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A vigorous Angola springs back to life

Updated: 2011-09-16 08:03
( China Daily)

 A vigorous Angola springs back to life

Angola's main challenge is now to change the ports into real transit areas - not just storage locations. Photos Provided to China Daily

A vigorous Angola springs back to life

Country focuses on maritime infrastructure as the pathway to national development

Ten years ago, Angola was in a desperate situation: Years of civil war and political instability had ravaged the country and depleted its resources, while its infrastructure was in tatters.

Today, however, this Southwest African nation is poles apart from that world, with rebuilding, rehabilitation, and foreign investment programs - most notably from China - helping it revitalize.

Angola is in the middle of a transformation process and, as is the case with any country whose economy is based on the export of goods that are in global demand, it needs to invest in its transport network to expedite its international trade.

The maritime infrastructure is the entry-exit point of nearly all of Angola's trade, so it is the key to the national development plan.

Minister of Transport Augusto Toms has explained, "Our ports and our entire maritime system, including all the logistics associated with international trade, are the determining factor in our economy."

Toms went on to say that, "Countries that do not invest in infrastructure, and in particular their ports, will fall behind in international competition."

These remarks have a special resonance in Angola's case: It has a long coastline and many marine advantages, and it is fully aware of the fact that it needs to take advantage of them.

Shipping is of course the mode of choice when it comes to exporting crude oil and minerals that finance the government's rebuilding program. However those importing essential goods like foodstuffs and medicines also rely on shipping, and increasingly ports are the point of entry for the vast amount of construction materials the country needs.

So, the country's aim is to make marine transportation more efficient, while reducing the cost of importing and exporting, for both domestic and foreign companies.

Toms pointed out that, "The Transport Ministry has a number of objectives that we must reach. We must support the growth of maritime transport while cutting the cost of goods entering and leaving Angola. And, we must continue down the path of investing in new and emerging ports that bring with them modern, efficient infrastructure and practices."

Thanks to its coastline, it is easy to understand why, in addition to wanting to improve the movement of goods for its own purposes, Angola is also looking to become a regional supplier for neighboring landlocked countries.

(China Daily 09/16/2011 page25)

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