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Angola dares to look beyond oil [Business Africa]

The head of Angola's investment and export agency Antonio Henriques da Silva during the interview with Business Africa presenter Ronald Kato   -  
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Business Africa

For years, oil has been the engine powering Angola's economy. The southern African country sells pretty much nothing else.

Crude accounts for 95% of Angola’s exports.

Higher oil prices in 2022 have helped the country reduce public debt to 56.5% of gross domestic product this year, down from 79.7% in 2021 and 123.8% in 2020.

The country made $2.1 billion from crude sales in May alone.

But Luanda has been here before and knows that good times never last.

In 2021, Angola exited a long recession brought about by nearly five years of low crude prices.

A recent World Bank report puts growth this year at 3.1%. It forecasts momentum to fall slightly in 2023, before stabilizing at 2.9% in 2024.

For the country's leaders, finding new sources of growth and jobs is a must or another economic downturn becomes inevitable.

Since taking office in 2017, President João Lourenço’s government has begun to enact reforms to promote investment and boost competitiveness.

The authorities have been trying to direct investment in sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing in a bid to cut Angola's over reliance on oil.

Angola is also undertaking a comprehensive privatization process to offload inefficient and loss making parastatals.

Africa's top oil producer since June after toppling Nigeria, Angola knows that sustainable growth will come not from oil, but rather cutting the resource's oversized influence on the economy.

Antonio Henriques da Silva, is the president of the Agency for the Promotion of Investments and Exports of Angola. He joins the show with insights on Angola’s path to diversification.

Businesses struggle as Ghana’s debt climbs

The World Bank estimates Ghana’s debt to reach 104% of its GDP by the end of this year.

Rating agencies have downgraded it to junk status, effectively branding it an investment and credit risk.

Rising interest rates, inflation and a weak Cedi have left small businesses fighting to survive.

East Africa leads in intra-African trade

Kenya, Rwanda, and Tanzania have dominated list of countries that have domesticated the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to allow the commencement of trade under the bloc.

The bloc's secretariat said that so far three out of the eight countries that have set the stage for trading under AfCFTA are from East Africa.

Under the so-called Guided Trade Initiative, matchmaking is made for products businesses seeking to trade with other businesses in state parties.

Under the initiative, Kenya has exported batteries and tea to Ghana.

The AfCFTA is the largest single market since the creation of the World Trade Organisation.

It has been billed as one of the interventions to deepen intra-African trade. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) places intra-African exports at 16.6 per cent, lagging far behind Europe’s 68.1 percent and Asia’s 55 percent.

Trade under the bloc kicked off in 2021 but progress has been hampered by the pandemic.