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Angolan industrialists want spanish in the country's real economy and ask Portugal for "proactivity

The Angolan Industrial Association (AIA) hopes the government will "encourage" the Spanish government to "look at the real economy" of the African country, in the scope of Pedro Sánchez's visit, asking for "proactivity" from Portugal "so as not to be outdone.

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For the president of AIA, José Severino, who was speaking to Lusa about the visit that the Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchéz, will make to Angola on April 7 and 8, small businesses, which make up much of the Angolan business mosaic, "should not be marginalized.

"Unfortunately, when these visits come at the highest level the businesses are already stipulated, they already know what the corridors are, they already know who the partners are and it is very difficult then for the real economy to penetrate," said this Sunday José Severino, in statements to Lusa.

The president of AIA, who praises the relationship of the Spanish ambassador in Angola with the business associations, considers that Spain, with its 'know-how', "can make good cooperation with Angola", wishing that the visit of Sánchez "is not a great frustration" for the small businessman.

"These visits at the highest level are always a great frustration, my hope is that this time that doesn't happen, because businessmen are mobilized, good will is created, and then when we go to squeeze only the grape remains, and there is no grape," he noted.

"Unfortunately, this is the atmosphere of these big visits, which is natural, no prime minister, no head of government, goes to another country to cooperate with without having things already aligned and there is no point in thinking otherwise," he said.

Spain is one of the largest suppliers of goods to Angola, especially food industry products.

The economist also recalls that 90 percent of the Angolan business fabric is made up of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and "it is important that the Spanish also look at this segment" and "not only for strategic interests that are the reason for the coming of Pedro Sánchez to Angola.

"And, of course, the government needs to be able to encourage the Spanish government to look at the real economy. Are the Spaniards coming to do agriculture? I don't believe it. There has to be a lot of perspicacity to find veins to explore," he argued.

The leader of AIA points to the downstream sector of petroleum (transportation and distribution of fuels) as an area in which the Spanish "should bet.

But, he observes, it is necessary "a lot of perspicacity and good will from the two chief executives to find ways that they don't just come here to do big business like infrastructures, public-private partnerships, oil, gas, and the rest is marginalized.

For the leader of AIA everything depends on the capacity of interaction of the two heads of government, so that the real economy is not marginalized.

José Severino also believes that Pedro Sánchez's visit to Angola "should alert the Portuguese government" to "be more proactive," and not only defend major interests, in order to "not be overtaken" by Spain in the field of competitiveness in Angola.

In Angola there are some Spanish interests, still few, and Portugal "can very well work in infrastructures that is an indirect way to support the real economy.

Spain "has already had projects on the Bengo River, can make public-private partnerships in the field of photovoltaic energy, Spain has great capacity in this area, working on infrastructure, are businesses with the state, but we get a ride," he suggested.

"Now Portugal has to move, otherwise the Spanish Prime Minister will overtake Mr. (António) Costa because this is competitiveness, I say this not to pinch anyone, but what matters is that Portugal also reacts and comes, it's been a long time since Portugal came to Angola," he questioned.

"It is important that our government is open to international cooperation, but this cannot happen without a real economy," he added.

The Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, will visit Angola in the first stage of a short trip to Africa that will also take him to Senegal, a source from the Madrid executive told Lusa news agency. The head of the Spanish government intends to gradually resume his international agenda, very conditioned by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has Africa as one of its priorities, according to the same source.

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