year-old army general, may have limited room for maneuver if he is given the keys to the presidential palace overlooking the bay of Luanda. Dos Santos will remain MPLA chairman until at least 2018 and is likely to influence politics even after he steps down.
Still, “it’s normal” to expect that things will change, General Manuel Helder Vieira Dias Jr., an influential minister of state who is widely known by his nickname Kopelipa, said in an interview Wednesday. “Portugal isn’t the same Portugal it was 10 years ago, England isn’t the same as it was 10 years ago and, naturally, Angola’s future will also be different.”
Six parties are competing for 220 seats in parliament and the person heading the list of candidates for the winning party becomes president for a five-year term. About 9 million of Angola’s estimated 27 million people have been registered to vote, and the results have to be announced within 15 days, according to the National Electoral Commission.
Officials from the main opposition party, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola, and the smaller opposition party, Casa-CE, have questioned the neutrality of the electoral commission. They’ve also accused state media of giving too much airtime to the ruling party, criticized the geographic allocation of polling stations and complained of difficulties registering opposition officials to monitor the vote.
Unita, which lost the civil war against the MPLA, has threatened to hold protests if it considers the elections unfair but excluded a return to armed conflict. “We’ve seen what war is,” Unita leader Isaias Samakuva said at his party’s final campaign gathering.
Dos Santos, flanked by his wife and dozens of bodyguards, didn’t speak to the media when he arrived in a black Mercedes-Benz to cast his vote at a school in downtown Luanda.
The voting process was going smoothly and there were no incidents reported, according to Manuel Pinto da Costa, a member of a team of election observers for the Community of Portuguese Language Speaking Countries.
(Economist) The ruling party will probably win the coming election, but corruption is weakening it.
IT IS fitting that the black-and-red flag of Angola is hardly distinguishable from that of its ruling party. The People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) has led the country since independence from Portugal in 1975. At the parliamentary election in 2008 it won 82% of the vote; in 2012 it won 72%. Few doubt it will win again when Angolans go to the polls on August 23rd.
Many Angolans credit the MPLA with bringing peace to the country after nearly three decades of civil war that ended in 2002. The party then presided over an oil-fuelled boom, with annual GDP growth averaging 7.2% between 2003 and 2015. New roads, railways and other infrastructure won it the support of voters. But just in case, the party is also accused of beating opponents, bribing local chiefs and keeping a tight grip on the media.
There are signs, though, that the MPLA’s stranglehold on Angolan politics is loosening. Its leader, José Eduardo dos Santos, is stepping down as president after 38 years in power. His handpicked successor, João Lourenço, does not have the same standing within the party—nor does he inspire the same fear in its opponents. Moreover, 66% of the country’s 28m people are under 25. Many will be voting for the first time. With little memory of the war, they tend to be more cynical about the MPLA.
The party’s lustre has faded as the low price of oil turned Angola’s boom into a bust. In April the official statistics agency reported that GDP shrank by nearly 4% last year (it has since removed the figure from its website). The unemployment rate hovers above 20%. Foreign firms are leaving the country because of a shortage of hard currency. On the streets of Luanda, the capital, a dollar changes hands for more than double the official rate. Many Angolans wonder why the country’s oil wealth has not made them better off.
A big part of the answer is corruption. According to reports, the government is unable to account for billions of dollars in public funds over the past decade. In 2012 the IMF documented shoddy book-keeping at Sonangol, the national oil company. Anti-corruption investigators in China have probed its deals with Angola—and made arrests. Big oil-for-infrastructure contracts, often involving Mr dos Santos’s inner circle, seem to be deliberately opaque. The country ranks 164th of 176 on the Corruption Perceptions Index compiled by Transparency International, a watchdog.
Still, few Angolans seem to be giving up on the MPLA. Polling data are fuzzy, but a survey conducted in July, before serious campaigning began, found that 61% of them plan to vote for the party. It is expected to lose support in Angola’s cities and may even lose most of the seats in Luanda, where the party was founded. The National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), the MPLA’s civil-war adversary and the main opposition party, and CASA-CE, a coalition of parties formed in 2012 by a former UNITA leader, stand to benefit. CASA-CE’s push for political and economic reforms is resonating with young urban voters.
The largest party in parliament selects the president, so Mr Lourenço, a former defence minister, will certainly get the job. He enjoys strong ties to the army, but some question whether he has the clout to clean up the government and implement much-needed reforms. He was not the first choice of Mr dos Santos, who is said to have wanted a successor from his own inner circle. Opposition from within the party forced him to back away from that plan. But he is not completely giving way to Mr Lourenço. Though he is stepping down from the presidency, he will continue to lead the MPLA. His eldest son will still run Angola’s sovereign-wealth fund, while his daughter heads Sonangol.
“The MPLA needs to free itself of the control of dos Santos,” says Marcolino Moco, who served as Mr dos Santos’s prime minister and is now a critic of the government. But without a strong mandate, Mr Lourenço may find it difficult to do what is necessary. The government must devalue the currency, say analysts. Fast-rising debt, which helped the government maintain spending in the run-up to the election, may force Angola to ask the IMF for help. For any benefits to trickle down to the masses, Mr Lourenço must tackle corruption. To do that, he must stand up to the elite in his own party.
(Reuters) Angolans voted in a parliamentary election on Wednesday expected to usher in the ruling party’s defense minister as the first new leader of Africa’s second-biggest oil producer for 38 years.
Joao Lourenco, who has pledged to boost growth and fight corruption, would inherit an economy mired in recession as gaping inequality, soaring inflation and high unemployment squeeze poor Angolans who have benefited little from a decades-long oil boom.
The People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), which has ruled Angola since independence from Portugal in 1975, is expected to remain in power but with a reduced majority. Its support has waned due to widespread political cronyism, though many Angolans remain loyal to the party that emerged victorious from 27 years of civil war in 2002.
“I’ve been following the party (MPLA) all my life. I grew up with it,” 33-year-old bakery owner Telma Francisco told Reuters outside a polling station in the capital.
“The other parties don’t have the capacity to govern.”
Voters like Francisco waited in orderly queues on a cloudy morning in the capital Luanda as police and military manned street corners.
Lourenco, a quiet man more used to army barracks and the closed doors of party politics than the public spotlight, voted at the Luanda state university at 9 a.m. (0800 GMT), only stopping to praise a smooth electoral process.
Questions have been raised as to how much power Lourenco, 63, will have if he wins, given veteran leader Jose Eduardo dos Santos, 74, will continue as head of the MPLA and have potentially a sweeping say over decision-making.
His daughter, Isabel, heads national oil producer Sonangol and his son José Filomeno is in charge of the $5 billion state investment fund. A recent law gives immunity to dos Santos.
“Even if he wanted to, Lourenco may find it difficult to free himself from the control of dos Santos,” said Julia Westbury, Africa analyst at West Sands Advisory.
“Large-scale political change is unlikely, and the long awaited democratic reforms needed to turn Angola’s struggling economy around are unlikely to materialize.”
Joao Lourenco, presidential candidate for the ruling MPLA party, waits to cast his vote in Luanda, Angola, August 23, 2017.Stephen Eisenhammer
Lourenco on Tuesday dismissed suggestions he would be a puppet president, saying he would focus on leading an “economic miracle”, possibly with the help of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, and prosecute corrupt politicians.
Angola’s economy is highly vulnerable to the price of oil. The IMF projects relatively minimal growth for the next two years and a continuing current account deficit.
Dos Santos, Africa’s longest-ruling president behind Equatorial Guinea’s Teodoro Obiang Nguema, will step down after guiding the OPEC-member from Marxism to capitalism while embracing Chinese oil-for-infrastructure investment.
The MPLA’s main opponent will be its former civil war foe, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), while young voters have been lured by CASA-CE, which was formed in 2012 on a promise to disrupt 50 years of two-party politics.
Joao Lourenco, presidential candidate for the ruling MPLA party, speaks at a media conference in Luanda, Angola, August 22, 2017.Stephen Eisenhammer
“Today is a day of festivities, happiness, peace and of responsibility and I trust in the Angolan people that we have the conditions to bring change,” CASA-CE presidential candidate Abel Chivukuvuku said prior to casting his vote.
More than two-thirds of Angolans are below 25 so many people will be voting for the first time.
“We’re voting for change,” said 19-year old Joao Costa, who like most people who oppose the authoritative MPLA declined to say who he voted for.
Others were sticking by the ruling party.
“The opposition is a joke,” said out-of-work decorator Francisco, 32, declining to give his surname. “The MPLA is the only party that can change things and with a new candidate for president I think he can do a better job”
An unofficial result is expected by Friday. But there may be no formal announcement for two weeks as ballot boxes wend their way along pot-holed roads and dirt tracks in a country of 28 million spread across an area twice the size of France.
There are concerns about how fair the vote will be after the government cracked down on recently planned public demonstrations. UNITA has said it will lead protests if it believes the MPLA has manipulated results.
Angola has been largely peaceful since the end of a Cold War-era conflict between the MPLA, backed by the Soviet Union, and UNITA, supported by the United States and South Africa.
(Reuters) João Lourenço, Angola’s ruling party candidate for president, said on Tuesday he would not be hamstrung by his powerful predecessor if he wins election as he pledged to revive Africa’s third largest economy and tackle rampant corruption.
Speaking the day before a general election that will see the first change in president for 38 years, Lourenço said he wanted to lead an “economic miracle” and would consider seeking help from the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund.
Lourenço is widely expected to win Wednesday’s vote, though it remained uncertain whether his party, facing discontent over the state of the economy and allegations of graft, would secure the two thirds majority needed to govern alone.
The ruling People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) won 72 percent of the vote at the last election in 2012.
Questions remain about how much control Lourenço would have if he wins the presidency, given that veteran leader Jose Eduardo dos Santos will continue as head of the MPLA and have potentially sweeping powers over decision-making.
Dos Santos’ family hold top jobs with his daughter, Isabel, heading national oil producer Sonangol, and his son José Filomeno in charge of the state investment fund.
“I think I will have all the power. I only wouldn’t have all the power if there were two presidents of the country, which is not the case,” Lourenço told foreign media in Luanda.
In a rare press conference, Lourenço made clear that his priority would be to fix the economy which, after years of rapid growth, contracted 3.6 percent last year as Africa’s second largest oil producer was hit by a fall in crude prices.
Unemployment is officially over 20 percent, while a shortage of foreign currency has forced firms to pull back operations. Analysts expect Angola to devalue its currency by the end of the year and potentially seek help from the IMF.
“We will have to resolve this problem (the economy) in some way … It is not ruled out negotiating also with the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund,” Lourenco said.
The former defense minister, who joined the MPLA in his early 20s during the violent struggle for independence from Portugal, promised to combat graft but stopped short of offering unreserved help to international prosecutions against Angolans which he said were sometimes politically motivated.
In one such case, a judge in Portugal has ruled that Angolan Vice President Manuel Vicente should stand trial on corruption and money laundering charges.
Asked whether he could guarantee that under his government, graft would be prosecuted even among the political elite, Lourenço said: “That guarantee I give…The law is for everyone.”
But it was to the economy Lourenço kept returning, promising to develop agriculture and tourism in a bid to diversify away from a reliance on oil. “I would like to pass into history as the man of the economic miracle of Angola…That’s my mission.”
(JE) As eleições angolanas são amanhã e a escolha do novo presidente é importante para a estabilidade política e recuperação económica do país onde Portugal tem participações no sector financeiro. E vice-versa.
Os bancos angolanos com accionistas portugueses e os investimentos angolanos em Portugal aguardam com expectativa o desfecho das eleições de quarta-feira. A estabilidade política é um factor essencial para as relações empresariais e económicas e o sector financeiro é particularmente sensível ao contexto político e económico.
Os investimentos dos bancos portugueses em Angola tem estratégias diferentes. Alguns são para manter, nomeadamente nos casos do BCP e da Caixa. O banco liderado por Nuno Amado ficou em Angola com 22,5% daquele que é hoje o Millennium Atlântico, após a fusão do Millennium Angola com Banco Privado Atlântico.
A CGD, por sua vez, através da Partang, tem 51% do Banco Caixa Geral Angola e Paulo Macedo já disse que esta participação é para manter. Neste banco, a Sonangol tem 24% (mais 1%, através da Sonangol Holding), enquanto os empresários moçambicanos Jaime Freitas (12%) e António Mosquito (12%) detêm o restante capital.
Mas há outros bancos onde as participações de grupos portugueses são para reduzir. O BPI, que tem agora 48,1% do BFA, não tem para já nenhum projecto de venda dessa participação, mas o Banco Central Europeu recomenda que o CaixaBank deverá ter um plano de desinvestimento no Banco Fomento Angola. O Montepio, por sua vez, está à espera de concretizar a já há muito anunciada passagem do Finibanco Angola para a holding Arise.
Neste caso, estão a ser negociadas as participações que os vários parceiros terão na holding, revelou uma fonte ao Jornal Económico. Só depois de definidas essas posições serão os pedidos formais enviados aos reguladores dos diversos países, incluindo para o Banco Nacional de Angola.
O Montepio, Norfund, FMO e Rabobank anunciaram há mais de um ano que vão constituir uma holding que aglutina as participações de instituições que detêm no mercado africano.
O Montepio – maior accionista do Finibanco Angola – irá assim transferir para a holding africana, a Arise, a sua participação de 51%, bem como os 44,53% que detém no Banco Terra, em Moçambique, reduzindo por essa via a exposição ao mercado angolano. O processo está atrasado, mas fonte do Montepio explicou que esta operação não está dependente de autorizações políticas nem está condicionada por decisões que tenham de esperar a tomada de posse do novo executivo angolano, como é o caso do investimento da Sonangol no BCP. Neste caso, e tal como avançou o “Negócios”, a decisão de reforço da Sonangol no BCP está à espera do novo presidente angolano.
O prazo para a Sonangol reforçar a sua participação acionista no BCP está a esgotar-se, pois o BCE concedeu uma autorização à petrolífera angolana para reforçar no BCP até 30%, na sequência de um pedido da Sonangol na altura em que os chineses da Fosun entraram no capital do banco português, mas essa autorização está condicionada a um prazo: o reforço tem de ser feito até dezembro de 2017.
Portugal perde peso na banca de Angola desde 2008
A perda de peso dos bancos portugueses em Angola começou em 2008, quando o governo de José Eduardo dos Santos determinou que 49,9% do capital bancos não angolanos teria de ser vendido a investidores locais.
Mais tarde, em 2014, a Comissão Europeia publicou uma lista de 17 países terceiros com regulamentação e supervisão equivalentes às da União Europeia (UE). Angola não foi incluída nessa lista devido ao elevado risco que este mercado representa. Sem esse reconhecimento, as exposições dos bancos europeus a esses países consomem mais capital, obrigando a repensar a estratégia perante aqueles mercados. Foi por esse motivo que o BPI foi obrigado a deixar de ser o accionista maioritário do BFA, onde detinha 50,1%, vendendo 2% à Unitel, a operadora angolana controlada por Isabel dos Santos.
O Banco de Portugal já assumiu que está a ajudar Angola a ser reconhecida como tendo uma supervisão bancária equivalente à europeia. “O Banco Nacional de Angola solicitou ao Banco de Portugal, no último trimestre de 2016, apoio nos domínios de regulação e supervisão bancárias”, indica a autoridade portuguesa liderada por Carlos Costa no relatório anual da actividade de cooperação relativo a 2016. Tudo isto com vista “a apoiar as autoridades angolanas no processo de reconhecimento da equivalência face aos requisitos de supervisão e regulação em vigor na União Europeia, actuando na supervisão (micro) prudencial e na prevenção do branqueamento de capitais e no financiamento do terrorismo”.
Portanto um dos desafios do próximo governo de Luanda é convencer o BCE a reconhecer que os bancos angolanos podem estar sujeitos a uma supervisão bancária equivalente à europeia.
Novo governo angolano nova política de investimentos no exterior?
Nesta altura a Sonangol tem 15,24% do BCP, ou seja a preços de mercado (0,2285 euros) valem 526,8 milhões de euros (a capitalização bolsista é de 3.453,55 milhões de euros dado o preço de mercado e o facto de o banco ter 15,1 mil milhões de acções), ligeiramente acima do valor contabilizado no fim de 2007. Mas entretanto os angolanos investiram nos aumentos de capital sucessivos que o banco fez, pelo que não se consegue calcular a perda potencial face ao investimento, apenas com estes dados.
A Sonangol detinha no fim de 2016 um total de 140.454.871 ações do BCP, na sequência do aumento do capital do banco e do reagrupamento de acções, que implicou que cada lote de 75 acções passasse a representar uma única acção do Millennium bcp, ao justo valor de 150,43 milhões de euros, o que se traduzia numa perda potencial face ao valor registado em 2007 de 375,2 milhões de euros.
A petrolífera estatal angolana entrou no capital do BCP em 2007, e no fim desse ano tinha 180.000.000 acções ao justo valor de 525,6 milhões de euros.
Hoje, se a Sonangol quiser reforçar para 20% no BCP, de modo a aproximar-se da posição da Fosun, até ao fim do ano, terá de investir 164,4 milhões a este preço de mercado (0,2285 euros por ação).
A questão que se pode pôr é se a mudança de executivo altera a estratégica de investimento no exterior, nomeadamente em Portugal. Não é apenas no BCP que há capitais angolanos.
Cinco bancos angolanos em Portugal
Existem actualmente cinco bancos com capitais angolanos a operar no mercado português: Banco EuroBIC, liderado por Fernando Teixeira dos Santos; Atlântico Europa, liderado por Diogo Cunha, Banco Angolano de Investimentos Europa (BAI Europa), que tem Tavares Moreira como ‘chairman’; e o Banco de Negócios Internacional Europa (BNI Europa). Existe ainda um escritório de representação do Banco Angolano de Negócios e Comércio (BANC).
Isabel dos Santos detém 42,5% do BIC Portugal (agora EuroBiC) e participações significativas na Galp Energia e no grupo NOS, operador de telecomunicações e media.
O terceiro maior accionista do banco fundado por Carlos Rodrigues, o Banco BiG, com uma participação de cerca de 10%, é a World Wide Capital de Hélder Vieira Dias, conhecido como general Kopelipa. Já a Edimo, que será de um enteado de Manuel Vicente, antigo presidente da Sonangol e actual vice-presidente da Angola, tem 4,62% da instituição.
O Banco BNI Europa é do Banco BNI (Angola). Mário Moreira Palhares, ex-vice-governador do Banco Nacional de Angola, é o presidente e maior accionista do BNI em Angola. O “Expresso” avançava que os filhos de José Eduardo dos Santos (Tchizé dos Santos e José Eduardo Paulino dos Santos) eram também accionistas. O jornal angolano Expansão dizia que a BGI, empresa do grupo cervejeiro francês Castel faz agora parte dos accionistas do BNI com 10%.
Sem agências ou balcões, o BNI Europa funciona num terceiro andar da praça Marquês de Pombal e foca-se essencialmente na banca online.
O Banco Atlântico Europa é outra das instituições financeiras angolanas em Portugal. Foi constituído em 2009, sendo detido em 89,5% pelo Atlântico Financial Group, 7% pelo Banco Millennium Atlantico (instituição que resultou da fusão entre o Millennium Angola e o Privado Atlantico) e 3,5% pelo Nasoluma. Carlos Silva é presidente do Conselho de Administração do Atlântico Europa, e vice-presidente do BCP.
O Banco BAI Europa, iniciou a sua actividade em Portugal a 2 de Fevereiro de 1998 como sucursal do BAI, Banco Angolano de Investimentos (ex – Banco Africano de Investimentos) com sede em Luanda-Angola. Em 1 de Setembro de 2002 por alteração do seu estatuto jurídico de sucursal para filial, nasceu o Banco BAI Europa, instituição financeira de direito português, regulada pelas normas do Banco de Portugal ao abrigo da legislação da União Europeia. O principal accionista é o Banco Angolano de Investimentos que detém mais de 99,9% do capital social do Banco BAI Europa. O banco tem Tavares Moreira como ‘chairman’ e como administradores executivos António Pinto Duarte, Osmar Guerra e Henrique Carvalho da Silva.
Quer no Atlantico Europa quer no BAI Europa surgem referências à ligação à Sonangol, mas sem especificar a forma da ligação à petrolífera.
(ECO) Kinguilas, roboteiros ou zungueiros. São os vários nomes dados às vendedoras de moedas nas ruas de Luanda. Um negócio que já não é rentável pela escassez de kwanzas e dólares neste mercado paralelo.
Kinguilas, roboteiros ou zungueiros. São nomes diferentes para identificar o mesmo: são pessoas que se dedicam ao negócio das moedas na rua, o chamado mercado informal. Em Angola, com o país em crise devido à queda do petróleo que fez afundar a economia, arrasando o valor da divisa do país, o kwanza, o negócio das kinguilas prosperou: o dólar chegou a valer quase quatro vezes mais que a divisa angolana nas ruas. Mas já nem o mercado negro consegue resistir. Não há dólares, nem kwanzas, reflexo das restrições de capital.
Angola é um dos países fortemente dependentes da evolução do petróleo. O “ouro negro” corresponde a 30% do PIB, a 50% das receitas públicas e 95% das exportações totais. Por isso, a quebra dos preços da matéria-prima para os 50 dólares acabou por pressionar a economia, arrastando a moeda nacional para mínimos. O Banco Nacional de Angola (BNA) permitiu que a divisa desvalorizasse perto de 20% face ao dólar nos últimos 12 meses. Neste momento, são precisos 166 kwanzas para comprar um dólar, segundo a taxa de câmbio oficial. E é possível que esta desvalorização continue, sobretudo depois das eleições de 23 de agosto.
Precisa de 166 kwanzas para comprar um dólar
O governador do Banco Nacional de Angola garantiu que o banco central não vai considerar desvalorizar ainda mais a divisa ou fazer alterações ao regime cambial. Segundo a Reuters, Valter Filipe disse que a estabilidade do sistema financeiro depende do controlo das taxas de juro e do abrandamento da inflação, que acelerou mais de 40%. E condena o mercado paralelo de venda de dinheiro, feito pelas kinguilas. “Não podemos ter, no nosso país, determinadas ruas que definem a referência do preço, onde se vendem dólares ou euros. Não podemos ter este nível de fluxo financeiro no mercado informal, que tem um grande impacto sobre o sistema financeiro.”
Não podemos ter, no nosso país, determinadas ruas que definem a referência do preço, onde se vendem dólares ou euros. Não podemos ter este nível de fluxo financeiro no mercado informal, que tem um grande impacto sobre o sistema financeiro.
Há um mercado de venda de dinheiro, que acontece em plena luz do dia nas ruas de Angola e que ganhou força à medida que o kwanza perdeu o brilho. No mercado paralelo, são necessários 390 kwanzas para comprar um dólar. A moeda norte-americana está, por isso, a ser “transacionada” ao dobro da taxa de câmbio oficial. Isto num cenário em que as casas de câmbio praticamente não vendem dólares e o envio de remessas para o estrangeiro por transferência bancária apresenta vários constrangimentos, nomeadamente atrasados nas autorizações do BNA.
Na origem das dificuldades está a crise económica, financeira e cambial que afeta Angola, provocada pela quebra na cotação do barril de crude no mercado internacional, o que fez reduzir para menos de metade as receitas fiscais com a exportação de petróleo. Como consequência, os dólares começaram a desaparecer. Em novembro, obanco central começou a limitar o acesso aos dólares, restringindo o montante que disponibilizava aos bancos comerciais.
Sem dólares, os bancos comerciais começaram a limitar os levantamentos ao balcão, mesmo de contas em moeda estrangeira, tornado o mercado de rua como única alternativa. Mas nem este negócio das kinguilas é tão rentável como antes. Não há kwanzas nem dólares nas ruas, atirando estas cambistas do mercado negro para outros negócios obscuros. E a cotação não oficial está estabilizada. As taxas de câmbio tocaram quase os 600 kwanzas por cada dólar em agosto e julho do ano passado, depois de máximos de 630 kwanzas em junho, face à falta de dólares nos bancos. Agora estão a a pouco mais de metade.
(Reuters) An Angolan opposition party, CASA-CE, said on Monday it will use a computer program to minimize the chances of ballot-rigging in next Wednesday’s election.
The country’s main two opposition parties, National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) and Broad Convergence for the Salvation of Angola – Electoral Coalition (CASA-CE), have complained of irregularities in the electoral process.
The People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), which has ruled Angola since independence from Portugal in 1975, is expected to win this week’s election.
CASA-CE’s program, presented to media in Luanda on Monday, will calculate results based on data from delegates at polling stations.
This will enable them to pick up potential discrepancies, such as between votes cast and numbers of registered voters at polling stations, its supporters say.
CASA-CE said it will have members at each polling station to observe voting and will be able to release its results through social media as they become available – meaning it might publish results ahead of the official announcement.
A spokesperson for the National Electoral Commission (CNE), which has promised the vote will be fair, had no immediate comment to make.
“Our system will not just allow us to verify the process, but Angolans and the world can verify what is happening here,” said Leonel Gomes, secretary general of the CASA-CE.
It remains unclear whether the electoral commission will release results to party delegates at polling stations or process them regionally.
With Angola in the midst of an economic crisis caused by a fall in oil prices, opposition parties sense a political opportunity.
The CASA-CE, founded just months before the previous election in 2012, believes it can build on the 6 percent it secured then, drawing support from younger voters disenfranchised by Angola’s main parties which fought on opposite sides in the 27-year civil war.
Some polling forecasts shows CASA-CE overtaking UNITA.
“We were not aggressors in the civil war … The youth which suffered a lot, especially the older ones, with the problems of the war, look for a modern political force,” said Andre Mendes de Carvalho, CASA-CE’s candidate for vice-president.
The CASA-CE has promised to fight corruption, improve literacy through better education and reform healthcare.
Angolan ruler Jose Eduardo dos Santos will keep his grip on power if his party wins elections this month, even as he steps down as president after 38 years in office, according to the country’s main opposition leader.
The ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola has picked 63-year-old Defense Minister Joao Lourenco as its presidential candidate for the Aug. 23 vote. Dos Santos will remain the party’s chairman and has appointees in the security services that will probably stay in their posts under a new law passed by parliament last month.
After decades as president, Dos Santos is now set to direct the government from behind the scenes, according to Isaias Samakuva, head of the opposition National Union for the Total Liberation of Angola, or Unita.
“Lourenco will be just a chauffeur, with the boss sitting in the back seat and directing him where to turn, when to accelerate, to slow down and when to stop,” Samakuva said in an Aug. 15 interview in the capital, Luanda. “Lourenco didn’t win his candidacy via a contest or party election.”
Sergio Luther Rescova, a spokesman for the MPLA, as the ruling party is known, didn’t respond to calls seeking comment.
Dos Santos, 74, steered the country through a protracted civil war against Unita and oversaw an oil boom that made it sub-Saharan Africa’s third-biggest economy. But he’s been criticized for enabling family members and allies to accumulate massive fortunes, while not doing enough for those who languish in poverty.
With an estimated net wealth of $2.3 billion, the president’s eldest daughter, Isabel, is Africa’s richest woman, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. At the same time, Angola’s child and maternal mortality rates are among the highest in the world, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund.
During its campaign, the MPLA has vowed to improve the lives of ordinary Angolans and fight corruption. Unita has pledged to offer Angolans a “new life,” saying it wants to steer the country in a different direction.
Angola, which depends on oil for more than 90 percent of its export earnings, is struggling to recover from a drop in crude prices. After expanding for 14 consecutive years, the economy posted zero growth last year. Lourenco told the Washington Post in an interview earlier this year that the government should invest in agriculture, cattle raising and fisheries to reduce its reliance on oil.
Founded in 1966, Unita was a rebel group that fought the MPLA during the civil war before abandoning armed struggle at the death of its leader, Jonas Savimbi, who was killed by government troops in 2002. Samakuva, 71, came to head the party a year later. Unita lost general elections to the MPLA in 2008 and 2012. Next week, the ruling party is expected to win with 61 percent of votes, according to a poll posted on the website of the Institute Jean Piaget of Benguela in Portugal.
Samakuva has said that opposition parties are struggling to make their voices heard in Angola’s state-owned media, which gives more airtime to the MPLA. In the interview, he questioned the independence of the National Electoral Commission because 10 of the 17 officials in the commission have been appointed by the MPLA.
“Whatever decision needs to be taken on any issue, they’ll have an absolute majority,” Samakuva said.
Julia Ferreira, a spokeswoman for the electoral commission, wasn’t immediately available for comment.
Asked whether Unita will accept the outcome of the poll should it result in defeat by the ruling party, Samakuva replied: “Only if that is the will of the people expressed in the ballots.”
(ECO) Deterioração das perspetivas económicas e gradual aumento do peso da dívida pública justificam corte da classificação.
AStandard and Poor’s (S&P) baixou para B- a classificação de Angola, argumentando que o país está a enfrentar a deterioração das perspetivas económicas e um gradual aumento do peso da dívida pública.
A agência de notação financeira já havia advertido para o risco da descida por causa dos preços mais baixos do petróleo e os seus efeitos sobre a economia do país. Agora, a S&P decidiu baixar para B- com perspetiva estável a classificação do país, apesar de Angola permanecer com liquidez financeira superior a países em situação semelhante, referem os analistas.
“A perspetiva estável reflete a nossa visão de que o défice continuará a ser elevado, mas pode ser financiado sem afetar significativamente as reservas cambiais do país“, consideram os analistas da S&P, de acordo com o relatório a que a Lusa teve acesso.
“Reduzimos nossas expectativas sobre o ritmo de crescimento económico de Angola. O desempenho das receitas fiscais do país está abaixo das nossas expectativas anteriores e os custos do serviço da dívida estão a aumentar”, refere ainda a agência, salientando que o setor bancário permanece fraco. “Alguns bancos estaduais importantes estão a passar por processos de reestruturação, colocando riscos adicionais ao governo”, pode ler-se no relatório da agência.
Para uma subida do rating, a S&P considera relevante que o futuro governo aprove “reformas económicas que permitam um crescimento económico mais rápido”.
A classificação atual reflete, segundo os analistas, o aumento rápido dos custos da dívida pública, para o qual contribuiu o “maior endividamento do governo no mercado interno para financiar o défice fiscal”, num contexto em que “as receitas do petróleo ainda são fracas”.
Para a agência, o pagamento da dívida custará mais de 15% das receitas fiscais do país, quando esse valor era de apenas sete por cento em 2015.
As restrições da oferta em moeda estrangeira diminuíram o dinamismo do setor não-petrolífero, que representa 60% do Produto Interno Bruto de Angola, nomeadamente na área do retalho e da construção, alerta ainda a agência de notação.
(Xinhua) Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos has officially inaugurated the construction of the Caculo Cabaca Hydropower Project in Dondo, Angola.
Addressing the opening ceremony on Friday, Angolan Minister of Energy and Water Resources Joao Baptista Borges said the project, the largest of its kind being built in the country, is crucial to the economic construction of Angola in the future.
“It will solve the power shortage in Angola and play an active role in increasing employment of the country,” he said, adding that the Angola government felt grateful to the Chinese government and Chinese enterprises for their support to the development of Angola.
Located at the North Kwanza province, the hydropower project will be constructed by China Gezhouba Group Co., Ltd (CGGC).
According to Ren Jianguo, deputy general manager of CGGC, the group will turn Caculo Cabaca Hydropower Project into a high-quality project, making contribution to Angola’s energy and power, infrastructure improvement, social and economic development, and people’s livelihood improvement.
Angola Caculo Cabaca Hydropower Project is currently the largest hydropower station to be constructed by a Chinese company in Africa, Ren said, adding that upon completion, the project is expected to meet more than 50 percent of the country’s electricity needs.
The project has a total contractual value of 4.5 billion U.S. dollars and has a planned installed capacity of 2,172 megawatts. The project will be completed within 80 months, and during the peak construction period nearly 10,000 jobs are expected to be provided for the locals.
According to the contract, CGGC will also be responsible for the four-year operation and maintenance of the power plant and for training a group of professional power plant operation management and technical personnel for Angola.
Cui Aimin, Chinese Ambassador to Angola, said that China is Angola’s largest trading partner while Angola is China’s second largest trading partner in Africa as well as the largest source country of imports in Africa.
To date, Angola is one of the countries in Africa to have the most extensive cooperation with China in investment and financing as well as infrastructure construction. China has cumulatively invested close to 50 billion U.S. dollars in the country, covering various fields in the infrastructure sector.
German Minister of Defence Ursula von der Leyen (C-R) receives her Angolan counterpart Joao Manuel Goncalves Lourenco (C-L) with military honours at the Ministry of Defence in Berlin, Germany, 24 November 2014. [Rainer Jensen / EPA]
Angola has rejected conditions demanded by an EU election observer mission that had been preparing to witness next month’s polls in the country, state media reported Monday (17 July).
The European team had called for unfettered access to polling stations across the vast southern African nation during the August 23 vote.
(JN) O empresário e colecionador de arte congolês Sindika Dokolo, marido da empresária angolana Isabel dos Santos, foi condenado a um ano de prisão num processo imobiliário na República Democrática do Congo e responsabilizou o Presidente Joseph Kabila pela condenação.
O empresário e colecionador de arte congolês Sindika Dokolo, genro do chefe de Estado angolano, acusou o Presidente da República Democrática do Congo (RDCongo), Joseph Kabila, pela condenação a um ano de prisão num processo imobiliário.
A denúncia foi feita por Sindika Dokolo, casado com a empresária angolana Isabel dos Santos, filha do Presidente José Eduardo dos Santos, na sua conta na rede social twitter, precisamente depois de inaugurar em Luanda, na quarta-feira, um nova fábrica de cimento do grupo que lidera, a Cimangola.
“Quando inauguro uma fábrica de 400 milhões de dólares [cimenteira em Luanda], JKabila [Joseph Kabila] faz-me condenar a um ano de prisão por um bocado de terra. Senhor Kabila! Vai-se perder na sua Justiça”, escreveu.
Publicamente crítico do regime de Joseph Kabila, Sindika Dokolo, relata a imprensa local, foi condenado, à revelia, a 12 meses de prisão por fraude imobiliária por um tribunal de Kinshasa, capital da RDCongo.
Num outro tweet, o empresário congolês, que tem vindo a colocar em Luanda a sua coleção internacional de arte africana, volta a aludir ao investimento em Angola para atacar a condenação em Kinshasa.
“Investi 400 milhões de dólares numa fábrica. Querer condenar-me por roubar um milhão [de dólares] não é credível”, apontou.
Os pormenores deste processo não foram revelados, mas em junho último o principal rival político do Presidente congolês, o ex-governador Moise Katumbi foi igualmente condenado por fraude imobiliária, pouco depois de ter anunciado a sua candidatura às eleições presidenciais no país, previstas para dezembro.
“Devemos encorajar os congoleses na diáspora que são capazes de reconstruir a RDCongo e não enviá-los para o exílio, no medo”, atirou Dokolo, num outro ‘tweet’.
Este caso, que pode colocar em causa as relações entre os dois países vizinhos, acontece numa altura em mais de 30.000 refugiados congoleses fugiram para o leste de Angola, tentando escapar à violência étnico-política na região do Kasai.
The dormant construction site of the Quinaxixi upmarket apartment and shopping mall complex in Luanda. Angola’s economy, which depends on commodity exports, is suffering from a financial crisis since the drop in oil prices in 2015.CreditJoao Silva/The New York Times
LUANDA, Angola — An ambitious reconstruction plan after Angola’s civil war was meant to reach even the country’s most faraway corner, a region known as the Land at the End of the World.
But the area’s new paved road abruptly turns to dirt about five miles before reaching the city of Cuito Cuanavale, the result of a mysterious disappearance in public funds.
“They’re building, but they’re not doing it well,” said Domingos Jeremias, 48, a farmer whose assessment was echoed by the other men milling around the center of the city, obliterated during the war, which lasted from 1975 to 2002. “There’s always something missing.”
When the war ended, Angola enjoyed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Its production of oil was set to swell and prices would remain high for years. Unlike many other African nations emerging from war, Angola had more than enough money to rebuild, on its own terms, a landscape destroyed by conflict.
The skyline of the capital, Luanda, was quickly reshaped with skyscrapers. Gigantic satellite towns, the likes of which had never been seen in Africa, mushroomed in the outskirts of Luanda. New roads and railways stretched into the interior.
But Angola’s reconstruction and oil boom also presented the politically connected — those with “relatives in the kitchen,” as Angolans say — with a golden opportunity for self-enrichment. In an economy driven by President José Eduardo dos Santos, his inner circle of family and allies have amassed extraordinary wealth.
The president’s eldest daughter, Isabel dos Santos, has become Africa’s first female billionaire, according to Forbes Magazine, which estimates her wealth at $3.3 billion.
But as a drop in oil prices has stilled the cranes across Luanda’s skyline, and as Mr. dos Santos prepares to step down this year after 38 years in power, the country’s reconstruction, and the wealth of its ruling class, are coming under greater scrutiny and criticism — even from insiders.
Lopo do Nascimento, a former prime minister and onetime secretary general of the ruling party, said that spending on reconstruction had been “like opening a window and throwing out money.”
Billions spent on rebuilding — guided by politically connected Angolans and carried out by foreign contractors — vanished into individuals’ pockets, according to politicians, businessmen and academics. Little was done to ensure the money spent on reconstruction would yield lasting benefits to Angola’s economy.
The waterfront on Luanda Bay in the capital of Angola. When the war ended 15 years ago, the country had more than enough money to rebuild, on its own terms, a landscape destroyed by decades of conflict.CreditJoao Silva/The New York Times
“It’s now time to say, ‘If building or rebuilding this costs 10, I won’t invoice for 20 and pocket the other 10,’” Mr. Nascimento said in an interview at his home, a large villa with half a dozen luxury cars parked in an inner driveway.
It is impossible to determine exactly how much has disappeared from government coffers, though there are clues.
During the same period, Angolan companies and individuals invested $189 billion overseas in often opaque transactions, according to the center.
“Who are those people making investments outside the country?” asked Francisco Miguel Paulo, an economist at the center. “How did they earn that money?”
A woman selling clothing items in the main square in Huambo.CreditJoao Silva/The New York Times
Improvements Amid Poverty
When peace finally came after 27 years of civil war and, before that, 13 years of a war of liberation against the country’s former colonial ruler, Portugal, much of the country lay in ruins.
Today, Angola has thousands of miles of new roads and railways, new airports, sports stadiums, hydroelectric dams, water treatment centers, government buildings and fancy shopping malls.
In Huambo, a city that was the rebellion’s headquarters and was destroyed during the war, few buildings still carry the war’s scars. In the city center, stately government buildings, including a provincial library, surround a large roundabout.
On a 500-mile drive from Huambo, in the country’s center, to Cuito Cuanavale, in the southeast, every small town appeared to have a new school or clinic — easily spotted because government buildings are painted pink.
“We’re satisfied,” said Jacob Candimba, 27, a resident of Cuito Cuanavale. “Before, we didn’t have roads, water or electricity.”
But in the capital, even though this is where the government has focused its reconstruction, there was still seething anger.
A luxury S.U.V. driving through a flooded area in Sambizanga, where President José Eduardo dos Santos was reportedly born.CreditJoao Silva/The New York Times
In Sambizanga, a Luanda slum where Mr. dos Santos was born 74 years ago, narrow, muddy roads crisscross a labyrinth of concrete houses and tin shacks.
One recent afternoon, two days after heavy rains, a handful of young men drank beer on a dry strip of road.
“We live bad, without any basic sanitation, without any electricity,” said Luquene Antonio, 24, an unemployed plumber wearing rain boots.
Nearby, two children played inside an abandoned refrigerator floating in murky water.
A colonial-era building and an apartment block are overshadowed by a skyscraper under construction in Luanda.CreditJoao Silva/The New York Times
Oil Billions for Rebuilding
Since 2002, Angola has spent $120 billion on reconstruction, according to the Center for Studies and Scientific Research. At its peak, spending reached $15.8 billion in 2014.
In the years after the war, new offshore oil fields came online, doubling Angola’s daily production to nearly two million barrels a day and turning its economy into one of the world’s fastest-growing.
From 2002 to 2015, Angola’s exports totaled almost $600 billion, nearly all of it oil. During that period, oil revenue swelled government coffers with $315 billion, according to Catholic University.
Oil also gave the Angolan government a freedom rarely seen in Africa, allowing it to circumvent Western governments and international lenders — and decide exactly how and what to rebuild. With oil-backed loans negotiated with China, Angola outsourced the country’s reconstruction to state-owned Chinese companies and their subcontractors. Companies from other Portuguese-speaking nations, like Brazil and Portugal, also shared in the building boom.
But the Angolan model of oil-for-infrastructure came with serious drawbacks, experts said. The deals between Angola and its foreign partners lacked transparency and often resulted in projects of poor quality, either because of a lack of oversight or outright corruption.
“In economic terms, if we don’t have good quality infrastructure, we can’t ensure the economic returns and social utility,” said Alves da Rocha, an economist and director of the Center for Studies and Scientific Research. “Now we are already rebuilding the reconstruction.”
Like many businessmen, Carlos Cunha, whose company deals in agriculture, distribution and tourism, said the new infrastructure’s poor quality was the greatest impediment to growth. His trucks regularly ply a main highway from the interior to Luanda, transporting tropical fruits for shipment to Europe.
“Our trucks take eight hours on a 300-kilometer trip and can have two or three flat tires,” Mr. Cunha said, referring to a distance of about 190 miles. “Angola would have gained more with 2,000 kilometers of well-built roads rather than 5,000 kilometers of poorly built roads.”
As foreign contractors have held a grip on reconstruction, little expertise and few skills were passed on to Angolans or domestic companies, experts said.
Angolan workers repairing a road in Luanda.CreditJoao Silva/The New York Times
Reconstruction “can only be sustainable if we train people,” said Mr. Nascimento, the former prime minister, who emphasized that training had not occurred.
Expatriate workers can often be seen performing tasks that locals would undertake elsewhere in Africa. On a main road in Luanda, half a dozen Portuguese workers were painting lane lines on a recent afternoon.
Along a railway rebuilt by the Chinese, Chinese workers are busy painting and cutting grass, said José Severino, the president of the Industrial Association of Angola, adding that regulations requiring local participation in reconstruction projects were almost never enforced.
The new National Assembly was inaugurated in 2015 in Luanda. President dos Santos is stepping down after 38 years in power.CreditJoao Silva/The New York Times
Many of the most lucrative projects often involved people in Mr. dos Santos’s inner circle, though their involvement was often concealed behind layers of partnerships. In a country regarded as one of the world’s most corrupt — ranked 164th of 176 by Transparency International — details of Angola’s politicized reconstruction are incomplete.
Angolan government officials did not respond to requests for comments or interviews.
But a sweeping scandal a continent away has provided a glimpse into how things work in Angola. Odebrecht, the Brazilian construction giant, admitted in a New York federal court that it had paid $50 million to secure contracts in the African nation and agreed last December to pay up to $4.5 billion to settle bribery cases totaling $800 million worldwide.
According to a court document, Odebrecht disbursed the bribes from 2006 to 2013 to Angolan government officials. In one case, an Odebrecht employee gave $8 million to a government official to win an infrastructure project, according to the document.
Tellingly, the Angolan government has ignored Odebrecht’s admission of guilt as well as critics’ pressure to investigate.
Marcolino Moco, who served as a prime minister and secretary general of the ruling party under Mr. dos Santos but is now a government critic, said that during the oil and reconstruction boom in recent years, power was further concentrated in the president’s hands — fueling corrupt practices in his inner circle.
“I’m no saint,” Mr. Moco said, “but I can’t accept the vulgarization of corruption,” referring to how ordinary the practice had become.
Teenagers playing basketball in a public court outside their apartment block in Nova Cidade de Kilamba, Angola’s largest housing project, with 750 apartment blocks.CreditJoao Silva/The New York Times
Social Housing for the Few
In 2008, as Mr. dos Santos campaigned for re-election, he promised to build one million new houses by 2012, a pledge meant to address the severe shortage of decent housing in the country.
In a few short years, half a dozen satellite towns have appeared on Luanda’s outskirts, arising on a scale that had never been attempted on the continent. But the projects became a symbol to many of the ruling elite’s insatiable drive to accumulate even more wealth.
The new towns — each with tens of thousands of people living in dozens of nearly identical high-rise towers — were new to Africa. If they looked as if they had been plucked out of Asia, it is because they were built by Chinese construction companies.
The most famous project, Nova Cidade de Kilamba, is about 19 miles southeast of Luanda, off a highway recently renamed after Fidel Castro.
Built by the state-owned Citic Construction for a reported $3.5 billion, Kilamba now houses some 80,000 people.
The problem, critics said, is who got the units and how.
A private Angolan company, Delta Imobiliaria, was given the lucrative contract to sell the units, even though the company’s owners included high-ranking government officials with direct influence over reconstruction projects.
Despite fierce demand for Kilamba’s apartments, many of the units are thought to have gone to ruling party supporters despite Mr. dos Santos’s campaign talk of social housing.
“We don’t know if the people who go to these housing projects are the people who deserve to go to these projects,” said Carlos Rosado, an economist and editor of Expansão, an Angolan business weekly.
A woman outside her home in the shadow of Zango, a large gated housing project about 25 miles from Luanda.CreditJoao Silva/The New York Times
On a recent Friday afternoon in Kilamba, four young women were chatting about their evening plans on a street with cafes and restaurants. The women’s parents were government officials, and one of them, Gabriela Agostinho, 20, said it had been easy for her family to secure a unit.
“My father is a policeman,” she said, adding that he was of high rank.
Most public spaces in Kilamba are now overgrown with weeds and littered with trash — a reflection of the lack of maintenance afflicting much of Angola’s reconstruction.
“In the beginning, people loved to say they live in Kilamba,” said Francisco Fonseca, 21, who moved into the development with his parents three years ago. “But not anymore. It’s lost its impact.”
Still, to many, Kilamba remained a dream.
Late one afternoon, three young men were rummaging through large trash bins in Kilamba. They said they came every day to look for food and other goods in Kilamba.
“We’d love to live here, but we just don’t know how,” said Adriano Adao, 25, who was eating beans from a plastic container he had found in the bin.
“This place isn’t for people like us,” he said. “It’s for people with relatives in the kitchen.”