Friday, August 21, 2009

South Africa Signs Oil Agreement With Angola

LUANDA 20 August 2009 Sapa-AFP


South Africa and Angola Thursday signed a number of trade
agreements including cooperation in the oil sector, following major
bilateral talks aimed at strengthening economic relations.

The oil cooperation pact will allow South Africa's Petro SA and
Angola's Sonangol to work together in oil projects, said Angolan
President Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

"Energy security is one of the most important aspects for peace
and stability," Dos Santos told journalists.

Managers for both companies will soon meet to discuss all
possible forms of cooperation, he said.

The state-owned oil companies will work together in the areas of
exploration, refining and distribution of oil, said Dos Santos.

A raft of bilateral agreements were also signed in the areas of
energy, industry, trade and transport.

Jacob Zuma who is accompanied by 11 ministers and more than 100 business leaders, said the agreement will change the economic
landscape of Southern Africa.

"These relations will strategically change the economic
landscape of southern Africa, there is no doubt about it," Zuma

Both leaders highlighted the importance of strengthening
business relations between Angola and South Africa, the continent's
largest economy.

"This indeed is one of the historic visits and indeed out of
this visit we believe that the people of Angola and South Africa
will benefit greatly," Zuma said after signing the agreements.

With Angola now leading Nigeria as Africa's largest producer of
crude oil and with its enormous hydro-electricity potential, energy
was a key area of discussion.

Much of Angola's infrastructure was destroyed during its 27-year
civil war which only ended in 2002 and the country is undergoing a
major reconstruction including roads, schools, hospitals and

Portuguese, Brazilian and Chinese firms are already key players
in Angola's reconstruction, and Zuma is expected to use his visit
to broker deals for South African firms seeking their slice of the

Dos Santos's ruling MPLA (Popular Movement for the Liberation of
Angola) has long been a supporter of Zuma's African National
Congress party, with ties dating back to respective anti-colonial
and anti-apartheid struggles.

Apartheid South Africa supported the rebel-turned-opposition
party UNITA (Total Union for the Independence of Angola). Despite
the democratic transition in South Africa, ties cooled
significantly during Thabo Mbeki's presidency.

Dos Santos appears to enjoy a good personal relationship with

He attended Zuma's inauguration in May, and Zuma visited Angola
in March last year as leader of the ruling ANC, in what was seen as
a snub to Mbeki.

South Africa is touting the trip as part of its efforts to
strengthen its relationships within southern Africa, while the
choice of Angola highlights the country's growing importance in the

Zuma arrived in Luanda on Wednesday evening, and early Thursday
laid wreaths to commemorate Angola's first president Agostinho Neto and soldiers who died in the liberation struggle against the

After an address to the National Assembly, Zuma attended a lunch
at Luanda's pink presidential palace before meeting Angolan Prime
Minister Paulo Kassoma.

The two leaders then addressed a business symposium which is
running alongside the ministerial meetings, giving South African
companies the chance to explore investment opportunities in the

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