South African President Jacob Zuma
and many of his cabinet ministers are in Angola Wednesday for Mr. Zuma's first
official state visit since becoming president.
government statement describes the visit as the largest business-related
delegation to Angola since South Africa's 1994 democratic elections.
van der Waal, program manager for the energy and power supplies team of Frost
and Sullivan Africa in Cape Town, is watching developments.
is one of those relative success stories in Africa at the moment. I think they've moved out of the era of
conflict and war and, as a result of the oil money that they are receiving, Alot
of the money is now being pumped into projects," he says.
Angola has what South Africa wants
Africa at this stage (is) obviously an oil dependent country…. So we import all our oil, mainly from
Iran. And there's a golden opportunity
for us on our doorstep to partner with another African country and develop
projects for mutual benefit,' he says.
Africa has a lot of engineering skills…expertise in management, financial
systems…. And these skills are dearly needed in Angola at this stage," he says.
der Waal says South African companies have a "huge opportunity" before them.
And then there's China
is eager for Angolan oil as well and has given the country financial aid and
expertise. But does South Africa view
China as a competitor?
to some extent…. But I think the level
of development in Angola is of such a nature that they can do with more help
than just from the Chinese. I think
there's a bit of a feeling in Africa that different African countries need to
help one another," he says.
Weighing the risks and benefits
has been the target of many corruption allegations. Van der Waal calls it a "major stumbling
block for future development."
in Angola is a significant problem, same as in Nigeria. It's one of those areas that's not really
being addressed sufficiently. I think
that the Angolan government is doing some things right in terms of…corruption,
but I don't think all the areas are being addressed," he says.
says a major deal with Angola could boost the South African economy.
the short term, I think it will open up new markets for South African
companies. Obviously, we would like to
have access to some of the minerals and the oil," he says.
der Waal says many Frost & Sullivan clients are interested in Angola.
is very closely linked to resources and…empowers countries, such as Angola and
Nigeria. So, yes, certainly, Angola is
very high on the radar for most companies trying to expand into Africa," he
says he understands why it's taken so long for South Africa to make a make
trade and investment push in Angola.
level of development in Angola has been so low for so long that it's just been
very difficult to talk from the same page.
However, a lot of the oil money is now starting to flow through into
projects. If you go into Luanda, it's
just a beehive of activity," he says.
says it's now ripe for investment.
"I think it's long overdue and it
should have probably happened
before," he says.