Angola one of biggest opportunities

Posted On Monday, 23 August 2004 02:00 Published by eProp Commercial Property News
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The rehabilitation of the Angolan economy is opening up many opportunities for South African businesses, says Janet Cronje, Manager of Exporter Services at Wesgro.

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"Rebuilding Angola is starting at the most basic level since all infrastructure was destroyed in that country during the civil war. As a result, Angola imports everything from food, medicines to machinery and skilled labour. To correct this and to create a thriving economy the Angolan government is in need of foreign direct investment. This presents highly lucrative investment and export opportunities for South African businesses," she says.

Cronje and Carin Voges, Wesgro's Sector Research Economist, have just returned from Angola's capital Luanda, where they led a delegation of representatives from seven Cape-based companies who were exploring trade opportunities in that country. The trip, which was funded through the Department of Trade and Industry's Export Marketing and Investment Assistance (EMIA) programme, falls in line with Wesgro's service mission to help Western Cape-based companies find viable export market opportunities. Cronje says it is also the first of a series of initiatives that Wesgro will undertake to increase trade links between the province and the rest of Africa, particularly along the West Coast, in support of NEPAD.

Wesgro is the official Trade and Investment Promotion Agency of the Western Cape charged with attracting foreign direct investment, growing export market opportunities and promoting the businesses image of the province. According to Cronje Angola is the top export market in Africa for the Western Cape.

"Since the end of the Angolan civil war in 2000, Western Cape exports to that country have grown 250% from R150 million to R525 million in 2003. The top five export products are building materials, vegetables, wine and spirits, machinery and fruits and nuts. However, market opportunities exist in a diverse range of sectors, for example, the companies we travelled with are involved in pharmaceuticals, shipping and logistics, plastics manufacturing and, repair and maintenance on oil and gas rigs," she says.

She also points out that although Angola has vast fertile agricultural land and adequate rainfall, fear of landmines on agricultural land has slowed the process of renewing the agricultural sector and at the same time forced government to import huge quantities of food products.

Additionally, the country has abundant reserves of oil, gas, diamonds and other mineral resources but lacks capacity and skills to industrialise many of their sectors. "The country is under immense reconstruction and rehabilitation. South African businesses should explore the opportunities this transition presents both at exporter level and in setting up businesses in that country."

The Angolan government is providing attractive incentives for businesses that are considering investing in that country and already, a few South African companies - including Shoprite, First National Bank and ABSA - are operating there. Cronje says the fact that Angola is a Portuguese-speaking nation should not pose a barrier for South African businesses as there are organisations - such as Wesgro, the Angolan Chamber of Commerce, the South African embassy in Angola and the Angolan Federation of Women Entrepreneurs who are eager to do business with South African women entrepreneurs - who can help facilitate all processes.

Last modified on Wednesday, 16 April 2014 18:16

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