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An Investment Bank for Portuguese Speaking Countries Community

Introduction: The Investment Bank for Portuguese Speaking Countries Community

João Lourenço, President of the Republic of Angola, presented in the inauguration speech of his mandate as acting president of the Speaking Countries Community (CPLP), at the XIII Conference of Heads of State and Government, held in Luanda in July 2021, the “challenge of start thinking about the pertinence and feasibility, even if remote, of creating a CPLP Investment Bank[1]”.

The President of the Portuguese Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, in turn, admitted that the Angolan head of State’s proposal for the creation of an investment bank in the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP) could advance, if there were significant investments of several parties. And he added that this could become a reality if “significant investments from Brazil, from African economies emerging from the CPLP, from Portugal, but also with the contribution of European funds are combined[2]”.

Although the details of this idea are not known, only knowing that it corresponds to the implementation of an Economic Pillar of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP), it is interesting to see how such a proposal could become a reality, which is more important, since doubts have arisen from reputable Angolan experts about its feasibility[3].

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Our conclusion is that it is possible to envisage the creation of an investment bank and development of CPLP with mixed capital and a reasonably independent and efficient structure, with diverse and plural sources of financing.

Vision, goals and strategic axes of the investment bank of lusophony

What we will call the Banco de Investimento de Fomento da Lusofonia (BIFEL) would be an investment and development bank that would materialize the CPLP Economic Pillar. The CPLP Economic Pillar, as understood from the several statements of the Angolan government, corresponds to a need to transform the collaboration potential of member countries into real wealth and would translate into the creation of common financing mechanisms and large free market areas and freedom of movement.

BIFEL would, therefore, be an instrument for financing the development of the PALOPS and the integration of the corresponding markets.

It would have three basic goals:

i) the financing of large works and infrastructures that bring the PALOPs closer together and make them more competitive in economic terms;

ii) the development of the corresponding economies and common access markets;

iii) the survey of the quality of life of the neediest populations (levelling up).

Thus, there would be a triple concern with economic integration, development and what is currently called levelling up regions and populations[4]. Economic and social aspects would have to be combined.

These goals would have to be operationalized in the creation of three major strategic axes that would, in practice, be transformed into three consigned credit lines.

• The first axis would be dedicated to infrastructure for common benefit: digital structures and networks, ports, airports, means of communication, roads, energies, especially renewable energies, etc.

• The second axis would be aimed at economic growth projects, the formerly called economic development. Here we would have factories, companies, and growth-promoting economic activities.

• Finally, a third axis dedicated to the aforementioned levelling up, with characteristics of economic and social development, would include support for building hospitals, schools, training human resources in education and health, environmental and climate protection.

BIFEL Share Capital

BIFEL would be a mixed financial institution, with share capital from several sources. One could point to an initial share capital of one billion, seven hundred and fifty thousand euros [1, 750 billion euros] (the reference point is that the development bank recreated in Portugal has 255 million euros as social capital and is fully public). In this case, the share capital would be much larger (1.75 billion euros) and the ownership not fully public.

A mixed ownership system for BIFEL is envisioned.

• First, 1000 million euros would be earmarked for the subscription of CPLP Member States: Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Mozambique, Portugal, São Tomé and Príncipe and East Timor. Each State would participate in capital according to an equitable formula that considered its absolute GDP and GDP per capita, which allowed considering the real wealth of each one, its competitiveness and productivity, and the well-being of its populations.

• Afterwards, 500 million euros would be allocated to observer countries associated with the CPLP: Mauritius, Senegal, Georgia, Japan, Namibia, Turkey, Slovakia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Uruguay, Andorra, Argentina, Chile, France, Italy, Luxembourg, United Kingdom , Serbia as well as the European Union. Each of these countries and the European Union would make the proposals for capital subscription up to the amount it considered within the threshold of 500 million euros.

• A third group of share capital worth 250 million euros would be open to private investors from any country in the world.

Naturally, BIFEL would produce dividends from its borrowing activities in order to compensate its shareholders and would only finance projects in countries subscribing to share capital.

Organic structure of BIFEL

The bank’s structure would be based on three type bodies.

The direction would be ensured by a Board of Directors with a five-year term composed of 7 members, 4 appointed by the Member States, 2 by the Associate Observers and 1 by the Private Investors, the Chairman of the Board being appointed under the prerogative of the Member States, while acting as Vice -Presidents, there would be an element designated by the associated observers and another by the private investors.

The supervision would be incumbent upon a Supervisory Board composed of 5 members, 3 of which were chosen by the Courts of Auditors of the Member States on a rotating basis for three-year terms. Another member would be appointed by the Courts of Auditors of the associated observer countries in the same rotating scheme and finally the fifth member would belong to an international auditor of global reputation, resulting from the co-option of the remaining four members. Finally, there would be a General Assembly where each representative would act according to their share capital.

This structure would allow, on the one hand, the representation of States and shareholders, but would also BIFEL effectively independent corporate body with fiduciary duties and economic efficiency in relation to its shareholders and taxpayers of each State, given the diversity of its organic structure.

The head office would be established in CPLP’s most important financial market, according to the volume of business, with two operational sub-headquarters in the subsequent relevant financial centers.

Conclusion

This could be the outline of a financial  institution dedicated to the PALOPs, combining the advantages of public and private ownership at the same time, deriving from various sources of financing, allowing for a better integration of Portuguese-speaking markets, making each country grow and improve the living conditions of Portuguese-speaking populations, in the end, the ultimate goal of this initiative.


[1] https://www.jornaldeangola.ao/ao/noticias/angola-propoe-criacao-de-banco-de-investimento/

[2] https://www.jornaldenegocios.pt/economia/detalhe/banco-de-investimentos-da-cplp-pode-ter-virtualidades-diz-marcelo

[3] https://visao.sapo.pt/atualidade/mundo/2021-07-20-cplp-economista-angolano-diz-que-banco-de-investimentos-nao-tem-pernas-para-andar/

[4] About the concept as it is being developed in the UK, see: https://www.centreforcities.org/levelling-up/

The realignments of Angola foreign policy

1-Introduction. Angola’s geopolitical repositioning

At the moment, when we finish this report, the President of the Republic of Angola is in Paris with the President of the French Republic. This meeting represents one of the points in the ongoing realignment of Angola’s foreign policy. One has only to remember that in the last days of José Eduardo dos Santos, the French were “punished” due to their role in Angolagate.

Angola is not an indifferent country. It has played a geopolitically relevant role throughout its short but intense history after independence. First, it was one of the violent stages of the Cold War, where Americans and Soviets clashed with the virulence that they could not adopt in other geographic locations. Angola ended up being a Soviet bastion of great nomination, where they in reality won when in confrontation with the United States. After the Soviet phase, Angola was once again innovative and became the first African country to receive the new China that opened up to the world and sought in Africa a continent for its expansion and testing of its ideas. Angola has become a partner par excellence of China.

Obviously, this being a simplification, from the point of view of the major trends, the geopolitical position of Angola started to be aligned with the Soviet Union and after its fall, with China. Not being a country that is enraged anti-Western, very far from that, because Angola has a profound influence of European culture, the country has anchored itself in other places over time.

For several reasons, at this moment, Angola is rehearsing a different geopolitical approach that tends to devalue the role of both Russia and China, and to find new references and political dialogues. This text will focus on this devaluation, the new vectors that influence the Angolan repositioning, the countries that will now play a more relevant role in Angola’s external concerns, in addition to a short note on Portugal. Angola’s influence in southern Africa and its stabilizing role in Congos will not be addressed.

2-The decline of the Angolan relationship with Russia and China

The decline in the Soviet (now Russian) relationship with Angola is easy to describe. The Soviet Union’s commitment to Angola was part of a long-term strategy for the involvement of the North Atlantic through the countries of the South. The incursion into Africa that was accelerated by the “loss” of influence in the Middle East in the 1970s due to the cut promoted by Sadat from Egypt and by the Kissinger’s full exploitation. Suddenly, the Soviet Union found itself without one of the main supports it had in the Middle East and from where it hoped to condition the Americans. What is certain is that this situation led to a deepening of several alternatives, among which Angola later stood out. Naturally, the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the end of the Cold War, with the consequent disintegration of the Soviet Union, meant that Russian interest in Africa waned considerably. The Russia that emerged after Gorbachev’s collapse was no longer interested in any global competition with the United States, but in its survival and transformation. He quickly lost interest in Angola.

It is true that at the present time, Putin has recovered some of the imperial dynamics and is looking for some influence in Africa, but it is still of short reach and has resulted in the sending of mercenaries from the Wagner group, which have had little efficiency, namely in Mozambique. In Angola, there is no significant behaviour by Russia, especially as an essential and determining partner. There are obviously contacts and relationships. There is a lot of talk about the Russian influence on Isabel dos Santos, who might be a citizen of that country, but the fact is that there are no visible Russian investments or ties with Luanda with obvious relevance. In 2019, Russian investments in Angola of 9 billion euros were announced, but there is no known sequence of that. In addition, Angola’s external public debt to Russia is zero according to data from the National Bank of Angola (BNA), having been fully settled by 2019.

It is more difficult to wind up the declining relationship with China. In fact, Chinese investment in Angola has been growing, at least until 2020, and the Angolan external public debt vis-à-vis China in 2020 represented US $ 22 billion, equivalent to more than 40% of the total. The Chinese implantation in Angola is profound, suffice to mention in sociological terms the relevance of the City of China.

However, there is evidence that the Chinese preference is decreasing, or at least, being mitigated. The first indication refers to the negotiations for a new loan that took João Lourenço to China at the beginning of his term. The first information for the press reported large amounts to be made available by China, of around 11 billion dollars. The reality is that there were several procrastinations on that loan, which apparently ended up involving a reduced amount of US $ 2 billion that might have suited to make payments of Angolan debt to Chinese companies.

What is certain is that if we observe the evolution of the Angolan public external debt to China, we will see that there was a remarkable leap between 2015 and 2016, from about US $ 11.7 billion to US $ 21.6 billion, which the debt reached the peak in 2017, 23 billion dollars and that since then has been decreasing with a significant cadence. It seems that China does not want to be involved with Angola any more, preferring to go on managing the current involvement.

If on the part of China it is possible to glimpse some recalcitrance in the relationship with Angola, on the Angolan side there are also obstacles. The first of them is the nature of the Angolan debt to China. Many claim that a good part of this debt is what is called “odious debt”, that is, it served to benefit corrupt private interests and not the country’s development. There is the impression that the opacity with which doing business with China has allowed the creation of situations of corruption that are too evident and harmful to the country. Thus, China’s debt is partly seen as a debt of corruption. In addition, quality problems have arisen in some Chinese buildings in Angola financed by Chinese debt. It is not clear whether this lack of quality is due to any Chinese negligence or objectionable behaviour on the part of Angolan officials, but it is certain that the image persists.

This means that since China is still a key partner for Angola, it is currently in a kind of reassessment phase. It is necessary to resolve the problem of the debt of the past linked to corruption, of the way of contracting too opaque on the part of China and also issues related to quality. It is a demanding task, but required to reactivate the Chinese and Angolan common interest.

If the relationship with Russia does not have the relevance of the past and with China is in a phase of reevaluation and reconditioning, it is clear that Angola, above all, given the changes as it passes, will have to actively seek new partners.

3-The new vectors of Angolan action: goals and countries

The Angolan relationship with Russia and China concurred with the need to assert its own sovereignty, independent of external interference, and also to obtain funds for war and post-war reconstruction. João Lourenço’s current foreign policy is placed at a slightly different level, in which it is important to gather external support for the two major reforms that are being carried out internally: economic reform and the fight against corruption. Both reforms need external collaboration, without which they may not survive.

Economic reform is based on the so-called Washington consensus proposed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), although international intellectuals and bureaucrats have already abandoned this designation and refuse it. Even so, it implies the adoption of policies to raise taxes and restrict expenditure with the respective fiscal consolidation. Naturally, this type of policy is recessive, in the short term, it increases the economic crisis in Angola. The great way to overcome this effect is to obtain foreign investment and a lot. In fact, says the theory followed, that with these disciplinary reforms of the IMF, foreign investors start to trust the governments that follow them and feel safe to invest. In short, foreign investment is the necessary counterweight to the IMF reforms and the key to their success. Consequently, it is not surprising that one of the main vectors of Angolan foreign policy is the approach to countries with a remarkable reproductive investment capacity and with proven evidence.

In what concerns the fight against corruption, the panorama that is presented is that, in general, it is the countries with the potential to invest in Angola, those in which judicial collaboration is required to recover assets or trace illegal financial movements. The Angolan oligarchies that diverted public funds sent them to the most advanced countries or those with the greatest financial potential.

Therefore, there is a group of countries that currently are of great interest to Angola: they are those with an efficient investment capacity and with a financial system through which many of the illicit movements of Angolan funds have passed, as well as where assets bought, possibly with these funds. At the moment, neither China nor Russia are countries where more investment is expected, nor were the places chosen, apparently, to park illicit goods or assets. Or if they were, there is no knowledge of what is going on there and it is sheltered.

It is in this context that a number of countries have assumed relevance. A first group is the Western Europe countries that have stood out in visits and announcements of investments in Angola. At the beginning of April 2021, the Prime Minister of Spain, Pedro Sanchez, paid a visit to Angola. This visit was accompanied by a great Spanish commitment, affirming Angola as one of Spain’s preferred partners in Africa, and this as a great Spanish bet. It was announced that Angola was the “prow” of a project in Madrid that he called “Focus Africa 2023.” Last year, it was the turn of German Chancellor Angela Merkel to visit Angola within the framework of an Angola-Germany Economic Forum and more broadly of a German Marshall Plan for Africa. Also, President Macron announced a visit to Angola, which has been postponed due to Covid-19. In turn, the Italian President had already visited Angola in 2019. In relation to the United Kingdom, there have been no visits of such high level, but some interest in Angola is beginning to be noticed due to the impositions of Brexit, which they demand new markets for the UK, although there is a huge lack of knowledge.

Visits have followed several promises of investment from Western Europe. The Italian oil company (ENI) plans to invest seven billion dollars (5.9 billion euros) over the next four years in research, production, refining and solar energy, it announced in early April 2021. Before, British businessmen said they intend to invest around US $ 20 billion in Angola. Germany and France also have several projects underway.

This axis of Western Europe has become vital in Angolan foreign policy, as these countries need new markets and investments, to get out of excessive dependence on China, and in the British case, also to look for post-Brexit alternatives, and being mature markets, they have to find out where the youth and the future is, and that is in Africa.

With João Lourenço able to convey the image that governs a competent government and with stable macroeconomic rules and turned to the free market, Spanish, French, British, Italian or German investors will feel safe to invest. At the same time, many of the fortunes out of Angola lay there, so there will be an opportunity to create mechanisms for their recovery or redirection.

It should be noted that, contrary to what one might think, this Westernization of Lourenço’s foreign policy does not pass through Portugal, but indicates a direct approach between European countries and Angola and vice versa.

To this Western European axis it is necessary to add another one, the Gulf axis. The Gulf countries, in which the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia stand out. These countries, previously dependent on oil, have entered into a diversification policy. Dubai for some years now and with tremendous success. Saudi Arabia is still taking its first steps, with the so-called Vision 2030, but what is certain is that they want to invest outside their traditional scope and find new markets. In fact, Dubai already has several investments in Luanda and one of its companies has now taken over the Port of Luanda and in Saudi Arabia, Luanda has now opened an Embassy, ​​which reveals its interest in the kingdom. On the other hand, we know, Dubai is a quite important international financial center and where several Angolan financial movements have gone through, as well as being used in tax evasion schemes in the diamond trade. Allegedly, contrary to what has been its practice, Dubai will be collaborating with requests for Angolan legal aid, representing a typical example of the new geopolitical axis that we are describing, countries with potential for investment and judicial collaboration in the fight against corruption.

In summary, we conclude that a new Angolan geopolitical approach focuses on the countries of Western Europe and the Persian Gulf. But it doesn’t stop there.

4-India’s potential

The amount of trade between Sub-Saharan Africa and India has grown steadily, and today India is a key trading partner for Africa. With regard to Angola, the country is today the third most important exporter in sub-Saharan Africa to India, when in 2005 it was irrelevant. In 2017, the Ambassador of India issued a statement in which he highlighted: “Trade between Angola and India increased 100% to US $ 4.5 billion in 2017, (…) At the end of July, outside the 10th BRICS summit , in Johannesburg, the President of Angola, João Lourenço, met with the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, and the two reaffirmed the need to increase trade and cooperation in areas such as energy, agriculture, food and pharmaceutical processing. ” As India grows and becomes a very important player worldwide, it is normal for Angola to look at this country with a new vision. It is a millionaire market to which an immensity of Angolan exports can reach.

5- The United States of America. The ultimate prize

The relationship between Angola and the United States has been ambiguous. In fact, even in the days when the US administration supported Jonas Savimbi and UNITA, there was a relationship with Luanda linked to oil and the protection of American multinationals operating in territory dominated by the MPLA government.

Currently, the United States represents everything Angola wants, the country of the dollar with an enviable investment capacity and financial innovation, with a universalizing legal structure that allows it to use multiple legal instruments around the world to pursue the fortunes of corruption. It is also from the United States that Angola needs to raise the various “red flags” that were erected during the time of José Eduardo dos Santos and made Angolan financial life much more difficult. The United States is the key country for this new Angolan phase of foreign investment and fight against corruption, because from here the definitive stimulus for progress can come.

In a way, João Lourenço was unlucky to come across Trump when he needed the USA. It is known that Trump had no interest in Africa, that he only served for his wife to take a trip in colonial style attire. Worse would have been impossible. But American indifference does not have to be an obstacle to a greater Angolan commitment to relations with the superpower. In the early 1970s, Anwar Sadat from Egypt also decided that he wanted to get closer to the United States. These occupied with a thousand and one crises, among which Vietnam stood out, paid no attention to Sadat, who continued to follow his line, expelling Soviet advisers and starting a rapprochement with the Americans.

Historical comparisons and evolutions aside-Sadat ended up murdered for having signed a peace agreement with Israel on American auspices- what seems more logical for Angola at this stage is to accentuate a closer relationship with the United States, even if they are not attentive. And they won’t be, because between Covid-19, China and Russia, and multiple small internal crises have a lot to deal with. However, effective and real US support for the new Angolan policy is essential for the country to come out of the doldrums and no longer have external financial constraints, so a vigorous approach to the US administration would be advisable on the part of Angola, despite of the mutual distrust that exists.

6-Portugal is different

Regarding the visit of Pedro Sanchez, Spanish Prime Minister, Angola came up with some criticisms of the Portuguese government, accusing him of inaction and of being overtaken by Spain. This is nonsense. Not even Portugal can think of having a monopoly on relations with Angola, nor is there any danger in Portuguese-Angolan relations. Portugal is always a separate case, its influence comes less from the government and more from soft power, from the umbilical connection that remains between the peoples of both countries. Luanda continues to stop when Sporting wins the championship or Benfica have a very important game, the favorite destination of most Angolans is Portugal, easy personal relationships are established between Portuguese and Angolans. Portuguese businessmen always look to Angola as a possibility for expanding their business. The relations between Angola and Portugal have an underlying relationship between the peoples before the intervention of the governments.

At the official level, the Portuguese government is generally welcoming towards Angola. Around 2005, he welcomed the wishes of Angolan investment, currently he accepted the requests for judicial cooperation from Angola in relation to Isabel dos Santos, as it ended up sending Manuel Vicente’s case to Angola after great pressure from Luanda. Let’s say there is a manifest porosity of the Portuguese position, easily adapting to the positions and needs of Luanda. This position, combined with the interest of the Angolan elites in Portugal, has ended up consolidating a good relationship between the two countries, despite a bump or two. It is clear that after April 25, 1974, Portugal lost interest in Africa, making its accession to Europe and becoming a modern western country its number one priority. This project has been a little tangled since 2000, but it has not led Portugal to a revision of its European focus yet, it only forced it to take a longer look at Africa, after decades of disinterest. Perhaps there is a time when Portugal wants to focus its foreign policy on Portuguese-speaking countries, but this is not the time, as it is not for Angola, which wants to embrace other “voices”, such as the English-speaking and French-speaking countries, thus, the best that governments can to do is to make life as easy as possible for its population who wish to work in common and mutually support each other’s requests, but little else.

Conclusion

The summary of the new Angolan geopolitical position is that Angola is betting on vectors linked to foreign investment and fighting corruption, assuming relevance in foreign policy, partnerships with Western Europe, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, United Kingdom, with the Persian Gulf, Emirates and Dubai, and with India. At the same time, a strengthening of relations with the United States is anticipated. Portugal will always have a place apart.

Reference Bibliography:

-Banco Nacional de Angola-Statistics- www.bna.ao

-Douglas Wheeler and René Pélissier, História de Angola, 2011

-Ian Taylor, India’s rise in Africa, International Affairs, 2012

-José Milhazes, Angola – O Princípio do Fim da União Soviética, 2009

-Robert Cooper, The Ambassadors: Thinking about Diplomacy from Machiavelli to Modern Times, 2021

-Rui Verde, Angola at the Crossroads. Between Kleptocracy and Development, 2021

-Saudi Vision 2030- https://www.vision2030.gov.sa/en

-Tom Burgis, The Looting Machine. Warlords, Tycoons, Smugglers and the Systematic Theft of Africa’s Wealth, 2015.

-Public and informational facts taken from Lusa, DW, Jornal de Negócios, Jornal de Angola, Angonotícia and Novo Jornal.

Os realinhamentos da política externa de Angola

1-Introdução. O reposicionamento geopolítico de Angola

No momento, em que terminamos este relatório, o Presidente da República de Angola encontra-se em Paris com o Presidente da República Francesa. Este encontro representa um dos pontos do realinhamento em curso da política externa de Angola. Basta lembrar que nos últimos tempos de José Eduardo dos Santos, os franceses estavam de “castigo” devido ao seu papel no Angolagate.

Angola não é um país indiferente. Tem desempenhado um papel geopoliticamente relevante ao longo da sua curta, mas intensa história após a independência. Primeiramente, foi um dos palcos violentos da Guerra Fria, onde americanos e soviéticos se digladiaram com a virulência que não podiam adotar noutras localizações geográficas. Angola acabou por ser um bastião soviético de grande nomeada, onde estes na realidade ganharam quando em confronto com os Estados Unidos. Depois da fase soviética, Angola foi mais uma vez inovadora e tornou-se o primeiro país africano a receber a nova China que se abria ao mundo e procurou em África um continente para a sua expansão e teste das suas ideias. Angola tornou-se um parceiro por excelência da China.

            Obviamente, sendo uma simplificação, do ponto de vista das grandes tendências a posição geopolítica de Angola começou por estar alinhada com a União Soviética e após a queda desta, com a China. Não se tratando dum país rabidamente antiocidental, muito longe disso, até porque Angola tem uma profunda influência da cultura europeia, o país ancorou-se em outras paragens ao longo do tempo.

Por várias razões, neste momento, Angola ensaia uma diferente aproximação geopolítica que tende a desvalorizar o papel quer da Rússia, quer da China, e a encontrar novas referências e diálogos políticos. Este texto debruçar-se-á sobre essa desvalorização, os novos vetores que influenciam o reposicionamento angolano, os países que agora desempenharão um papel mais relevante nas preocupações externas de Angola, além de uma curta nota sobre Portugal. Não se abordará a influência de Angola na África Austral e o seu papel de estabilização nos Congos.

2-O declínio da relação angolana com a Rússia e a China

O declínio da relação soviética (agora russa) com Angola é fácil de descrever. A aposta da União Soviética em Angola fazia parte de uma estratégia de longo-prazo de envolvimento do Atlântico Norte através dos países do Sul. A incursão em África que foi acelerada pela “perda” da influência no Médio-Oriente nos anos 1970s derivada do corte promovido por Sadat do Egipto e pelo aproveitamento oportuno de Kissinger. De repente, a União Soviética viu-se sem um dos suportes principais que tinha no Médio Oriente e de onde esperava condicionar os americanos. O certo é que essa situação levou a um aprofundamento de várias alternativas entre as quais mais tarde se destacou Angola. Naturalmente, que a queda do Muro de Berlim em 1989 e o final da Guerra Fria, com a consequente desagregação da União Soviética levaram a que o interesse russo em África esmorecesse consideravelmente. A Rússia que emergiu após o colapso de Gorbachev já não estava interessada em qualquer competição mundial com os Estados Unidos, mas na sua sobrevivência e transformação. Rapidamente perdeu o interesse em Angola.

            É certo que atualmente, Putin recuperou alguma da dinâmica imperial e procura alguma influência em África, mas ainda é de curto alcance e tem-se traduzido no envio de mercenários do grupo Wagner, que têm tido pouca eficácia, designadamente em Moçambique. Em Angola, não se nota uma atuação relevante da Rússia, sobretudo como parceiro essencial e determinante. Existem obviamente contactos e relações. Fala-se muito na influência russa em Isabel dos Santos, que será cidadã desse país, mas o certo é que não são visíveis investimentos ou laços russos com Luanda com manifesto relevo. Em 2019, foram anunciados investimentos russos em Angola de 9 mil milhões de euros, mas não se conhece sequência de tal. A isto acresce que a dívida pública externa de Angola à Rússia é zero de acordo com os dados do Banco Nacional de Angola (BNA), tendo sido liquidada na sua totalidade até 2019.

            Mais difícil é concluir pelo declínio da relação com a China. Na verdade, o investimento chinês em Angola tem vindo a crescer, pelo menos até 2020, e a dívida pública externa angolana face à China representava em 2020, 22 mil milhões de dólares, o equivalente a mais de 40% do total. A implantação chinesa em Angola é grande, bastando referir em termos sociológicos a relevância da Cidade da China.

            No entanto, há indícios que a preferência chinesa está a diminuir, ou pelo menos, a ser mitigada. O primeiro indício refere-se às negociações de um novo empréstimo que levou João Lourenço à China no início do seu mandato. As primeiras informações para a imprensa davam conta de montantes avultados a serem disponibilizados pela China, na ordem dos 11 mil milhões de dólares. A realidade é que houve variadas procrastinações nesse empréstimo, que acabou aparentemente para envolver uma quantia reduzida de 2 mil milhões de dólares que terá servido para fazer pagamentos de dívida angolana a empresas chinesas.

O certo é que se analisarmos a evolução da dívida pública externa angolana à China verificaremos que um houve um salto assinalável entre 2015 e 2016, de cerca de 11,7 mil milhões de dólares para 21,6 mil milhões de dólares, que a dívida atingiu o pico em 2017, 23 mil milhões de dólares e que desde aí tem vindo a diminuir com uma cadência significativa. Afigura-se que a China não se quer envolver mais com Angola, preferindo ir gerindo o atual envolvimento.

            Se da parte da China se poderá vislumbrar alguma recalcitrância na relação com Angola, da parte angolana também existem obstáculos. O primeiro deles é a natureza da dívida angolana à China. Muitos alegam que uma boa parte desta dívida é o que se chama “dívida odiosa”, isto é, serviu para beneficiar interesses privados corruptos e não o desenvolvimento do país. Existe a impressão que a opacidade com que se fazem os negócios com a China permitiu a criação de situações de corrupção demasiado evidentes e prejudiciais ao país. Assim, a dívida da China é, em parte, vista como dívida da corrupção. A isto acresce que surgiram problemas de qualidade nalgumas construções chinesas em Angola financiadas por dívida chinesa. Não está claro se essa falta de qualidade se deve a qualquer negligência chinesa ou a comportamentos censuráveis por parte de responsáveis angolanos, mas o certo é que a imagem persiste.

            Isto quer dizer que sendo ainda a China um parceiro fundamental de Angola, está-se, neste momento, numa espécie de fase de reavaliação. Forçosamente há que resolver o problema da dívida do passado ligada à corrupção, do modo de agir contratual demasiado opaco por parte da China e também as questões ligadas à qualidade. É uma tarefa exigente, mas necessária para reativar o interesse comum chinês e angolano.

            Se a relação com a Rússia não tem a relevância do passado e com a China está numa fase de reavaliação e recondicionamento, é evidente que Angola, sobretudo, atendendo às mudanças porque passa, terá que buscar novos parceiros ativamente.

3-Os novos vetores de atuação angolana: objetivos e países

A relação angolana com a Rússia e a China coincidiu com a necessidade de afirmar uma soberania própria e independente de interferências externas, e também da obtenção de fundos para a guerra e reconstrução pós-guerra. A atual política externa de João Lourenço coloca-se num patamar ligeiramente diferenciado, em que é importante congregar o apoio externo para as duas grandes reformas que estão a ser levadas a cabo internamente: a reforma económica e a luta contra a corrupção. Ambas as reformas necessitam de colaboração externa, sem o qual podem não sobreviver.

            A reforma económica assenta no chamado consenso de Washington proposto pelo Fundo Monetário Internacional (FMI), embora os intelectuais e burocratas internacionais tenham já abandonado esta designação e a recusem. Ainda assim, implica a adoção de políticas de alargamento dos impostos e restrição da despesa com a respetiva consolidação fiscal. Naturalmente que este tipo de políticas é recessivo, aumenta, no curto-prazo, a crise económica em Angola. A grande forma de ultrapassar este efeito é obter investimento externo e muito. Aliás, diz a teoria seguida, que havendo estas reformas disciplinadoras do FMI, os investidores estrangeiros passam a confiar nos governos que as seguem e sentem-se seguros para investir. Em resumo, o investimento estrangeiro é o contrapeso necessário às reformas do FMI e a chave do sucesso destas. Consequentemente, não admira que um dos principais vetores da política externa angolana seja a aproximação a países com capacidade de investimento reprodutor assinalável e com provas dadas.

            Naquilo que diz respeito à luta contra a corrupção, o panorama que se apresenta é que, de uma maneira geral, são os países com potencialidades para investir em Angola, aqueles em que é necessária a colaboração judicial para recuperação de ativos ou traço de movimentos financeiros ilegais. As oligarquias angolanas que desviaram fundos públicos remeteram-nos para os países mais avançados ou com maior potencial financeiro.

Portanto, há um grupo de países que atualmente interessa de sobremaneira a Angola: são aqueles com capacidade de investimento eficiente e com um sistema financeiro por onde passaram muitos dos movimentos ilícitos de fundos angolanos, bem como onde se sedearam ativos comprados, possivelmente, com esses fundos. Neste momento, nem a China, nem a Rússia são países de onde se espere mais investimento, nem foram os locais escolhidos, aparentemente, para parquear bens ou ativos ilícitos. Ou se foram não há qualquer conhecimento do que lá se passa e está acolhido.

            É neste contexto que tem assumido relevância uma série de países. Um primeiro grupo são os países da Europa Ocidental que se têm destacado em visitas e anúncios de investimentos em Angola. No início deste mês de Abril de 2021, o primeiro-ministro de Espanha, Pedro Sanchez, fez uma visita a Angola. Esta visita foi acompanhada de grande empenho espanhol, afirmando Angola como um dos parceiros preferenciais de Espanha em África, e esta como uma grande aposta espanhola. Anunciou-se que Angola era a “proa” duma empreitada de Madrid a que chamou “Foco África 2023.” No ano passado, tinha sido a vez da Chanceler alemã Angela Merkel visitar Angola no âmbito de um Fórum Económico Angola-Alemanha e mais alargadamente de um Plano Marshall alemão para África. Também, o Presidente Macron anunciou uma visita a Angola, que tem sido adiada devido à Covid-19. Por sua vez o Presidente italiano já havia visitado Angola em 2019. Em relação ao Reino Unido não tem havido visitas deste nível tão elevado, mas começa a notar-se algum interesse por Angola devido às imposições do Brexit, que exigem novos mercados para o Reino Unido, embora haja um enorme desconhecimento.

            Às visitas têm sucedido variadas promessas de investimento da Europa Ocidental. A empresa italiana de petróleos (ENI) prevê investir sete mil milhões de dólares (5,9 mil milhões de euros), nos próximos quatro anos, na pesquisa, produção, refinação e energia solar, anunciou no início de abril de 2021. Antes empresários britânicos afirmaram pretender investir em Angola cerca de 20 mil milhões de dólares. Também a Alemanha e a França têm vários projetos em curso.

            Este eixo da Europa Ocidental tornou-se fundamental na política externa angolana, pois estes países necessitam de novos mercados e investimentos, para saírem da excessiva dependência da China, e no caso britânico, também para procurar alternativas pós-Brexit, e sendo mercado maduros, têm de ir ao encontro de onde está a juventude e o futuro, e isso está em África.

Conseguindo João Lourenço passar a imagem que rege um governo competente e com regras macroeconómicas estáveis e viradas para o mercado livre, os investidores espanhóis, franceses, britânicos, italianos ou alemães sentir-se-ão seguros para investir. Ao mesmo tempo, nestes países residem muitas das fortunas saídas de Angola, portanto, haverá oportunidade de criar mecanismos para a sua recuperação ou redirecção.

            Note-se que ao contrário do que se poderia pensar, esta Ocidentalização da política externa de Lourenço não passa por Portugal, mas indica uma abordagem direta entre os países europeus e Angola e vice-versa.

            A este eixo Europeu Ocidental há que adicionar outro, o eixo do Golfo. Os países do Golfo, em que se destacam os Emirados Árabes Unidos e a Arábia Saudita. Estes países, previamente dependentes do petróleo, entraram numa política de diversificação. O Dubai já há alguns anos e com tremendo sucesso. A Arábia Saudita ainda dá os primeiros passos, com a chamada Visão 2030, mas o certo é que querem investir fora do seu âmbito tradicional e encontrar novos mercados. Na verdade, o Dubai já tem vários investimentos em Luanda e uma sua empresa tomou agora conta do Porto de Luanda e na Arábia Saudita, Luanda abriu agora uma Embaixada, o que revela bem o interesse no reino. Por outro lado, como se sabe, o Dubai é um centro financeiro internacional de grande nomeada e por onde passou variada movimentação financeira angolana, bem como foi utilizado nos esquemas de fuga ao fisco no comércio de diamantes. Alegadamente, ao contrário do que tem sido a sua prática, o Dubai estará a colaborar com os pedidos de auxílio judiciário angolanos, representando um exemplo típico do novo eixo geopolítico que estamos a descrever, países com potencial de investimento e de colaboração judicial na luta contra corrupção.

            Sumariamente, concluímos que uma nova aproximação geopolítica angolana se centra nos países da Europa Ocidental e do Golfo Pérsico. Mas não se fica por aqui.

4-O potencial da Índia

            A quantidade de comércio entre a África Subsaariana e a Índia tem crescido de forma consistente, e hoje a Índia é um parceiro comercial fundamental de África. Relativamente a Angola, o país é hoje o terceiro exportador na África subsaariana mais importante para a Índia, quando em 2005 não tinha relevância. Em 2017, o Embaixador da Índia emitiu um comunicado no qual destacou: “O comércio entre Angola e a Índia aumentou 100% para US $ 4,5 biliões em 2017, (…) No final de julho, à margem da 10ª cimeira dos BRICS, em Joanesburgo, o presidente de Angola, João Lourenço, reuniu-se com o primeiro-ministro indiano, Narendra Modi, e os dois reafirmaram a necessidade de aumentar o comércio e a cooperação em áreas como energia, agricultura, alimentos e processamento farmacêutico.”. Há medida que a Índia vai crescendo e se tornando um ator muito importante a nível mundial, é normal que Angola olhe para este país com uma nova visão. Trata-se de um mercado milionário para onde uma imensidão das exportações angolanas pode chegar.

5-Estados Unidos da América. The ultimate prize

            A relação entre Angola e os Estados Unidos tem sido ambígua. Na verdade, mesmo nos tempos em que a administração norte-americana apoiava Jonas Savimbi e a UNITA, havia um relacionamento com Luanda ligado ao petróleo e à proteção das multinacionais americanas a operar em território dominado pelo governo do MPLA.

            Atualmente, os Estados Unidos representam tudo o que Angola deseja, o país do dólar com uma capacidade de investimento e inovação financeira invejável, com uma estrutura jurídica universalizante que permite lançar mão de múltiplos instrumentos legais por todo o mundo para perseguir as fortunas da corrupção. É também dos Estados Unidos que Angola necessita que sejam levantados os vários “sinais vermelhos” que foram sendo erguidos nos tempos de José Eduardo dos Santos e tornaram a vida financeira angolana muito mais difícil. Os Estados Unidos são o país chave para esta nova fase angolana de investimento externo e combate à corrupção, porque daqui pode vir os estímulos definitivos de avanço.

            De certa forma, João Lourenço teve azar em se deparar com Trump, quando necessitava dos EUA. É conhecido que Trump não tinha qualquer interesse em África, que apenas serviu para a sua mulher realizar uma viagem em trajes estilo colonial.  Pior teria sido impossível. Mas a indiferença americana não tem de ser um obstáculo a um maior empenho angolano nas relações com a superpotência. No início dos anos 1970, Anwar Sadat do Egipto também decidiu que se queria aproximar dos Estados Unidos. Estes ocupados com mil e uma crises, entre as quais se destacava o Vietname não deram qualquer atenção a Sadat, que não deixou de seguir a sua linha, expulsando os conselheiros soviéticos e iniciando uma aproximação aos norte-americanos.

Comparações e evoluções históricas à parte-Sadat acabou assassinado por ter assinado um acordo da paz com Israel sobre os auspícios americanos- o que parece mais lógico para Angola nesta fase é acentuar uma aproximação aos Estados Unidos, mesmo que estes não estejam atentos. E não estarão, pois entre a Covid- 19, a China e a Rússia, e múltiplas pequenas crises internas têm muito com que se ocupar. No entanto, o apoio efetivo e real dos EUA à nova política angolana é fundamental para que o país saia do marasmo e deixe de ter os condicionalismos financeiros externos, portanto, uma vigorosa aproximação à administração norte-americana seria aconselhável por parte de Angola, apesar da desconfiança mútua que existe.

6-Portugal é diferente

            A propósito da visita de Pedro Sanchez, primeiro-ministro espanhol, a Angola surgiu algumas críticas ao governo português, acusando-o de inação e de estar a ser ultrapassado por Espanha. Isto é um disparate. Nem Portugal pode pensar ter o monopólio das relações com Angola, nem sequer há qualquer perigo nas relações luso-angolanas. Portugal é sempre um caso à parte, a sua influência vem menos do governo e mais do soft power, da ligação umbilical que se mantém entre os povos de ambos os países. Luanda continua a parar quando o Sporting ganha o campeonato ou o Benfica tem um jogo muito importante, o destino preferido da maior parte dos angolanos é Portugal, as relações pessoais fáceis estabelecem-se entre portugueses e angolanos. Os empresários portugueses olham sempre para Angola como uma possibilidade de expansão dos seus negócios. As relações entre Angola e Portugal têm subjacente um entrosamento entre os povos antes da intervenção dos governos.

            A nível oficial o governo português é geralmente acolhedor em relação a Angola. Cerca de 2005 acolheu os desejos de investimento angolano, atualmente, acedeu aos pedidos de cooperação judicial de Angola relativamente a Isabel dos Santos, como antes acabou por enviar o processo de Manuel Vicente para Angola após grande pressão de Luanda. Digamos que há uma porosidade manifesta da posição portuguesa, adaptando-se com facilidade às posições e necessidades de Luanda. Esta posição aliada ao interesse das elites angolanas em Portugal, tem acabado por consolidar uma boa relação entre os dois países, apesar de um ou outro solavanco. É evidente que após o 25 de Abril de 1974, Portugal desinteressou-se de África, fazendo como sua prioridade número um a adesão à Europa e o tornar-se um país moderno ocidental. Este projeto está um pouco enrodilhado desde 2000, mas não levou Portugal ainda a uma revisão do seu foco europeu, apenas o obrigou a um olhar mais prolongado para África, depois de décadas de desinteresse. Talvez exista um momento em que Portugal queira centrar a sua política externa nos países lusófonos, mas esta não é a altura, como não é para Angola, que quer abraçar outras fonias, como a anglófona e francófona, portanto, o melhor que os governos podem fazer é facilitar o máximo a vida aos seus povos que desejem trabalhar em comum e apoiar mutuamente as solicitações de cada uma das partes, mas pouco mais.

Conclusão

O sumário da nova posição geopolítica angolana é que Angola aposta nos vetores ligados ao investimento externo e combate contra a corrupção, assumindo relevância na política externa parcerias com a Europa Ocidental, Espanha, França, Itália, Alemanha, Reino Unido, com o Golfo Pérsico, Emirados e Dubai, e com a Índia. Ao mesmo tempo, antecipa-se um reforço das relações com os Estados Unidos. Portugal terá sempre um lugar à parte.


Bibliografia utilizada

-Banco Nacional de Angola-Estatísticas- www.bna.ao

-Douglas Wheeler e René Pélissier, História de Angola, 2011

-Ian Taylor, India’s rise in Africa, International Affairs, 2012

-José Milhazes, Angola – O Princípio do Fim da União Soviética, 2009

-Robert Cooper, The Ambassadors: Thinking about Diplomacy from Machiavelli to Modern Times, 2021

-Rui Verde, Angola at the Crossroads. Between Kleptocracy and Development, 2021

-Saudi Vision 2030- https://www.vision2030.gov.sa/en

-Tom Burgis, The Looting Machine. Warlords, Tycoons, Smugglers and the Systematic Theft of Africa’s Wealth, 2015.

-Factos públicos e informativos retirados da Lusa, DW, Jornal de Negócios, Jornal de Angola, Angonotícias e Novo Jornal.

Rule of Law and Corruption in Angola: for a mini-system of justice against corruption

1. Introduction. Fight against corruption in Angola. Goals and facts

Corruption has become such a widespread phenomenon in Angola that it has jeopardized the survival of the state itself and the country’s economic viability. The so-called fight against corruption is not a matter of the police and combating criminal activity. It is something much bigger and much more important. In fact, what is called corruption in Angola is a more widespread phenomenon of large-scale appropriation of national resources and “privatization of sovereignty”[1]. It consists of varied behaviors that fulfill various criminal types such as fraud, abuse of trust, embezzlement, tax fraud, money laundering, among others, and not just the crime of corruption. What this phenomenon entails is the capture of the State and the Economy by the corrupt forces and the use of their mechanisms of power for their own benefit. It is a systemic degradation of the country’s political and economic body. Ultimately, corruption in Angola prevents the functioning of political institutions and the economy in a free market environment[2].

We believe that it was the perception of the seriousness of corruption for the political and economic development of the country that led João Lourenço to determine as one of the fundamental goals of his presidential mandate the fight against it. It is not worth mentioning the numerous speeches and actions initiated on the topic, to confirm that the fight against corruption has effectively become an insurmountable point of the presidential mandate.

If this goal is clear and justified, the questions arise at the level of implementation. Some criticize what they call the selectivity of the cases taken to court, others the slowness and still others the trampling of legal forms.

We do not see that there is selectivity in the fight against corruption. Just observe the judgments that have taken place and we will see that the people who have been sentenced are different. We have in the case of “Thai fraud”, a former Director of the foreign investment office, Norberto Garcia and a former Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, General Nunda. Both were acquitted and now occupy important positions, Garcia in the presidential office and Nunda as Ambassador in London. Then we have Augusto Tomás, former Minister of Transport, who was sentenced to effective imprisonment, José Filomeno dos Santos, son of the former President of the Republic, sentenced to five years in prison and awaiting the result of the appeal in freedom, just like Valter Filipe, former Governor of the National Bank of Angola. Finally, we recently had Manuel Rabelais sentenced to 14 years in prison. Rabelais was the strong man of social communication at the time of José Eduardo dos Santos. He also awaits the outcome of the appeal in freedom. It can be seen that they are not all, not even the majority, of the family of José Eduardo dos Santos, only one is a son; have different prison issues and different results. No selectivity is confirmed.

Different is the procedural slowness and some disruption with legal forms. Even recently, the Attorney General of the Republic in relation to the alleged case related to Isabel dos Santos, which will possibly be the most important and outstanding process in Angola, said that it was overdue because it was too complex[3]. And many other lawsuits drag on and raise legal doubts. Not going into details here, what is worth noting is, at this moment, (April 16, 2021), there is only one very relevant political process that has been res judicata and served time. The other two cases of very relevant people are on appeal, and nothing else has come to trial.

This scenario for a situation of extreme urgency like the one described above is very short. There is no doubt that the fight against corruption was an urgency and priority of the State and that it was assumed as such by the President, what is verified is that the judicial results are still limited. Our opinion is that this lack of results is a consequence of a good faith option of the political power that does not work. This option was to combat corruption with the normal and customary means existing in the Angolan judicial system. The use of the judicial system as it stands to fight corruption is not satisfactory. We will see the reason why such an option does not work and the alternatives.

2. The option to fight corruption within the pre-existing judicial system

When the political power chose the fight against corruption as its main goal, it decided to make this fight through the pre-existing judicial bodies and with the usual regular people. There was no organic or personnel renewal, just mere adjustments, the Vice-AGR moved up to AGR (Pesident), the Presidents of the Supreme Court and Constitutional Court switched positions and some slightly hasty laws on asset recovery were passed. So, few moves to launch the fight against corruption. This option must have corresponded to a formalistic opinion given by the most eminent Angolan jurists according to which, the fight against corruption should be carried out within the rule of law and with the existing legal means. Only in this way would the necessary rights of defense and credibility of the processes be guaranteed. And in the face of foreigners it could always be said that there would be no abuse on the part of the authorities as it was the installed judicial system that was operating within the usual regulations of the rule of law.

This legal normality seems correct, but in reality, it is what prevents a real, swift and effective fight against corruption. What we are watching is the machine and people who were captured in the past by corrupt interests to make this fight against corruption. For this reason, cases are physically lost in the courts, others turn into a mess, others come up with unacceptable decisions and others extend inexplicably. In fact, handing over the existing judicial structure the fight against corruption cases  turns out to be a mistake. If that structure was also corrupt, it cannot, for reasons of elementary logic, be judging corruption, the patronage relations of the past, the favors owed, the usual venality, are too strong, for suddenly a blanket of integrity to remove everything. What we have been seeing is that the judiciary system is unable to fight corruption. Lawsuits with beginning, middle and end are rare. It is as if there is a dysfunctionality between the intentions of the Executive Branch and the concretizations of the Judiciary Branch.

The reality is that we are asking for a structure that collaborated and benefited from the corruption that is now combating it; in the end, to turn against itself. Safeguarding, that in this structure there are agents of change, judges, prosecutors, police, employees, who must be praised for their hard work, the fact is that they are an exception – even if they are large – and do not prevent the judicial structure as a whole from being conservative and risk-averse to fighting yesterday’s allies.

To that extent, the fight against corruption may turn out to be inglorious and not work, given the various existing structural obstacles.

3. Historical examples of overcoming the atavistic magistrates

It is not the first time that magistrates, due to their conservatism and risk aversion, call into question the intentions of new regimes. There are impressive historical examples, which also contribute to solutions to this problem.

Briefly, we will refer to two situations.

The first to mention occurred after the French Revolution and the establishment of the legal regime that followed, namely at the level of administrative law. This right was considered key to the development of the new regime as it would regulate the activity of the new State and its relations with citizens. Being the revolutionary state and wanting to institute a regime based on new values ​​- Freedom, Equality and Fraternity – feared that the judges, belonging to the privileged classes and one of the pillars of the Ancien Régime, would prevent these demands and become insurmountable obstacles to the new measures. To remedy this danger as early as 1790, an August law would define a code of relations between the judiciary and the administration, prohibiting the courts from participating in the exercise of legislative and executive powers, in particular by preventing the ordinary judge from intervening in the activity of the administration . A year later, a new Penal Code provides for sanctions against judges who rule on the functioning of an administrative body. The logic that presided over administrative law after the French Revolution was a logic of tightness vis-à-vis the judiciary, for the Revolution to move forward, the judges had to be removed. This logic has evolved and has allowed the creation of a new judicial system, autonomous from the ordinary judicial system. Thus, alongside administrative laws, administrative courts and administrative judges emerged, a body foreign to previous judges[4].

Another situation in which there was a need to circumvent the conservatism of judges linked to an old regime, occurred in Austria, after the end of the First World War (1918). There, a Republic replaced the old Habsburg Empire, and a new class of judges was needed to enforce the new Republican values. It is in this context that the Constitutional Court and Hans Kelsen’s new conceptualization on the subject arises. A new court is set up with different judges.

This means that in several historical circumstances, when political power felt that judges and courts did not correspond to new times and values, it became necessary to create new parallel, complementary or supplementary judicial systems. It is a suggestion of this kind that is made in relation to the present time in Angola[5].

4. Rule of law for corruption

Many argue that in Angola there are already adequate mechanisms to fight corruption and that it is imperative to respect the rule of law, considering that this is represented by the systems and laws as they are at the moment. We cannot subscribe to this thesis for two reasons. The first is based on a theoretical point of view, while the second has an eminently practical character.

In theoretical terms, the rule of law is no more, nor less than respect for the law approved according to pre-established criteria, therefore, the opposite of arbitration. The rule of law implies that there is a law and that everyone respects it. Several legal thinkers add to this formal assumption, that the rule of law also contains a substantive element linked to equality – all are equal before the law, and to freedom – there is a presumption in favor of freedom in the implementation of legal norms. Others go even further by equating the rule of law with a range of fundamental rights and democratic principles[6]. We did not follow this last version, staying for the second. However, this is not important, it is important to note that the rule of law admits that there are specific rules for certain situations. A typical example is the constitutional rules for the State of Emergency (see Articles 58 and 204 of the Angolan Constitution), another example is the system of autonomous administrative law as it exists in France or Portugal. In Portugal, we have a very clear situation of a system completely separate from the ordinary judicial system, with its own laws, specific courts, judges with independent careers in what concerns administrative law, the right of state power and its relationship with citizens. Therefore, from a theoretical point of view and the rule of law, it is not difficult to design mini legal systems dedicated to certain matters.

If, from a theoretical point of view, there can be a different rule of law for issues of great economic and financial crime and state capture (alias corruption) with different rules from the normal rule of law, from a practical point of view it is clear that this is the only way they will be able to combat the corruption installed in the sovereign power of the State. Only by establishing a mini-system that is impervious to influence and with its own rules will this be feasible.

The truth is that each national legal system admits several subsystems according to the subjects or properties outlined. This does not violate any conception of the rule of law, on the contrary it creates rules and obligations for all, transparent and clear, in certain areas. In short, there will be a rule of law for normality and a rule of law for corruption.

5. The proposal: creation of the mini-anti-corruption judicial system

The proposal presented here is simple: to create an anti-corruption judicial mini-system from scratch, or more precisely a legal system relating to major crimes of an economic and financial nature and the capture of the State.

This legal system would operate independently of the other judicial bodies and would consist of four parts:

i) A special body with judicial powers for investigation and prosecution. This body would be a mix of judicial police and public prosecutors having powers to investigate, apprehend, search and detain, ask for international judicial cooperation and in the end make an indictment or file a major corruption case. It would only work in these cases and would be composed of a body of agents with focused and dedicated training.

ii) A system of courts dedicated to these crimes. For the judgment and appeal of cases of serious economic-financial crime and capture of the State, there would be a system of courts solely dedicated to this matter. This system of courts would imply a revision of the Constitution with regard to Article 176 nº3 and nº5. Jurisdiction should be allowed for major crimes of an economic and financial nature and also abolish the ban on courts with exclusive jurisdiction to judge certain types of offenses.

iii) An autonomous and dedicated body of judges would be another part of this mini-system against corruption. Certain judges would specialize in these matters who would fill the seats in the courts.

iv) Finally, this system should have a simplified procedural law drafted in the same way as the current American or French law that allows for quick and fair judgments.

Alternatively, and in case it is not intended to carry out a constitutional review on the subject, instead of creating a system of exclusive courts with its own judges, it could always establish specialized sections to fight corruption in the existing judicial courts. Courts in the provincial capitals or Luanda alone, as well as the Appeal and the Supreme Court, would have specialized sections for corruption. In this case, article 176 was respected when new courts were not created with exclusive powers to judge certain types of infraction, but at the same time we would have sections of ordinary courts or rooms dedicated to the topic. This is already constitutionally possible and the remaining proposed mini-system remained as described.


[1] The expression is characterized by Achille Mbembe, On the postcolony, 2001.

[2] On the impact of corruption in Angola see Rafael Marques, The space of freedom between corruption and justice, 2019, in MakaAngola (https://www.makaangola.org/2019/12/o-espaco-de-liberdade-entre -a-corrupcao-ea-justica /), Ricardo Soares de Oliveira, Magnificent and Beggar Land: Angola Since the Civil War, 2015 and Rui Verde, Angola at the Crossroads. Between Kleptocracy and Development, 2021.

[3] https://www.jornaldeangola.ao/ao/noticias/pgr-admite-complexidade-no-caso-isabel-dos-santos-2-2/ 

[4] Jean-Louis Mestre, « Administration, justice et droit administratif », Annales historiques de la Révolution française 328 | avril-juin 2002. http://journals.openedition.org/ahrf/608

[5] Sara Ligi, “Hans Kelsen and the Austrian Constitutional Court (1918-1929)”, June 2012, Co-herenci,a 9(16):273-295. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/262430581_Hans_Kelsen_and_the_Austrian_Constitutional_Court_1918-1929

[6] See a detailed analysis of the concepts of the rule of law and their historical and spatial differences in Rui Verde, Brexit. The triumph of chaos? 2019

The economic and financial sector in the Angolan constitutional review – In particular, the enshrining of the independence of the central bank

1. Introduction. Constitutional review in Angola

The present Angolan Constitution (CRA) dates from 2010 and has never been revised. Recently, President João Lourenço announced that he had taken the initiative to propose a constitutional revision.

A first comment that this action raises is that the Angolan president has a courageous policy facing the several challenges that have been placed on him: combating corruption, economic reform, quick reaction to Covid-19. At the moment, the fruits of this determined confrontation are not yet reaping, and there lies some paradox, a reformist president risks being submerged by his own reforms.

The present proposal for constitutional revision is minimalist, and so it was assumed by the government. In this sense, it risks creating expectations in the population that later will not be met. However, it represents a very important step in the discussion of the Angolan political model and the fact is that the constitutional discussion will be more important even though the effective changes that will eventually be inserted in the Constitution.

The purpose of this text is to highlight and analyze the main proposals for constitutional revision in the area of ​​economics and finance.

2. The proposed constitutional review law in the economic and financial area

The first proposed modification is found in article 14 of the CRA, which concerns private property. The expression “promotes[1]” is introduced, with the meaning of being a function of the State in addition to guaranteeing and protecting private property and free enterprise, also the promotion of private enterprise. Positive State behavior is introduced, that of promoting free private initiative.

Later on, a new number 4 is added to Article 37 that regulates the “Right and limits of private property”. This number establishes the possibility of nationalization in the case of “ponderous reasons of national interest”. It also introduces confiscation as a sanctioning measure, which is permitted when there is a serious offense against laws that protect the economic interests of the State.

Naturally, it is in the Title about the Economic, Financial and Tax Organization that some modifications in the economic area are added. Article 92 will contain new paragraphs 2 and 3. The new wording proposed for paragraph 2, aims to “clarify the scope and meaning of the principle of community property, as a type of property enshrined in Article 14 of the Constitution, which defines the nature of the economic system by calling the regulation of the exercise of this type of property the rules of customary law that do not contradict the economic system, the social market regime and the fundamental principles of the Constitution ”. Paragraph 3 establishes the legal existence of the unstructured sector of the economy, i.e., it refers to the informal economy, pointing to its progressive institutionalization.

Then we have article 100 on the National Bank of Angola (BNA). In paragraph 1 of this article, it is determined that the BNA will be the “central bank and issuer of the Republic of Angola” and will have as primary functions: to guarantee price stability in order to ensure the preservation of the value of the national currency and ensure the stability of the financial system. Therefore, the BNA’s functions are limited to combating inflation and the stability of the financial system.

Then, in paragraph 2, “the new legal nature of BNA is enshrined, as an independent administrative entity, with an eminently regulatory nature, and the content of the principle of independence of this type of entities is signaled”. “Transmission of recommendations or issuance of directives to the governing bodies of the BNA on its activity, structure, functioning, decision-making” is hereby prohibited on the priorities to be adopted in the pursuit of constitutional and legally defined attributions, by the Executive Branch or any other public entity.

Subsequent paragraphs of the same article state that: “The Governor of the National Bank of Angola is appointed by the President of the Republic, after hearing in the National Assembly’s Specialized Labor Committee.” And they stipulate a detailed procedure for that appointment. There is a duty of parliamentary hearing, but the final decision rests with the President of the Republic.

Another change concerns the General State Budget (GSB). Article 104 proposes an amendment “in order to remove a current idea that the budget of local authorities is part of the GSB”. The GSB will provide for transfers to be made to municipalities, but not their income and expenses.

3-Analysis and comment on the proposed changes to the economic and financial Constitution

The articles to be amended are 14, 37, 92, 100 and 104.

ARTICLE 14

In relation to article 14, the State will be responsible for promoting private initiative. In addition to the rhetorical aspect of such a statement, in practical terms, this rule allows the State to assist the private sector in a consistent manner, for example, expanding free zones and tax benefits for the private business, subsidizing private companies, creating partnerships with the private sector. The State shouldn’t be merely passive and adopt a positive and active attitude towards the private sector. It is a good sign for the market.

ARTICLE 37

Article 37 is of a different nature and constitutes the only constitutional amendment directly related to the fight against corruption. In the face of a constitutional gap, the general principles on which nationalization and confiscation can take place will now be established. This last part is essential to achieve the recovery of assets that is underway in which it becomes very difficult to understand the legal framework.

It is now clear that the state can confiscate assets when there has been a serious offense against laws that protect its economic interests. In simple language, it is now clear that those who have been charged at the expense of public funds may be without these assets, with no need for a final criminal case, but only the conclusion that they have carried out a serious offense against the laws that guarantee economic interests of the State. This rule is to be applauded in the present context of combating corruption.

ARTICLE 92

If the promotion of private initiative and the speeding up of the recovery of assets obtained from corrupt activities are measures that deserve praise, more doubts raises the rule of article 92 regarding the informal economy. More than “its progressive framing in the structured economy system” (proposed wording of Article 92, paragraph 3), which essentially means the payment of taxes and fees, what the Constitution should advocate was the adoption of supportive policies to the informal sector of the economy, which is a real buffer from the lack of work and an incubator for potential successful small and medium-sized companies[2].

It has already been pointed out that in southern Africa, the informal economic sector is a crucial element of survival, given that 72% of all non-agricultural employment resides in the informal sector and the majority of new jobs show up there. The informal economy provides income and employment to all people, regardless of education or experience. In Angola, the majority of employed people are also involved in the informal economy, as otherwise they would not be able to support all of their expenses. To that extent, it is necessary to be very cautious in establishing rules about the informal economy because it helps the Angolan government[3].

ARTICLE 100

In terms of public opinion, the core of the constitutional change in economic and financial terms will be found in article 100 referring to the BNA. This article contains three main lines:

  1. The BNA is the “guarantee price stability in order to ensure the preservation of the value of the national currency and ensures the stability of the financial system”. Thus, the BNA’s functions related to inflation and the financial system are precisely determined;
  2. The BNA becomes an independent administrative authority and therefore “independent in the pursuit of its duties and in the exercise of public powers”. It is the famous independence of the central bank, which today is defended by most economic doctrine.
  3. The Governor of BNA is appointed by the President of the Republic, after hearing the National Assembly. It should be noted that the National Assembly has no right of veto, but of hearing.

The enshrining of central bank independence corresponds to the modern dominant trend in economic doctrine. The arguments in favor of central bank independence can easily be summed up. Governments are thought to tend making wrong decisions about monetary policy. In particular, they are influenced by short-term political considerations. Before an election, the temptation is for the government to cut interest rates, making economic cycles of expansion and retraction more likely. Thus, if a government has a history of allowing inflation, inflation expectations start to rise, making it more likely.

An independent central bank can have more credibility and inspire more confidence. Having more confidence in the central bank helps to reduce inflationary expectations. Consequently, it becomes easier to keep inflation low. Thus, there is an attempt to introduce additional credibility in monetary policy and to increase the fight against inflation. It should be noted that inflation is an evil that has endured in the Angolan economy for too long.

This measure is correct and should be considered positive.

ARTICLE 104

The last change concerns the clarification of the differentiation between the General State Budget and the Municipalities, as part of the material preparation for the installation of the municipalities.

Conclusion

Minimalist, the proposed constitutional revision in the area of economics and finance aims to reinforce the signs of the market economy and macroeconomic stability, highlighting as an essential element of this law the consecration of central bank independence and its focus on combating inflation.

*****

Attachment: New proposed wording of the norms referring to the economic and financial sector

“Article 14

(Private property and free enterprise)

The State respects, and protects the private property of natural or legal persons and promotes free economic and business initiative, exercised under the terms of the Constitution and the Law ”.

“Article 37

(Right and limits of private property)

1. […].

2. […].

3. […].

4. Own law defines the conditions under which the nationalization of private goods can occur for ponderous reasons of national interest and of confiscation for serious offense to the laws that protect the economic interests of the State ”.

“Article 92

(Economic Sectors)

1. […].

2. The State recognizes and protects the right to community property for the use and enjoyment of means of production by rural and traditional communities, under the terms of the Constitution and the law.

3. Own law establishes the principles and rules to which the unstructured sector of the economy is subject, aiming at its gradual inclusion in the structured economy system ”.

“Article 100

(National Bank of Angola)

1. The National Bank of Angola, as the central bank and issuer of the Republic of Angola, guarantees price stability in order to ensure the preservation of the value of the national currency and ensures the stability of the financial system, under the terms of the Constitution and the law.

2. As an independent administrative authority, the National Bank of Angola is independent in the performance of its duties and in the exercise of public powers to which it is concerned, in accordance with the Constitution and the law.

3. The Governor of the National Bank of Angola is appointed by the President of the Republic, after hearing the Specialized Labor Committee of the National Assembly, competent by reason of the matter, under the terms of the Constitution and the law, observing, for this purpose, the following procedure:

a) the hearing is triggered at the request of the President of the Republic;

b) the hearing of the proposed entity ends with the vote on the report in accordance with the law;

c) It is up to the President of the Republic to make the final decision in relation to the nomination of the proposed entity.

4. The Governor of the National Bank of Angola sends to the President of the Republic and to the National Assembly, a report on the evolution of monetary policy indicators, without prejudice to bank secrecy rules, the treatment of which, for the purposes of control and inspection by the National Assembly it is ensured under the terms of the Constitution and the law ”.

“Article 104

(General State Budget)

1. […].

2. The General State budget is unitary, estimates the level of revenue to be obtained and sets the authorized expenditure limits, in each fiscal year, for all services, public institutes, autonomous funds and social security and must be prepared in such a way as to that all the expenses provided for therein are financed ”.

3. The State Budget presents the report on the forecast of funds to be transferred to local authorities, under the terms of the law.

4. The law defines the rules for the preparation, presentation, adoption, execution, inspection and control of the General State Budget.

5. The execution of the State Budget complies with the principles of transparency, accountability and good governance and is supervised by the National Assembly and the Court of Auditors, under the terms and conditions defined by law ”.


[1] All citations without a specific source mentioned are from the 2021 Constitutional Review Law Proposal Rationale Report made public by the Government.

[2] Alain de Janvry e Elisabeth Sadoulet, Development Economics, 2016, p. 19

[3] Moiani Matondo, Em defesa das zungueiras e da economia informal, MakaAngola. https://www.makaangola.org/2020/04/em-defesa-das-zungueiras-e-da-economia-informal/

A radiography of the fight against corruption

1- Introduction. The discussion on fighting corruption in Angola

The fight against corruption was established as a main goal in the beginning of João Lourenço’s presidential term. What we want to know in this analysis is whether this fight has gone from rhetoric to practice, and, above all, what elements can identify a clear response to a theme that has become the subject of political dispute in Angola. To reach provisional conclusions – since the process against corruption has not ended yet – we will analyse some structural elements of the fight against corruption, such as the discourse of political power, the legislation adopted, the bodies created, international cooperation, the cases under investigation, the asset recovery and the universe of legal charges. Balancing all these elements together we will draw a picture of the current fight against corruption.

This text seeks to ascertain whether there is a fight against corruption in Angola, using the mentioned index elements. It does not take a general assessment of this fight, this will only be done at the end of the presidential term, nor does it investigate the failures and improvements necessary for that fight, which has been done in other studies. Here we want to gather elements and conclude about the praxis of fighting corruption in Angola.

2- Structuring elements of the fight against corruption

2.1- The political discourse

The fight against corruption began with a strong appeal from the political power that started with the inauguration of the President of the Republic. At that time, in September 2017, João Lourenço elected the fight against corruption as one of his priorities, stating that he will confront the corruption that “rages in state institutions.” The President emphasized the “direct negative impact on the State” of corruption, saying that it threatens “the foundations of the country” and concluding that this will be “one of the most important fronts of struggle in the coming years”[1]. Later, in February 2020, after several speeches of the same content, when the possibility of an agreement between the State and Isabel dos Santos was publicly raised, the President went out on a rally to vigorously reaffirm the priority of fighting corruption and denying any agreement with Isabel dos Santos[2]. Recently, on the anniversary of the Attorney General’s Office (AGO), he reaffirmed his commitment to this fight and praised the role of the AGO[3].

Three different moments, and three clear and solemn speeches on the fight against corruption by the President of the Republic and the holder of the executive power. The same rhetoric has been followed by other policy makers over the past few years. There have been no hesitations or setbacks in grammatical constructions. Therefore, from the point of view of political discourse, there is no doubt that there has been a strong and permanent commitment since 2017 in the fight against corruption, with the first analytical element being fulfilled. It is necessary to comply the following elements.

2.2.- Anti-corruption legislation

The political discourse was accompanied by legislation with a focus on combating corruption. The government passed two laws on the repatriation of capital, which it considered to be the cornerstone of its anti-corruption policy. These laws are the Law on the Repatriation of Financial Resources, alias the Law on Voluntary Repatriation (LVR), Law No. 9/18, of June 26, and the Law on Coercive Repatriation and Extended Loss of Assets, alias the Repatriation Corercive Law. (RCL), Law No. 15/18, of 26 December. These laws will represent the executive’s commitment to ensure that funds diverted by corruption, return to their rightful owner, the State. We will see further below which are the effects of applying these laws in terms of values. Later, in 2020, the National Assembly passed a new Penal Code and a new Penal Procedure Code. Although these laws are structuring for the entire State and the legal system, it should be noted that the new Penal Code has a specific chapter on Crimes Committed in the Exercise of Public Functions and in Prejudice to Public Functions (articles 357 to 375) which includes corruption (art. 358 to 361), undue receipt of advantages (art. 357), influence peddling (art. 366) and embezzlement (art. 362), among others. The entire sanctioning typology of criminal law has been revised and systematized to make it easier to understand and adapt.

Also, in the area of ​​public contracts, there were several changes aimed at strengthening transparency and the fight against corruption. Public contracting legislation was amended by Law No. 41/20, of 23 December. In 2018, the government approved the Primer on Ethics and Conduct in Public Contracts, the Practical Guide for the Prevention and Management of Risks of Corruption and Related Infractions in Public Contracts and the Guide for Reporting Corruption and Related Infractions in Public Contracts. In the area of ​​financial information, mechanisms to control illicit flows and to prevent money laundering were clearly reinforced. Note should be taken about Law No. 5/2020 of 27 January on the prevention and fight against money laundering, the financing of terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, resulting from the ratifications of the United Nations Conventions against Illicit Traffic in Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances, against Transnational Organized Crime and on the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism. Important, too, was Presidential Decree No. 2/18 of 9 January, which approved the Organic Statute of the Financial Information Unit, hereinafter referred to as the FIU and the Supervisory Committee, as a public service specialized in the coordination at national level of reinforcements for the prevention and repression of money laundering, financing of terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

We see, therefore, there is a massive update of legislation against corruption and money laundering. The rhetoric was lumped by the legislative act, the words to the norms. The next element of analysis concerns the organic.

2.3- Anti-corruption agencies

The government chose not to create new bodies, and to base the execution of the anti-corruption policy on the already existing institutions: Attorney General’s Office (AGO), Banco Nacional de Angola, Financial Information Unit, Criminal Investigation Service (CIS), etc.

However, at the level of the AGO, it created a sub-body with specific functions in the fight against corruption: the National Asset Recovery Service. This service was created by Law 15/18, of December 26, Law on Coercive Repatriation and Extended Loss of Assets. According to article 13 of that Law, the main task of this National Service is to proceed with the location, identification and seizure of assets, financial and non-financial assets or products related to crime, whether those assets are in Angola or abroad. In addition, the Service has the expertise to ensure international cooperation among its counterparts, as well as to exercise the other attributions conferred by law, in which it is worth mentioning the initiation of any civil, administrative or fiscal action in order to recover the assets taken out illegally from the State.

The practical functioning of the Service has been based on the opening of patrimonial investigations attached to the criminal proceedings that are under terms in the judicial authorities, to investigate and identify the location of assets that may be the subject of a confiscation order and the adoption of measures necessary for its recovery. Within this scope, the Service carries out all necessary measures (sending rogatory letters to its counterparts, ordering seizures and requesting foreclosures) to ensure that the assets do not dissipate. It should be noted that this body does not act alone, but in cooperation with the bodies that have the main processes. However, the truth is that it has stood out for the amount of seizures and measures taken.

There are several examples of the Asset Recovery Service’s activity. In July 2020, it ordered the seizure of three buildings, office and residential, called Três Torres, in Luanda. The buildings, known as Três Torres and recently built, include Torre A Offices, and Torre B and C Residencial, are located in the urban district of Ingombota, in Luanda, the country’s capital. At the time, Deutsche Welle said that: “The name of Manuel Vicente, ex-president of Sonangol and ex-vice president of the country, is pointed out, on the grapevine, as being connected to the buildings[4].” In September 2020, the Service determined the seizure of the minority shareholding of 49% of AAA Ativos in the SBA, as well as buildings of the AAA group, belonging to Carlos São Vicente, within the scope of the patrimonial investigation process linked to the criminal process that it concerns. In 2021, five housing projects were seized, namely Tambarino Project (Lobito, Benguela), Palanca Negra (Malanje), Mifongo Project (Malanje) and the Ex-Petro projects, in Golf II and Nova Vida III, both in Luanda. At the same time, as part of a lawsuit against the former chairman of the board of the Banco de Poupança e Crédito (BPC), Paixão Júnior, the Service also seized containers of material for the erection of a yoghurt factory in Benguela that was delivered to the Smart Solution company.

These are mere examples of a broad work that is being developed by this service dynamically directed by Public Prosecutor Eduarda Rodrigues. This Service could possibly be the embryo of a more global and comprehensive anti-corruption body, as we have argued.

2.4.- International judicial cooperation

Along with the asset recovery work carried in the sub-organ described above, there has been a wide appeal to international judicial cooperation. First, it is important to highlight the requests addressed and fulfilled to Portugal. The activity with Portugal has been immense, since the rogatory letters referring to Isabel dos Santos and her associates that have already led to multiple “freezes” of social participation in Portuguese lands. It was recently reported that the Central Court of Criminal Investigation (TCCI) arrested the bank accounts in Portugal of three Isabel dos Santos’ friends, at the request of the judicial authorities of Angola. The seizure of the accounts of Mário Leite da Silva, Paula Oliveira and Sarju Raikundalia was carried out in the context of a rogatory letter sent from Angola to Portugal in January 2020. In that letter, the Angolan authorities requested the preventive seizure in Portugal of assets by Isabel dos Santos and his three friends up to a total value of 1.15 billion euros, as a guarantee of possible future compensation to Angola[5].” Carlos São Vicente and others were also the subject of rogatory letters and requests to Portugal.

The Angolan AGO reported days ago that requests for cooperation have already been made to Switzerland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Bermuda, the United Arab Emirates, Mauritius, the Kingdom of Monaco, Malta, the Isles of Man and others. Within the scope of international cooperation, the Attorney General’s Office has already requested the seizure of assets worth approximately US $ 5 billion.

3- Benchmarks

3.1.- Quantitative indices

All the activity that has been described has shown quantifiable results that are reproduced here:

• Since the beginning of the fight against corruption, the Angolan State has definitively recovered in cash and assets a total of around 5.3 billion dollars.

• In addition, it asked to seize US $ 5.4 billion in foreign jurisdictions.

• In Angola, assets worth around US $ 4 billion have already been arrested and seized. Such assets are still subject to the respective lawsuits still pending, awaiting a final decision at first instance or on appeal.

• 1522 criminal cases were opened regarding corruption-related crime and alike.

3.2. Qualitative indices

In terms of criminal charges, the prosecutor’s office has handed down charges against a variety of senior dignitaries. Noteworthy are the accusatory orders against: General Sachipengo Nunda, former Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, Norberto Garcia, former director of the External Investment Agency, Valter Filipe, former Governor of the central bank, José Filomeno dos Santos, former CEO from the Sovereign Fund, Augusto Tomás, former Minister of Transport, Manuel Rabelais, former Minister of Social Communication, Carlos São Vicente, former President of the AAA Group.

In addition to these public figures, there are a myriad of cases at the provincial level that are replicated in each one. Recently, it was noted that the former director of the Regional Office Planning, Urbanism and Environment in the province of Bengo was sentenced to two years in prison for the crimes of active and passive corruption and undue receipt of 125 million kwanzas. In the same process, the former director of the legal office of the Provincial Government of Bengo, and the ex-director of the office of the former governor were also sentenced to one year in prison for the crimes of passive corruption and degree of influence and having benefited from monetary values in the business.

In what concerns the “freezing” of assets, the assets of Manuel Vicente and generals Dino and Kopelipa, among others, were seized or handed over. Regarding the latter two, it should be noted that as representatives of the companies China International Fund Angola – CIF and Cochan, SA, the generals handed over the shares they held in the company Biocom-Companhia de Bionergia de Angoala, Lda., in the Kero Supermarket chain and in the company Damer Gráficas-Sociedade Industrial de Artes Gráficas SA. Still in relation to Manuel Vicente, the President of the Republic determined the nationalization of 60% of the shareholdings of the commercial company Miramar Empreendimentos, SA “, which covers” 43% of the shares belonging to the Suninvest — Investimentos, Participações e Empreendimentos, SA “and” 17% of the shares belonging to Sommis, SGPS. These shares belong to Manuel Vicente.

Obviously, it is also necessary to mention the seizures of assets referring to Isabel dos Santos and her associates.

4-Conclusions

In this study we tried to assess, with precise elements, the reality of the fight against corruption in Angola at this moment. Take an “x-ray”. We conclude that there is a powerful rhetoric to support the fight against corruption, that appropriate legislation has been passed, a specific sub-body has been created with a view to recovering assets, an entity that has shown itself to be quite committed. International judicial cooperation is quite broad. From the asset recovery point of view, between seizures and definitive deliveries, perhaps US $ 10 billion have already been obtained. Various accusations have already been made against several senior individuals.

What is to be concluded from this list is the scope of those who have already been the target of an accusation or action to recover assets. It cannot be said that there is selectivity, because in fact we have a representative sample of the former senior officials, nor can it be said that there is no action. There were many and diverse. It does not mean that the scope of the fight cannot and should not be extended. In sum, there is a wide-ranging fight against corruption in Angola, which translates into the elements that we have identified here.

However, this does not mean that this fight does not need several improvements and has several flaws, which we have already identified in previous studies, namely, the lack of specialization and of its own extensive investigation and justice bodies, the need for promptness, and the creation of modern mechanisms to prevent the continuation of corrupt practices.

Fig. nº 1-  Table of Contents to Combat Corruption

Supporting political SpeechYES
Adequate new legislationYES
New OrganicYES/Partial
International Judicial CooperationYES
Asset RecoveryYES
Criminal chargesYES/Need for specialization and promptness

[1] https://www.publico.pt/2017/09/26/mundo/noticia/joao-lourenco-promete-combater-a-corrupcao-que-grassa-o-estado-1786811

[2] https://www.dw.com/pt-002/jo%C3%A3o-louren%C3%A7o-quebra-o-sil%C3%AAncio-e-fala-%C3%A0-dw-sobre-isabel-dos-santos/av-52240806

[3] https://novojornal.co.ao/politica/interior/joao-lourenco-elogia-pgr-no-combate-a-corrupcao-uma-das-suas-prioridades-anunciadas-quando-tomou-posse-101998.html

[4]  https://www.dw.com/pt-002/angola-pgr-apreende-tr%C3%AAs-pr%C3%A9dios-em-luanda/a-54272442

[5] https://angola24horas.com/component/k2/item/20926-justica-portuguesa-arresta-contas-bancarias-de-amigos-de-isabel-dos-santos

Radiografia do combate à corrupção em Angola

1- Introdução. A discussão sobre o combate à corrupção em Angola

O combate à corrupção foi estabelecido como um objetivo principal no dealbar do mandato presidencial de João Lourenço. O que se procura saber nesta análise é se este combate passou da retórica para a prática, e, sobretudo, quais os elementos que podem identificar uma resposta clara de um tema que se tornou objeto de disputa política em Angola. Para chegarmos a conclusões provisórias-uma vez que o dito combate ainda não terminou-vamos analisar alguns elementos estruturantes do combate à corrupção como o discurso do poder político, a legislação adotada, os órgãos criados, a cooperação internacional, os casos em investigação, a recuperação de ativos e o universo de acusações judiciais. Juntando todos estes elementos chegaremos a uma fotografia do presente combate à corrupção.

Este texto cura averiguar se existe ou não combate à corrupção em Angola, utilizado os elementos-índice referidos. Não procede a um balanço desse combate, tal só será feito no final do mandato presidencial, nem investiga as falhas e melhoramentos necessários para esse combate, o que tem vindo a ser feito noutros estudos. Aqui quer-se juntar elementos e concluir acerca da práxis do combate à corrupção em Angola

2Elementos estruturantes do combate à corrupção

2.1- O discurso político

O combate à corrupção iniciou-se com um forte apelo do poder político que começou na tomada de posse do Presidente da República. Nessa altura, em setembro de 2017, João Lourenço elegeu a luta contra a corrupção como uma das suas prioridades afirmando ir confrontar a corrupção que “grassa nas instituições do Estado.” O Presidente enfatizou o “impacto negativo directo no Estado” da corrupção, afirmando que esta ameaça “os alicerces do país” e concluindo que esta será “uma das mais importantes frentes de luta dos próximos anos”[1]. Mais tarde, em fevereiro de 2020, depois de variados discursos do mesmo teor, quando se colocou publicamente a possibilidade de um acordo entre o Estado e Isabel dos Santos, o Presidente saiu a terreiro para vigorosamente reafirmar a prioridade do combate à corrupção e negar qualquer acordo com Isabel dos Santos.[2] Recentemente, por ocasião do aniversário da Procuradoria-Geral da República (PGR), reafirmou o seu empenho nesse combate e elogiou o papel da PGR[3].

Três momentos diferentes, e três discursos claros e solenes sobre o combate à corrupção por parte do Presidente da República e titular do poder executivo. A mesma retórica tem acompanhado outros decisores políticos ao longo destes últimos anos. Não tem havido hesitações ou recuos nas construções gramaticais. Nessa medida, do ponto de vista do discurso político não existe dúvida que há um empenho forte e permanente desde 2017 em relação ao combate à corrupção, ficando preenchido o primeiro elemento analítico. Cumpre seguir para os seguintes elementos.

2.2- Legislação contra a corrupção

O discurso político foi acompanhado por legislação com o foco no combate à corrupção. O governo fez aprovar duas leis sobre repatriamento de capitais, as quais considerou serem a pedra-de-toque da sua política contra a corrupção. Essas leis são a Lei do Repatriamento de Recursos Financeiros, vulgo Lei do Repatriamento Voluntário (LRV), Lei n.º 9/18, de 26 de junho, e a Lei sobre o Repatriamento Coercivo e Perda Alargada de Bens, vulgo Lei do Repatriamento Coercivo (LRC), Lei n.º 15/18, de 26 de dezembro. As referidas leis representarão o empenho do executivo em garantir que os fundos desviados pela corrupção, retornam ao seu legítimo dono, o Estado. Veremos mais abaixo quais têm sido os efeitos da aplicação dessas leis em termos de valores. Mais tarde, em 2020, a Assembleia Nacional, aprovou um novo Código Penal e um novo Código de Processo Penal. Embora estas leis sejam estruturantes de todo o Estado e ordenamento jurídico, é de realçar que o Código Penal novo tem um capítulo específico sobre Crimes Cometidos no Exercício de Funções Públicas e em Prejuízo de Funções Públicas (art.ºs 357.º a 375.º) em que se inclui a corrupção (art.ºs 358.º a 361.º), o recebimento indevido de vantagens (art.º 357.º), o tráfico de influências (art.º 366.º) e o peculato (artigo 362.º), entre outros. Toda a tipicidade sancionatória do direito penal foi revista e sistematizada para ser de mais fácil compreensão e adequação.

Também na área dos contratos públicos existiram várias alterações com vista a reforçar a transparência e a luta contra a corrupção. A legislação da contração pública foi alterada pela Lei n.º 41/20, de 23 de dezembro. Em 2018, o governo aprovara a Cartilha de Ética e Conduta na Contratação Pública, o Guia Prático de Prevenção e Gestão de Riscos de Corrupção e Infrações Conexas nos Contratos Públicos e o Guia de Denúncias de Indícios de Corrupção e Infrações Conexas nos Contratos Públicos.

Igualmente na área da informação financeira foram reforçados manifestamente os mecanismos de controlo de fluxos ilícitos e de prevenção do branqueamento de capitais. Há que destacar a Lei n.º 5/2020 de 27 de janeiro sobre a prevenção e combate ao branqueamento de capitais, do financiamento do terrorismo e da proliferação de armas de destruição em massa, resultante das ratificações das Convenções das Nações Unidas contra o Tráfico Ilícito de Narcóticos e Substâncias Psicotrópicas, contra o Crime Organizado Transnacional e sobre a Supressão do Financiamento do Terrorismo. Importante foi também o Decreto Presidencial n.º 2/18 de 9 de janeiro que aprovou o Estatuto Orgânico da Unidade de Informação Financeira, adiante designada por UIF e do Comité de Supervisão, enquanto serviço público especializado na coordenação ao nível nacional dos reforços de prevenção e repressão do branqueamento de capitais, financiamento do terrorismo e da proliferação de armas de destruição massiva.

Vemos, portanto, que existe uma atualização maciça da legislação contra a corrupção e o branqueamento de capitais. À retórica juntou-se o ato legislativo, às palavras as normas. O elemento seguinte de análise prende-se com a orgânica.

2.3- Órgãos de combate à corrupção

O governo optou por não criar novos órgãos, e assentar a execução da política anticorrupção nas instituições já existentes: Procuradoria-Geral da República (PGR), Banco Nacional de Angola, Unidade de Informação Financeira, Serviço de Investigação Criminal (SIC), etc.

No entanto, ao nível da PGR criou um subórgão com funções específicas no combate à corrupção: o Serviço Nacional de Recuperação de Activos. Este serviço foi criado pela Lei 15/18, de 26 de dezembro, Lei sobre o Repatriamento Coercivo e a Perda Alargada de Bens. De acordo com o artigo 13.º dessa Lei, a atribuição principal desse Serviço Nacional consiste em proceder à localização, identificação e apreensão dos bens, ativos financeiros e não financeiros ou produtos relacionados com o crime, quer esses bens estejam em Angola quer estejam no exterior do país. Além disso, o Serviço tem competência para assegurar a cooperação internacional entre as suas congéneres, bem como exercer as demais atribuições conferidas por lei, em que se destaca a instauração de qualquer ação cível, administrativa ou fiscal com o intuito de se recuperar os ativos retirados ilicitamente do Estado.

O funcionamento prático do Serviço tem estado estribado na abertura de investigações patrimoniais em apenso aos processos-crime que correm termos nas autoridades judiciárias, com vista a investigar e identificar a localização dos ativos suscetíveis de serem objeto de uma decisão de perda e a adoção das medidas necessárias à sua recuperação. Dentro deste escopo o Serviço efetiva todas medidas necessárias (envio de cartas rogatórias a suas congéneres, ordenar apreensões e requerer arrestos) para garantir que os ativos não se dissipem. De notar que este órgão não atua sozinho, mas em cooperação com os órgãos que têm os processos principais. No entanto, a verdade é que se tem destacado pelo montante de apreensões e medidas tomadas.

Existem vários exemplos da atividade do Serviço de Recuperação de Activos. Em julho de 2020, ordenou a apreensão de três edifícios, de escritórios e residenciais, denominados Três Torres, em Luanda. Os prédios, conhecidos como Três Torres e construídos recentemente, incluem a Torre A Escritórios, e Torre B e C Residencial, estão localizados no distrito urbano da Ingombota, em Luanda, capital do país. Na altura, a Deutsche Welle referiu que: “O nome de Manuel Vicente, ex-presidente da Sonangol e ex-vice-Presidente do país, é apontado, à boca pequena, como estando ligado aos edifícios.”[4] Em setembro de 2020, o Serviço determinou a apreensão da participação social minoritária de 49% da AAA Ativos no SBA, bem como edifícios do grupo AAA, pertencentes a Carlos São Vicente, no âmbito do processo de investigação patrimonial ligado ao processo-crime que lhe diz respeito. Já em 2021, foram apreendidos cinco projetos habitacionais, nomeadamente Projeto Tambarino (Lobito, Benguela), Palanca Negra (Malanje), Projeto Mifongo (Malanje) e os projetos Ex-Petro, no Golf II e Nova Vida III, ambos em Luanda. Na mesma altura, no âmbito de um processo contra o ex-presidente do conselho de administração do Banco de Poupança e Crédito (BPC), Paixão Júnior, o Serviço apreendeu ainda contentores de material para montagem de uma fábrica de iogurtes em Benguela que estava entregue à empresa Smart Solution.

Estes são meros exemplos de um trabalho amplo que está a ser desenvolvido por este serviço dinamicamente dirigido pela magistrada do Ministério Público Eduarda Rodrigues. Possivelmente, este Serviço poderá ser o embrião de um órgão anticorrupção mais global e abrangente, como temos defendido.

2.4. Cooperação judiciária internacional

A par com o labor de recuperação de ativos centrado por um subórgão acima descrito, tem existido um amplo recurso à cooperação judiciária internacional. Em primeiro lugar há que destacar os pedidos dirigidos e cumpridos a Portugal. A atividade com Portugal tem sido imensa, desde as cartas-rogatórias referentes a Isabel dos Santos e seus associados que já levaram a vários “congelamentos” de participações sociais em terras lusas. Ainda recentemente se noticiou que “O Tribunal Central de Instrução Criminal (TCIC) arrestou as contas bancárias em Portugal de três amigos de Isabel dos Santos, a pedido das autoridades judiciárias de Angola. O arresto das contas de Mário Leite da Silva, Paula Oliveira e Sarju Raikundalia foi efetuado no âmbito de uma carta rogatória enviada de Angola para Portugal em janeiro de 2020. Nessa carta, as autoridades angolanas pediram o arresto preventivo em Portugal de bens de Isabel dos Santos e dos seus três amigos até ao valor total de 1,15 mil milhões de euros, como garantia de uma eventual indemnização futura a Angola.”[5] Também Carlos São Vicente e outros foram objeto de cartas rogatórias e pedidos para Portugal.

O PGR de Angola informou há dias que já foram feitos pedidos de cooperação à Suíça, Holanda, Luxemburgo, Reino Unido, Singapura, Bermudas, Emirados Árabes Unidos, Ilhas Maurícias, Reino do Mónaco, Malta, Ilhas de Man e outros. No âmbito da cooperação internacional a Procuradoria-Geral da República já solicitou a apreensão e o arresto de bens no valor de cerca de 5 mil milhões de dólares norte americanos.

3-Índices de aferição

3.1- Índices quantitativos

            Toda a atividade que tem vindo a ser descrita tem apresentado resultados quantificáveis que aqui se reproduzem:

  • Desde o início do combate contra a corrupção, Estado angolano recuperou, definitivamente, em dinheiro e bens num total de cerca de 5,3 mil milhões de dólares.
  • Ademais, pediu para apreender em jurisdições estrangeiras 5, 4 mil milhões de dólares americanos.
  • Em Angola, já foram apreendidos e arrestados bens no valor de cerca 4 mil milhões de dólares. Tais bens encontram-se à ordem dos respetivos processos ainda em curso, aguardando decisão final em primeira instância ou em sede de recurso.
  • Foram abertos 1522 processos criminais referentes à criminalidade ligada à corrupção e afins.

3.2- Índices qualitativos

Em termos de acusações criminais, o Ministério Público proferiu acusações contra variados altos dignatários. Destacam-se os despachos acusatórios contra: general Sachipengo Nunda, ex-Chefe do Estado Maior das Forças Armadas, Norberto Garcia, ex-director da Agência de Investimento Externo, Valter Filipe, ex Governador do banco central, José Filomeno dos Santos, ex CEO do Fundo Soberano, Augusto Tomás, ex-ministro dos Transportes, Manuel Rabelais, ex-ministro da Comunicação Social, Carlos São Vicente, ex-Presidente do Grupo AAA.

Além destas figuras, existe uma miríade de casos ao nível das províncias que se replicam em cada uma. Recentemente, foi dada nota que o ex-diretor do Gabinete do Ordenamento do Território, Urbanismo e Ambiente da província do Bengo foi condenado, a dois anos de prisão pelos crimes de corrupção ativa e passiva e recebimento indevido de 125 milhões de kwanzas. No mesmo processo, foram igualmente condenados a um ano de prisão a ex-diretora do gabinete jurídico do Governo Provincial do Bengo, e o antigo diretor do gabinete do ex-governador pelos crimes de corrupção passiva e grau de influência, por terem beneficiado de valores monetários no negócio.

Naquilo que se refere a “congelamentos” de bens, foram apreendidos ou entregues bens de Manuel Vicente e generais Dino e Kopelipa, entre outros. No que diz respeito a estes dois últimos regista-se que na qualidade de representantes das empresas China International Fund Angola — CIF e Cochan, S.A., os generais entregaram as acções que detinham na empresa Biocom-Companhia de Bionergia de Angoala, Lda., na rede de Supermercados Kero e na empresa Damer Gráficas-Sociedade Industrial de Artes Gráficas SA. Ainda em relação a Manuel Vicente, o Presidente da República determinou a nacionalização de 60% das participações sociais da sociedade comercial Miramar Empreendimentos, SA”, o que abrange “43% das ações pertencentes à Sociedade Suninvest — Investimentos, Participações e Empreendimentos, SA” e “17% das ações pertencentes à Sommis, SGPS. Estas participações serão pertencentes a Manuel Vicente.

Obviamente, há que referir também as apreensões de bens referentes a Isabel dos Santos e seus associados.

4- Conclusões

Neste estudo procurámos aferir, com elementos concretos, a realidade do combate à corrupção em Angola neste momento. Fazer uma radiografia. Concluímos que existe uma retórica poderosa a suportar o combate à corrupção, que foi aprovada legislação adequada, criado um subórgão específico com vista à recuperação de ativos, entidade que se tem demonstrado bastante empenhada. A cooperação judiciária internacional é ampla. Do ponto de vista da recuperação de ativos, entre apreensões e entregas definitivas talvez se tenham já obtido 10 mil milhões de dólares. Variadas acusações já foram realizadas a diversas altas individualidades.

O que há a concluir desta enumeração é a abrangência daqueles que já foram alvo de alguma acusação ou ação de recuperação bens. Não se pode falar que exista seletividade, pois na verdade temos uma amostra representativa dos antigos altos dirigentes, nem se pode afirmar que não existe nenhuma medida. Existiram já muitas e variadas. Não quer dizer que o âmbito do combate não possa e deva ser alargado. Em resumo, existe um combate alargado contra a corrupção em Angola que se traduz nos elementos que aqui identificámos.

Contudo, tal não quer dizer que esse combate não se necessite de vários aperfeiçoamentos e tenha variadas falhas, que já identificámos em estudos anteriores, designadamente, a falta de especialização e de órgãos de investigação alargada e justiça próprios, a necessidade de celeridade, e a criação de mecanismos atuais para evitar a continuação de práticas corruptas.

Fig. nº 1- Quadro Índice do Combate à Corrupção


[1] https://www.publico.pt/2017/09/26/mundo/noticia/joao-lourenco-promete-combater-a-corrupcao-que-grassa-o-estado-1786811

[2] https://www.dw.com/pt-002/jo%C3%A3o-louren%C3%A7o-quebra-o-sil%C3%AAncio-e-fala-%C3%A0-dw-sobre-isabel-dos-santos/av-52240806

[3] https://novojornal.co.ao/politica/interior/joao-lourenco-elogia-pgr-no-combate-a-corrupcao-uma-das-suas-prioridades-anunciadas-quando-tomou-posse-101998.html

[4] https://www.dw.com/pt-002/angola-pgr-apreende-tr%C3%AAs-pr%C3%A9dios-em-luanda/a-54272442

[5] https://angola24horas.com/component/k2/item/20926-justica-portuguesa-arresta-contas-bancarias-de-amigos-de-isabel-dos-santos

An industrialization project for Angola

I-Introduction. The revival of interest in industrialization

The industrialization of Angola has become one of the objectives of the current government under the leadership of the President of the Republic João Lourenço. In fact, either at the International Summit on Sustainable Development “The Future of Africa” held in Abu Dhabi in 2019, or at the third edition of the Global Summit on Manufacturing and Industrialization, promoted by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in 2020, Lourenço always emphasized that industrialization was a pressing need with a view to creating wealth and well-being for citizens and employment as the main source for all opportunities.

In fact, since Angola does not have staff and skills with sufficient critical mass in terms of services, and having recently seen the strategic weaknesses of economies that are too much based on services, it is normal for any economic start-up in the country to be also based on industry.

The industrialization of Angola must be thought based on three assumptions.

The first is that it will be based on strong agriculture. It is not a question of replacing agriculture with industry, but simultaneously developing agriculture and livestock as the basis for a renewed industrial start-up.

The second assumption is that what is called industrialization today will be different from what was considered at the beginning of the 20th century when such a movement was linked to the so-called heavy industries: steel, cement, etc. Furthermore, industrialization is not just manufacturing, but a set of transformative processes.

Finally, the vectors of industrialization in Angola will have to be linked to specific factors that bring added value to the economy or where it has competitive advantages. Therefore, it is not a matter of making mere copies of industrial models, but of realizing where Angola has benefits in industrializing.

II- Industry in the Angolan economy

As Nuno Valério and Maria Paula Fontoura write “in 1975, [when] Angola became an independent state, (…) the economy was prosperous, whether due to the existence of considerable exports of agricultural products (coffee, cotton, sugar, sisal) and others from plantations; corn from traditional farms) and minerals (diamonds, iron and oil) and even services (particularly through transit to Shaba, formerly Catanga, via the Benguela railway), either due to the beginning of an industrialization process.[1]

The Angolan industrial start-up began in the 1960s, still under colonial rule. In fact, from that time, framed in the general liberalization and pro-European measures that Portugal took, in the creation of a Portuguese free trade zone and in the expansion of the internal market through the troops and families displaced with the overseas war “between 1960 and 1970, the gross value of manufacturing industry production grew at an average annual rate of 17.8% and GDP 10% in nominal terms.[2]

In fact, on the eve of independence (1973) the Angolan industry (excluding civil construction) represented 41% of GDP. The important industries were the food industry, with 36% of the gross value of production in the manufacturing sector; followed by the textile industry, with 32%, beverages, with 11%, chemistry, non-metallic mineral products and tobacco, with 5%, petroleum derivatives and metallic products, with 4%, pulp, paper and derivatives, with 3%.[3]

Fig. 1- The main industries in Angola in 1973 (% gross value of production in the manufacturing sector):

Food36%
Textile32%
Beverages11%
Chemistry, non-metallic mineral products and tobacco 5%
Petroleum products and metal products 4%
Pulp, paper and derivatives  3%
Oil30%
Coffee27%
Diamonds10%

Source: Nuno Valério and Maria Paula Fontoura, op.cit.

It should be noted, however, that by this time, the “evil” of the Angolan economy was already present, i.e., the excessive dependence on raw materials for export. In reality, the manufacturing industry only contributed to around 20% of Angolan exports, with the main products exported in 1973 being: oil (30%), coffee (27%), diamonds (10%).

This liberalizing start-up in the Angolan industry was subject to some criticism, and in the 1970s, the government of Lisbon began to impose a protectionist perspective on Angolan industrial development. This did not affect the healthy growth of the industry. In fact, as noted by Nuno Valério and Maria Paula Fontoura: “the manufacturing industry’s VBP grew at an average annual rate of 21% between 1970 and 1973.[4]

It is known that the situation of prosperity was interrupted by the civil war and it was only after 2002 that there was a strong revival of the economy. However, this restart was based on crude oil exploration and not on any sustained industrialization process. Even when it comes to oil, there was no concern about integrating it into an industrialization process and making Angola a country that bet on the transformation of its raw material instead of exporting it raw. This meant investing in refining, in petrochemicals, in the production of fertilizers, which did not happen[5].

Arriving in the second decade of the 21st century, the situation of the economy becomes worrying when oil exploration is no longer satisfactory due to the drop in its price. In this context, we start talking about the diversification of the economy and looking at the industry, but the scenario is not encouraging in terms of the strength of the industry within the scope of the Angolan Gross Domestic Product (GDP), so it is essential to mix and actively promote a project to launch industrial activity.

The most recent data referring to the weight of the manufacturing industry (except crude oil refining), dated from the second quarter of 2020, point to a 4.8% contribution to GDP. This contribution was 3.69% in 2002, and 4% in 2017 and 2018. On the same date, the year-on-year change in the manufacturing industry had been negative by 4%. The Gross Added Value was also negligible[6].

Fig. 2 – Weight of the manufacturing industry in Angola (2nd quarter of 2020)

Contribution to GDP (%)4,8
Year-on-year change (%)-4

Source:Banco Nacional de Angola. Contas Nacionais (bna.ao)

III. Industry relaunch project in Angola

Any project to relaunch the industry should start by having the right context. This context is a free economy with a social climate conducive to investment. The social climate is based on six necessary assumptions:

i) Absence of massive corruption. Corruption distorts the rules of economic competition and prevents free access to markets, fundamental conditions for industrial development;

ii) No barriers to accessing markets. Entrepreneurs should be free to obtain their production factors and settle in to produce;

iii) Functional Justice System. The justice system should not be seen as corrupt, slow and incompetent, but as applying the rules, punishing those who do not fulfill contracts and having legal and normal forms of debt collection;

iv) Reasonable taxes. Taxes should tend to be moderate and not stifle productive activity;

v) Less red tape. Public administration should be pro-business and not create administrative bureaucratic obstacles to the installation and operation of companies.

vi) Pro-business state. The State should have a fomenting and proactive role in industrialization, pointing and framing paths, building infrastructures, qualifying the workforce and establishing partnerships.

Fig. No. 3- Context for the industrial relaunch

In view of the necessary context, the important thing is to point out the axes through which the efforts of industrial growth should be channeled.

We see four axes of industrialization in Angola. These axes are chosen taking into account the economic history of Angola, its wealth and potential, the experiences of global industrialization and the possible trends of the markets in the coming decades.

Thus, we propose an industrial development according to the following points that can be interconnected or complementary:

1-Agriculture;

2-Basic needs industries;

3-Industries of development of natural wealth;

4-Future: renewable energies and digitalization.

Fig. N. º4 – Axes of the Industrial Relaunch Project

1-Agriculture

The agricultural industry represents the natural development of the Angolan potential already in operation and which was the subject of our previous report[7].

This a small example to gauge the potential. Recently, it was reported that Angola has been the main banana producer in Africa for six consecutive years. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Angola is the largest African banana producer and the seventh in the world with an offer of 4.4 million tons[8].

It will be elementary that it will be easy and possible to create an industrial line based on bananas: fruit juices (beverage industry), medicinal exploitation of banana / potassium (chemical / pharmaceutical industry), etc., are some of the possibilities in the refrigeration or pharmaceutical industry regarding banana.

The same type of reasoning can be applied to products and natural resources that Angola has or exploits in abundance. By internally transforming its natural resources and products, the country adds value to them, ceasing to be dependent on the mere evolution of the world price of raw materials.

2-Basic needs industries

Basic needs are understood as food, clothing and housing. This industrial axis represents an industry in which no specific sophistication is required and it is possible to make an import substitution without special losses of competitiveness, in addition to making it possible to create export markets in similar countries. In addition, Angola has already had a powerful industry in the area of ​​food, beverages and textiles. With a market of 30 million people that can easily be extended to many millions more with the developments of the Southern African Community (SADC) and the African Free Trade Area, Angola has enough potential demand for essential products: clothing , shoes, houses (obviously), basic food products from yoghurts to beers. There is no reason not to create its own industry with its own brands, in many cases imitating what has been done successfully in countries in these areas such as Bangladesh and Vietnam.

3-Natural wealth development industries

Another industrial axis, which basically replicates in a more comprehensive way what was mentioned in the first axis, focuses on national wealth, now not agricultural, but the rest. It has all the logic and economic rationality to use and transform what exists in Angola, adding value to it instead of exporting in gross terms, allowing capital gains to be appropriated by others. Here we have the most obvious example, oil. What makes sense is to develop the industry downstream from oil: refining, petrochemicals, plastics, fertilizers, etc. As the United Nations expert Carlos Lopes said, “The question is clear: it is not turning your back on wealth, such as oil, but integrating it in the transformation and making Angola a country that invests in the transformation of its raw material. instead of exporting it gross. This means investing, in addition to refining, petrochemicals, fertilizer production, etc. [9]

4-Future: renewable and digital energies

The final axis is connected to renewable energies and the digital transition. Today, it is common ground that there is a demand for the replacement of oil by clean and renewable energies. In the United Kingdom, the goal was announced in 10 years to end the circulation of gasoline or diesel cars. Electricity generated by renewable energies seems to be the future. Large oil companies like BP or Aramco are transforming or embracing these areas. Now Angola has excellent natural conditions for this investment in renewable energies. Solar energy from the start. An industrial niche around solar energy and electricity production would be a bet to consider very seriously.

From the point of view of the digital transition, Angola will be able to make an important qualitative leap using digital techniques for the development of applications for the massification of basic and secondary education, for basic health and in the financial area. Here we have an industry of digital applications for teaching, health and banking that could be developed in Angola by Angolans, immediately combining a synergy between betting on health and education alongside digital industrialization.

IV-Coordination of the industrial relaunch project

On the part of the State, there must be a commitment to this project that will essentially be up to the private sector.

However, the State must create the legal and institutional framework, prepare financial and fiscal incentives, build infrastructure, promote the training of agents capable of change and establish partnerships.

For the task of coordinating the activities of the State with a view to industrial relaunch, there should be a coordinator directly dependent on the President of the Republic: a Czar of the Industrial Project.

Fig. No. 5 –  State’s role in relaunching the industry


[1] Nuno Valério e Maria Paula Fontoura, A evolução económica de Angola durante o segundo período colonial — uma tentativa de síntese, Análise Social, Quarta Série, Vol. 29, No. 129 (1994), pp. 1193-1208, p.1193.

[2] idem, p.1203

[3] Ibidem.

[4] [4] Op.cit. p.1207.

[5] Carlos Lopes, Petróleo deve ser utilizado na industrialização de Angola in https://www.dn.pt/lusa/petroleo-deve-ser-utilizado-na-industrializacao-de-angola—economista-carlos-lopes–10905179.html

[6] Dados do Banco Nacional de Angola in https://www.bna.ao/Conteudos/Temas/lista_temas.aspx?idc=841&idsc=15907&idl=1

[7] https://www.cedesa.pt/2020/06/15/plano-agro-pecuario-de-angola-diversificar-para-o-novo-petroleo-de-angola/

[8] https://www.angonoticias.com/Artigos/item/66803/angola-e-o-maior-produtor-de-banana-em-africa-ha-seis-anos

[9] Carlos Lopes, see note 5

Proposal for a pilot job guarantee design in Angola

Introduction: the magnitude of the unemployment problem and the need for a systematic government response

In Angola, in the third quarter of 2020, the unemployment rate stood at 34%[1]. This number corresponds to a chain increase (i.e., compared to the previous quarter) of 9.9% and homologous (referring to the same period in 2019) in the order of 22%[2]. In view of these data, whatever the perspective adopted, it is easy to see that unemployment is a fundamental and serious problem facing the Angolan economy and societies.

Fig. Nº 1- Recent evolution of the unemployment rate in Angola (2017-2020). Source: INE-Angola

So far, the government recognizes this problem, but is betting on the recovery of the economy at the private sector level, to resolve the issue, believing that the State can do little to face the situation. The solution lies in economic growth and business dynamism, says the executive. The President of the Republic, João Lourenço, was clear in the last speech of the State of the Nation when he stated: “priority of our agenda [is): to work for the resuscitation and diversification of the economy, to increase the national production of goods and basic services, to increase the range of exportable products and increase the supply of jobs. ” João Lourenço makes an indelible link between the diversification of the economy and the increase in national production and the decrease in unemployment.

Basically, the government relies on the traditional postulate stated by the American economist Arthur Okun, according to which there would be a linear relationship between changes in the unemployment rate and the growth of the gross national product: with each real GDP growth in two percent would correspond to a one percent decrease in unemployment[3]. The truth is that several empirical studies do not confirm this empirical relationship at all, and in recent years in several countries around the world, an increase in GDP has not led to a sharp decrease in unemployment, while in other cases it has, therefore, it is difficult establish a permanent relationship between unemployment and GDP. In addition, the magnitude of unemployment in Angola would imply that in order to decrease the rate for the still frightening 24%, GDP would have to grow 15% …

The fundamental issue is that the problem of unemployment in Angola is not cyclical, but structural, this means that it is closely connected to the permanent deficiencies of the Angolan economy and does not have a mere dependence on the economic cycle.

The fact that the problem of unemployment is structural and of an economic recovery for the years 2021 and onwards is only between 2% and 4% of GDP[4], according to the current IMF projections, imply that such economic animation will have little impact on employment.

In this sense, it is essential to understand that the solution to the problem of unemployment does not depend only on the market and the economic recovery, it requires, at least in the short term, the muscular intervention of the State. It is in this context that this proposal for a pilot experience arises.

Fig. No. 2- GDP growth projections Angola (2021-2024). Source: IMF

A pilot job guarantee experiment in Angola

Starting from the first experience of universal employment guarantee in the world, designed by researchers at the University of Oxford and administered by the Austrian Public Employment Service, which takes place in the Austrian city of Marienthal[5], the same methodology would apply to a specific location in Angola, possibly, to a specific municipality in Luanda.

According to this regime to be implemented on an experimental basis in a municipality in Luanda, a universal guarantee of a properly paid job would be offered to all residents who have been unemployed for more than 12 months.

In addition to receiving training and assistance to find work, the participants would have guaranteed paid work, with the State subsidizing 100% of the salary in a private company or employing participants in the public sector or even supporting the creation of a microenterprise. All participants would receive at least one minimum wage set in accordance with the Presidential Decree that regulates the matter appropriate to a life with dignity.

The pilot Design would work as follows:

i) All residents of the chosen Luanda municipality, who have been unemployed for a year or more, will be unconditionally invited to participate in the pilot design.

ii) Participants begin with a two-month preparatory course, which includes individual training and counseling.

iii) Subsequently, participants will be helped to find suitable and subsidized employment in the private sector or supported to create a job based on their skills and knowledge of the needs of their community or will still be employed by the State.

iv) The job guarantee ensures three years of work for all long-term unemployed, although participants may choose to work part-time.

Fig. No. 3- Brief description of the pilot employment design

In addition to eliminating long-term unemployment in the region, the program aims to offer all participants useful work, be it in paving streets, in small community repairs, in a day care center, in the creation of a community cafe, in access to water and energy , basic sanitation, in the reconstruction of a house, or in some other field.

The pilot project is designed to test the policy’s results and effectiveness and then be extended to more areas of the country.

Financing

“As part of the asset recovery process, the State has already recovered real estate and money in the amount of USD 4,904,007,841.82, of which USD 2,709,007,842.82 in cash and USD 2,194,999,999.00 in real estate, factories, port terminals, office buildings, residential buildings, radio and television stations, graphic units, commercial establishments and others. ”

Thus, the President of the Republic spoke in the most recent speech by the State of the Nation mentioned above.

Now, nothing better than to allocate part of these recovered funds to the promotion of employment. Consequently, an amount withdrawn from there would be used to create an Employment Development Fund which we would simply call, because of the origin of the amounts, “Marimbondos Fund”. This Fund would receive part of the recovered assets and would use them to finance initiatives to promote employment such as the one presented here. Money withdrawn in the past from the economy would return to this one to foster work for the new generations.

With this self-financing model, any constraints imposed by the International Monetary Fund or the need for budgetary restraint would be removed. The promotion of employment would have its own funds resulting from the fight against corruption. There doesn’t seem to be a better destination for money than that.

Fig. No. 4- Financing the pilot Design


[1] https://www.ine.gov.ao/

[2] https://www.ine.gov.ao/images/Idndicador_IEA_III_Trimestre_2020.PNG

[3] Arthur M. Okun, The Political Economy of Prosperity (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1970)

[4] https://www.imf.org/en/Countries/AGO#countrydata

[5] https://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2020-11-02-world-s-first-universal-jobs-guarantee-experiment-starts-austria