Only Business

According to the Russian Export Center, in 2016, Angola ranked 72nd in the ranking of partner countries of Russia in terms of turnover ($ 568 million). The potential is clearly not used up — this is recognized by business circles of both countries.

Plans. In October 2017, at the initiative of the Angolan side, a meeting of Russian and Angolan business circles was held at the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Prospective directions of bilateral interaction are determined. Within the PRODEM programme — the strategic multisectoral development of Angola — the government of the republic suggests changing the course of cooperation in the industrial and defense sectors, in the field of agriculture, fishing, tourism, energy, water supply, transport and mining, and banking.

Director of the Department for External Relations and Working with Business Councils Alexander Kopkov, while opening the event, noted that both Russian and Angolan businessmen do not know enough about each other's capabilities, as evidenced by low volumes of mutual trade. At the same time, mutual interest in cooperation is growing. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation is ready to use the existing potential for the development of economic relations by promoting business information, organizing business missions, participating in profile exhibitions and fairs.

In order to work in the African direction under the auspices of the RF CCI, the Coordination Committee for Economic Cooperation with Sub-Saharan Africa (AfroCom) has been established, uniting more than 140 Russian commercial, state and public structures keen on cooperation with the region. The issue of appointment of an honorable representative of the RF CCI in Angola is under consideration.

The interest of the Russian side in the development of joint long-term investment projects is confirmed in the Free Economic Society of Russia. Sergey Glazyev, Vice-President of VEO of Russia, expressed his confidence that meetings with representatives of the Angolan business community give new impetus to the further development of bilateral relations on a mutually beneficial and effective basis.

The Russian Foreign Ministry believes that Angola is one of Russia's close partners in Africa, but trade and economic relations do not yet meet the possible level. Director of the Africa Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia Andrey Kemarsky outlined the promising areas of bilateral cooperation: agriculture, fishing, transport, diamond mining, ore mining, hydrocarbon production, taking into account the availability of hydrocarbons in Angola and Russia's experience. The banking sphere also seems promising: VTB's subsidiary VTB-Africa, which operates both in Angola and the region as a whole, is the only such example on the continent. The parties also plan to develop an important for both countries project in the field of space broadcasting called "Angosat".

The corporation "Angola Visau" is engaged in the modernization and development of the economic structure of Angola together with the government of the country. Russia has become a strategic partner in the implementation of the programme "Angola Visau 2025–2050". President João Paulo Tomas promises that Russian business circles will have access to all the line ministries of Angola that are participating in the project. The goal is to change the course of Russian-Angolan cooperation in such areas as agriculture, defense, transport, market development, fishing, tourism, energy and water supply.

"We have a mutual desire to bring economic cooperation to a qualitatively new level. The Intergovernmental Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation is actively working on this, the fifth meeting of which will be held this year in Moscow", said Sergey Lavrov. "Taking into account the plans of the government of Angola, we make a special emphasis on the gas sphere. We invited our Angolan friends to join the successfully functioning forum of oil-exporting countries".

Answering journalists' questions on the results of the visit to Luanda, the Russian minister also mentioned the need to expand contacts in the sphere of education: "There is a clear interest in this". He called the military-technical cooperation traditionally stable and actively developing sphere of cooperation: "The state of affairs in this sphere and the prospects for which we expect will be considered this year at the next meeting of the Russian-Angolan Intergovernmental Committee for Military-Technical Cooperation".

Asked which Russian companies intend to invest in the economy of Angola, the answer was quite extensive: "There are many such companies. It is "Alrosa", which has been working here for a long time, VTB Bank is operating here as well, there is interest shown during the meeting held by the RF CCI, attended by representatives of the management of such companies as "Rosneft", "Zarubezhneft", "Gazpromneft", "Uralvagonzavod", "Kamaz" and a number of others. Today we are convinced that along with large business associations, small companies are quite active and successful in Angola. We encourage this".

Russia's participation as a strategic partner in the implementation of the programme "Angola Visau 2025–2050" was an issue that attracted particular interest at the final press conference. "There are some moves, they are obvious," the minister said.

Money. On January 11, 2018, the president and chairman of the board of VTB Bank Andrey Kostin met the president of the republic during his working visit to Angola. Negotiations were dedicated to the further participation of the bank in the financial and infrastructure projects of Angola. According to the news agencies, the parties discussed the participation of VTB in the organization of international borrowings for this country, the issues of restructuring its current debt, as well as the prospects of bank's lending to the most important sectors of the Angolan economy. The President of Angola noted the important contribution of Banco VTB Africa SA and VTB Group in the development of the financial market and economy of the republic.

During the visit, Andrey Kostin also met the heads of the Ministry of Finance and the National Bank of Angola. The parties agreed that VTB employees will visit Angola to provide advice on the organization of financial market supervision and development of the banking sector.

According to Andrey Kostin, VTB Group has been operating on the Angolan market since 2006. The Bank has a significant portfolio of projects and deals in the segment of corporate investment business, actively contributes to attracting investment in the economy of Angola.

It is worth noting, that in January 2018, the National Bank of Angola announced the refusal of strict peg of the Angolan kwanza exchange rate to the US dollar, indicating as a reason the reduction of international reserves of the country in the face of the economic crisis, provoked by the decline in oil prices. As stated in the message of the Central Bank, a new price corridor has been set for the kwanza.

Thus, Angola gradually departs from the dollar after a number of other oil-producing countries, including Kazakhstan, Egypt, Nigeria, and Uzbekistan.

Mineral Wealth. Experts state that mining is the key branch of bilateral cooperation. The country is one of the richest in the continent in terms of oil, gas, diamonds, iron and copper ore, gold, silver, rare earth elements.

The engine of Russian-Angolan cooperation in this area is ALROSA, which is engaged in diamond mining within the Catoca mining company (it is the fourth largest diamond mining in the world). ALROSA, which controls the local diamond mining company Catoca together with Angolan Endiama Mining, is establishing a joint venture with the JV partner to develop a major Luaxe field.