24 August 2009
South Africa and Angola signed a raft of agreements, including an agreement on cooperation in the oil sector, following a two-day visit to the resource-rich country by President Jacob Zuma and a powerful South African government and business delegation last week.
The oil cooperation agreement will allow South African state oil company PetroSA and Angola’s Sonangol to work together on oil exploration, refining and distribution projects.
Angola, Africa’s biggest oil producer, has only one refinery, in the capital Luanda. It currently imports a great deal of its refined gasoline.
Zuma met with Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos in Luanda on Thursday. He was accompanied by 11 Cabinet ministers and more than 150 business leaders, making it the biggest delegation South Africa has sent outside the country since 1994.
The two-day excursion, Zuma’s first state visit to a foreign country since his inauguration earlier this year, was at the invitation of Dos Santos.
Dos Santos hailed the visit as the start of a new era of co-operation between Africa’s biggest economy and its biggest oil producer.
He said Angola needed South African expertise to help rebuild the infrastructure destroyed during a 27-year civil war that ended in 2002. “We want to create a strategic partnership between our two countries,” he said.
Zuma and Dos Santos also discussed the supply and distribution of electricity from the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Inga hydroelectric plant, and other regional infrastructure projects to facilitate business.
The two countries also signed air services and diplomatic consultation agreements, as well as memorandums on trade, industry, commerce, housing, and sport and recreation.
It was further agreed that a bi-national commission would be established to coordinate political and economic relations between the two countries.
Both leaders added that they would discuss ways of cooperating on peacekeeping efforts in Africa through the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Angola and South Africa have two of the biggest military forces in Africa.
Zuma said the agreements would help to change the economic landscape of southern Africa.
“I urge business leaders of both our countries to explore these avenues of collaboration and turn potential into profit,” Zuma said.
Zuma has invited Dos Santos to undertake an official visit to South Africa
On Friday, Zuma travelled to Bengo Province, north of Luanda to visit Pango Camp, a military base for the African National Congress’s (ANC’s) former liberation army, Umkhonto WeSizwe.
Zuma said this should remind South Africans of where the free South Africa came from, and encourage them to work harder for the goals for which many lost their lives.