SA, Angola strengthen ties

22 February 2005

South Africa and Angola have signed four agreements aimed at strengthening economic and social co-operation between the two countries.

The agreements, signed by the ministers of both countries in Cape Town last week, formed part of a visit to SA by Angolan Prime Minister Fernando De Piedade Dias Dos Santos.

The visit by Dos Santos and his delegation followed Deputy President Jacob Zuma’s visit to Angola in August 2004.

Social Development Minister Zola Skweyiya and Angola’s Social Assistance and Reintegration Minister Joao Baptista Kussuma signed an agreement on co-operation in the fields of social protection and re-integration.

Trade and Industry Minister Mandisi Mpahlwa and Angolan Transport Minister Andre Luis Brandao signed an agreement on reciprocal promotion and protection of investments.

Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota and his Angolan counterpart, Kundy Pahyama, signed a protocol on defence cooperation, while Minerals and Energy Minister Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and Angolan Energy and Water Minister Jose M Botelho de Vasconcelos signed an agreement on cooperation in the field of electricity.

Zuma and Dos Santos discussed a wide range of issues during their meetings, including reconstruction programmes in Angola, regional and continental peacekeeping efforts; and conflict prevention, management and resolution in Africa.

Angola has an immense natural resource base in the form of oil, gas, diamonds and other minerals.

The country, that has endured more than its fair share of civil wars, has the potential for significant exports of coffee and other agricultural products, as well as fertile highlands with a favourable climate and plenty of water.

Various SA companies and agencies, including Eskom, the Gauteng Economic Development Agency, Protea Hotels and Absa Bank, have visited Angola recently to explore the possibilities of investing there.

In addition, a number of South African churches and NGOs are contributing towards rebuilding Angola after decades of protracted civil war.

Source: BuaNews