Angola’s president, Joao Lourenco has expressed his country’s interest to join the Commonwealth and Francophoonie bodies that bring together former colonies of Britain and France respectively.
In an exclusive interview with Euronews, Lourenco said Angola which is already a member of Portual’s own Lusophonie, would be happy to join the associations that bring together its neighbours.
‘‘Angola is also surrounded, not by Portuguese speaking countries, but by French-speaking and English-speaking countries. Therefore, let us not be surprised that we are thinking of asking now to join the Francophonie and maybe the Commonwealth later,’‘ Lourenco said.
Angola can take inspiration from Rwanda and Cameroon who are members of both the Commonwealth and the Organisation internationale de la Francophie.
Lourenco courts French business
The president, who came to office in August 2017, chose France for his state visit in Europe. He met several businesses and potential investors with whom he shared the steps his government is taking to improve ease of doing business in Angola.
‘‘The foreign private investor is no longer required to have a local Angola national as a business partner, unless they choose to do it that way. In terms of visas for businessmen going to Angola, we have created a framework of great facilitation, and in some cases, a model of visa-free travel with ordinary passports, ” Lourenco told the business community.
The Angolan and French leaders signed defense agreements that Lourenco says could cater for maritime cooperation and training of the country’s security forces.
Angola’s fight against corruption
Lourenco added that his government is seriously fighting the vice of corruption which he said has been a hindrance to business, investment and development in Angola. Since he came to office, Lourenco has fired several state officials including the sons and famous daughter of former president, Isabel dos Santos from their positions at government parastatals.
Isabel and her brother José Filomeno have been accused of mismanaging and embezzling funds at the state oil company and sovereign wealth fund respectively.
Angola’s oil dependent economy has been badly affected by the dip in global oil prices and president Lourenco is hoping to diversify the economy and attract foreign invetsment to restore the country’s fortunes.