VENTURES AFRICA – Trade relations between Angola and South Africa have not been disturbed, despite fears that the August elections in Angola would cause disruption to the country’s economy and production. The South Africa-Angola Chamber of Commerce (SA-ACC) has confirmed that contrary to worries, trade between the states has in fact spiked since July.
Angola hosted its elections on August 31st this year, in which President Jose Eduardo dos Santos’ party claimed a victory, extending the President’s office by another 5 years – further elongating his current run of 33 years in office. While the elections were not officially disputed, and no violence or turmoil ensued, opposition parties have indicated some unrest as to the results.
Spectators and partners had expected some economic fall-out in the run up and pursuant to the elections, given the fact that the country has only recently achieved stability following a 27 year war. Violence ceased only in 2002, since when the country has struggled to rebuild its infrastructure and economy. With the possibility of renewed violence leading up to and after the election, the fear was that investors and business partners would be put off doing business with Angola due to a potential lack of economic stability.
However, statistics from the SA-ACC have shown that Angolan trade with main partner South Africa in fact went up in the period July-August, with trade peaking at 14 percent – roughly $228 million a month. Trade figures between the two countries had already reached a substantial $1.6 billion by the end of July, on target to match last year’s annual trade figure of $2.4 billion, President of the SA-ACC, Teddy de Almeida disclosed yesterday.
Almeida went on to highlight the effort that was put into maintaining a business-as-usual approach to trade between the two countries in the run up to the Angolan elections: “People were worried before the August, 31 elections and we wanted to show to the business community the climate of stability”.
Describing the mutual-assistance nature of the trade relations between the countries, Almeida referred to Angola’s significant oil reserves, which come second only to oil-rich Nigeria. Indeed, it is estimated that Angola pumps 1.8 million barrels of oil a day from its numerous offshore wells, providing the recovering state with an immense tradable resource. He also made reference to the lack of many important aspects of infrastructure in the until-recently war-ravaged Angola, wherein lies the mutual benefit to the special economic relationship. He explained: “Angola has oil and gas while trying to diversify, and South Africa has many products like in construction, helping..[Angola to]..rebuild.”