Marking 100 days as President of Angola, Joao Lourenco addressed the media and highlighted the significance of the reforms he has been making since taking office.
Lourenco was anointed as the successor of long serving Angolan president Jose Eduardo Dos Santos who announced that he would not seek re-election in 2016.
Lourenco then won the August 2017 presidential election, running on The People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) party ticket and pledging reforms including fighting corruption and reviving the economy.
Upon taking oath of the office and embarking on implementing his manifesto, Lourenco quickly fired over 60 government officials including the powerful president’s daughter Isabel Dos Santos who was heading the state oil company, Sonagol.
At a press conference on Monday, Lourenco indicated that another change might soon be implemented in the management of Angola’s sovereign wealth fund.
The $5 billion fund is run by Jose Filomeno dos Santos, a son to the former president Dos Santos and Lourenco says its leadership might change, depending on the results of an external inquiry into its performance and governance due to be completed in coming days.
The president also used the occasion to reassure the nation that relations between him and the former president are ‘normal’ despite the reforms that have directly affected Dos Santos’ family and associates.
‘‘I don’t see any tension in our relations,” Lourenço assured journalists on Monday.
‘‘The President of the Party is guided by the party’s statutes, as President of the Republic, I seek to respect and obey the Constitution,” he added.
About the economy, Lourenco said there could be no economic recovery without austerity measures, ruling out salary increments for civil servants ‘for now’.
“When the economy is a little better, it’s only right that it should move the national salary, but now it would not be very advisable,” Lourenco said.
The president has the task of diversifying the Angolan economy that is highly dependent on oil, whose prices have slumped in recent years.