Visit of Angola's president, marked by a relaxed atmosphere, seals a new cycle in bilateral relations. Luanda wants "great amount" of Portuguese investors and João Lourenço opens way for a second term.
In the three days of his official visit to Portugal, Angolan President João Lourenço signed 13 bilateral agreements, delivered more than ten speeches, and asked "investors to pack up and go to" his country "in force." Especially "small and medium-size entrepreneurs, from virtually every branch of the economy."
João Lourenço stated it several times during his visit and said it again this Saturday at the end of the morning in a meeting with the representatives of the Portuguese media in Lisbon, insisting on the strong points he developed over the three days of his presence in Portugal.
In his meeting with the Portuguese media, the Angolan president assured that there are currently no "obstacles in the building of relations" between the two countries as evidenced by the number of agreements signed during the visit. New agreements will be added to the ones already signed when the President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, travels to Angola in the beginning of 2019, as João Lourenço emphasized.
The Angolan president, in response to a question from Diário de Notícias / Plataforma, left hints about his political future, openly admitting to have "the right to fight for a second term," in 2022. A second term during which he expects to fulfill what he has chosen as one of the priorities of his governance: Angola's self-sufficiency in food. The goal that he hopes to achieve "still in the first term, if possible," this was a straight response to a question made by Diário de Notícias / Plataforma.
Guarantees were also obtained from the government of António Costa for the identification and repatriation of Angolan capitals illegally placed in Portugal.
In another plan, as he mentioned with a discreet sense of humor, the presence of Sonangol's capital was guaranteed at Millenium BCP: "We reassured this company, so that it can sleep peacefully," João Lourenço said.
The permanence of Sonangol in the capital of that bank is related to the redefinition process of the investment priorities of the Angolan oil company. Of the approximately 100 companies in which Sonangol is present, "52 companies" are marked globally from which to withdraw, indicated the head of the Luanda government.
Agriculture, fisheries, tourism and education
Between the signed agreements are compromises of cooperation in the areas of higher education, science/technology and teacher training, memorandums of understanding in the tourism, sports and youth sector, partnerships in the areas of engineering, scientific research and justice.
There is also a protocol for training and research in the agrofood sector with the objective of achieving "food self-sufficiency" and "promotion of crops in which Angola has tradition," such as coffee, cocoa, palm oil and cashew. This aims to reduce the cash outflow as was explained last Thursday, 22, by the Angolan minister of agriculture, Marcos Nhunga, speaking at the end of a visit of João Lourenço to the National Institute of Agrarian and Veterinary Research (INIAV) in Oeiras.
Agriculture, fisheries and tourism were also expressly referred to as areas of interest for the Portuguese presence by the Angolan leader on Saturday.
The agreements in the area of health and visa simplification, as well as other instruments still under negotiation, will be saved for the visit of Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa to Angola next year.
On the other hand, João Lourenço was emphatic in assuring that "there will be no instability in Angola" as a result of the fight against corruption and other fraudulent practices - this fight has been going on since his arrival to the presidency - despite the fact that some people linked to power, such as the sons of former President Eduardo dos Santos, are involved in them.
"What matters most to me is that you are from Angola"
The meeting of the Angolan head of state with the Portuguese media was marked by a small incident almost at the beginning when an Angolan woman, who identified herself as the daughter of a victim of the events of May 27, 1977 in Luanda, sought to question João Lourenço. The president was preparing, precisely, to answer a question about the attitude of his government to what was then characterized as an attempted coup d'état of a MPLA faction against then-President Agostinho Neto.
The repression that followed was violent. In addition to the alleged coup plotters, thousands of people were killed and imprisoned.
Ulika dos Santos, identifying herself as the daughter of one of the victims of May 27 (Adelino Ribeiro dos Santos, leader of the MPLA youth), asked to read a poem written by her father during the time he was detained in the São Nicolau camp, in the colonial regime time, in 1973.
The Angolan president allowed Ulika dos Santos to speak, but he did not let her read the mentioned poem, noting that, more important than the ethnic origin of his interlocutor was "that you are from Angola" and having been born in a particular locality or being part of a specific group "doesn't allow anyone privilege." Ulika dos Santos had invoked her ovimbundu origin, same as the president's, to ask João Lourenço to authorize the reading of the poem.
In response to the question on May 27, the Angolan official said he was aware that they were "repairing the deep wounds that were left in the hearts of many families" following those "sad events." Events in which some of Angola's "best sons" lost their lives, João Lourenço admitted.
The May 27, 1977, events remain as one of the most controversial chapters and are subject to contradictory interpretations in the history of post-independence Angola.