ECA pledges practical support for Angola’s economic reform
London, May 20, 2019 (AltAfrica)– The UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has established three work streams aimed at supporting Angola on its sustainable development trajectory and macroeconomic reform agenda, following the accession to power of President João Lourenço in September 2017.
A series of high-level talks with Angolan authorities supported by discussions at the Presidential palace in which four main areas of cooperation were agreed.
These include: supporting Angola restore macroeconomic stability and diversify its economy within the context of the country’s National Development Plan 2018-2022, improving public debt management, increasing the share of renewable energy in the country’s energy mix and capitalizing on the opportunities of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
President João Lourenço’s reform agenda comprises a series of measures to make Angola’s economy more diversified and less oil dependent – including a demarche to restructure inefficient state corporations, strengthen the country’s fiscal sustainability and reduce inflation,
Others are improve overall macroeconomic fundamentals, foster social inclusion, stem corruption and improve the business environment to stimulate foreign and local investments.
ECA’s Vera Songwe therefore congratulated the Angolan President for the bold reform measures and progress achieved so far, which if sustained, could cement Angola’s position as a leading economy in Africa.
“ECA is ready to work with you in your efforts to improve domestic resource mobilization, debt management and crowding in the private sector,” Ms. Songwe assured President João Lourenço.
“We hope that Angola will be part of the community of African nations which would have ratified the AfCFTA when we meet in Niamey, next July”, she added.
In her meeting with the Minister of Finance of Angola, Mr. Archer Mangueira, Ms. Songwe indicated that though ECA is not a financing institution, it could work with the Angolan authorities to offer smart solutions which would help the country to save money that can then be channeled towards other development priorities, especially those that would contribute to social inclusion and promote inclusive growth.
She acknowledged the positive steps Angola had already taken to broaden its tax base while making a call for serious work towards improving public debt management including the use of local-currency denominated debt.
Analysts have estimated Angola’s public debt burden to be as high as 60% of its GDP.
Ms. Songwe suggested to Angolan authorities to embrace the digital economy, including Fintech as a means to explore the creative potential of the youth and generate jobs in the service and other sectors.
In a discussion with Angola’s Minister of Trade, Jofre Van-Dúnem Júnior, ECA’s Executive Secretary was elated to learn that the country plans to ratify the AfCFTA agreement before the African Union Summit in Niamey – Niger, next July.
She noted that the continental trade agreement was an investment opportunity for Angola to build a diversified and competitive economy and that Angola should use it as an opportunity to fast-track its horizontal and vertical economic diversification program. Accordingly, ECA will work with Angola to formulate national AfCFTA strategies.