Chinese Premier, Li Keqiang, had his eight-day, four-nation African tour visit. Luanda is his third stop where he had a strategic official visit which is aimed to strengthen the partnership and solidarity between China and Angola.
As Angola is one of the fastest growing African countries and one of the most important Chinese partners in the Southwest Africa, a large number of economic and trade cooperation agreements are expected to be signed between the two countries. Last year, trade between Sino-Angola had reached thirty-six billion US dollars making Angola the second largest source of crude oil for the Chinese, after Saudi Arabia.
In fact, China is looking forward to exchanging views with Angolan leaders on bilateral issues and would like to extend their cooperation in the terms of development. These cooperation agreements are quite large in scope, and not just on natural resources. China’s Commerce Minister, Gao Hucheng, argued that this signing cooperation will cover many fields which are related to people’s livelihoods, medical science, hydro-power, manufacturing, agriculture, basic infrastructure, environmental protection, education and culture but he did not give any details on the financial statement of the agreements. Angola is trying to make its oil-dependent economy more important. Li’s visit will fortify the strength of both the economic and political relationship between China and Angola.
Li is scheduled to meet the Angolan President, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, and lead a seminar with Chinese companies. This will be his first official visit to Africa since being placed in the position of Chinese Premier in 2013.
Angola was victim of internal conflicts, such as the civil war and political instability for several years, thus the country was completely in a disastrous state. Thanks to the oil exploration and the large reconstruction programs led by the Chinese government, however, the country’s economy has been progressively and rapidly developing. China has actively participated in the post-war reconstruction including the repairing and building of Angola’s infrastructure of railways, highways, harbors and power plants.
On the other hand, there was some criticism about the last Chinese infrastructure projects. In fact, the projects have employed more Chinese laborers than Angolan workers and labor laws have been neglected in host countries. Furthermore, problems towards funding in railway project and other Chinese-funded projects has been noted such as the case of $13.1 billion railways projects in Nigeria.
The transparency on the financial terms specifics, between the two countries is of great important and would benefit all in the long run. If such projects are successful, future generations will see quality of life improvements in Angola. Moreover, as new economic development initiatives get underway, jobs and other opportunities will likely be created from which all the people in the country will profit.