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Angola and China celebrate bilateral ties and rely on one another

By João Salvador Neto | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-01-12 20:50

João Salvador Neto is ambassador of Angola to China. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

We are celebrating the 40th anniversary of establishing bilateral relations between the Republic of Angola and the People's Republic of China. It was precisely on January 12, 1983, that the two countries formalized this will and began a new phase in their relations.

The relations between our two countries have developed in the most diverse sectors of each country's life. The relationship at the diplomatic level is embodied in permanent political consultations and concertation at the level of multilateral forums such as the UN, the Macao Forum and others. Also at the economic, financial, military, health, human resources training and many other levels.

In general, the relations are excellent. Angola and China have developed a strategic partnership, but there is still great potential to grow, mainly in economic relations, where we understand that when taking into account the potential of each country, there are the ingredients for the economies of both countries to be complementary and, in these terms, a relationship with shared gains is configured.

The People's Republic of China has one of the two largest economies in the world. It is a very developed country with various sectors of the economy at a high level of development and, from the point of view of technological evolution prowess, leading some sectors of technological innovation. China has renowned, world-class universities and because of this, and because training and qualification have been one of China's strategic bets, the country has the skills to be a highly developed and competitive country. With these attributes, these qualities, and others that we did not mention, China is in a position to contribute thoughtfully to the great challenge of diversifying the Angolan economy.

The Chinese are following with great interest in all the reforms that are being carried out in Angola, mainly improving the business environment and making it more attractive to investors.

In March 2019, at the initiative of the MD (Diplomatic Mission) in Beijing and the Angolan Consulate in Guangzhou, with the active participation of APIEX(Mozambique's Agency for the Promotion of Investment and Exports), an economic forum was held, which was attended by about 160 companies. These were mainly companies from the rich Guangdong province and some from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. About three months later, a dozen and a half companies sent delegations to Angola and we know that many of them have established themselves.

In October 2019, in a co-organization with the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Petroleum, a Road Show on mines was held in the city of Beijing. Several mining projects in need of investment were presented and about 80 Chinese companies from the sector were present.

If this Road Show had been held on a different date, not coincident with China's national day celebrations, perhaps we could have had a larger number of companies. Nevertheless, in terms of attendance of companies, it was the biggest among all the Road Shows held in several countries.

This same year, in February and November, high-level delegations of major Chinese companies visited our country, 4 of which were from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region which is a major world financial center, and these delegations were headed by their respective CEOs. Some of these were received by the President of the Republic, who listened to each of them and discussed the projects they intended to carry out in Angola. The lowest investment promised at the time was around $500 million dollars.

Unfortunately, at the beginning of 2020, the world was surprised by the pandemic, and the fact that it has continued to today has negatively influenced the realization of some private investment projects.

In our work to attract investment, we have insisted on appealing to Chinese investors to associate their investments with the technical and professional training of young Angolans who are eager to actively participate in the transformations that the country needs, the final result of which will be the improvement of the living conditions of Angolans.

We have also appealed to the Chinese companies established in Angola or that intend to invest in Angola, to count on their staff, with young Angolans who finish their training in China. Their universities train them and for this fact they should be trusted in the quality of the training, - they speak the language, they know how to think of the habits and customs of the Chinese, and can be very useful in the insertion of the Chinese in the Angolan society.

Our country benefited from the solidarity of the government of China through training actions online, for technicians in the health sector dealing with the pandemic, medical teams sent for training on-site and, in the context of solidarity, vaccines, equipment and biosafety material were donated to our country.

As part of the huge effort to provide the country with equipment and biosecurity material to deal with the emergency caused by the pandemic, the Angolan government turned to the Chinese market to acquire a significant part of all these materials, and this required a mega logistical organization, which required creating conditions for storage, conservation and control of everything that was delivered by the different suppliers, all of them based outside the city of Beijing. This has been one of the sectors of cooperation between Angola and China. In China, we have scholarship holders from the government and other institutions, including companies, and we have young people studying at the expense of their own families. This also represents the recognition of the quality of Chinese universities and other training institutions.

We all feel great pride for the young Valdemar Tchipenhe, who was chosen to join a team of Chinese technicians that have set up Covid-19 testing mobile laboratories in several countries due to his technical ability. We need many more young people with this performance to operate the transformations that the country needs and China, through its academy, can contribute.

In 2018, President Xi Jinping made 500 scholarships available to the government of Angola for the next 3 years. The pandemic context that surprised us all and did not allow a large majority of the potential beneficiaries of these scholarships to come to China. Access to the Chinese territory during these 3 years was minimal. China adopted very firm measures to control the pandemic. Let's understand that this is the most populated country in the world and any negligence would turn into a tragedy with unpredictable consequences and repercussions on the world economy.

The good news announced by the Chinese government, as of January 8, 2023, was that the rule that was in force during the three years of the pandemic and that required the observance of an institutional and home quarantine for several weeks would change, which will allow easier access to Chinese territory and so, this and other issues will be taken up again.

This good news, which represents a new way of approaching the fight against the pandemic, will also allow businessmen, researchers, tourists and students to move freely and live in a different but responsible way with the reality of the pandemic.

The author is an ambassador of Angola to China.

he opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of China Daily and China Daily website.

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