"It was approved last week, is prepared and is now starting to be implemented. Our financing is 125 million dollars, of which 50 million dollars is a credit facility provided by China, which the AfDB will manage," told Lusa Pietro Toigo, bank representative for Angola.
The project will cover the province's urban areas – cities of Benguela, Lobito, Baía Farta, Catumbela – focusing in particular on the sanitation network, reticular where possible and also with the supply of latrines in slightly more rural areas, and with intervention also in the areas of nutrition and domestic hygiene.
In total, the active portfolio – projects in execution to which this one is added – of AfDB investments in Angola "is currently around one billion dollars", said Pietro Toigo, speaking to Lusa in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, where he participates at the annual meetings of the African Development Bank Group.
This year, with the funding of 125 million dollars mentioned, "the total will be 210 million" and for 2024 Pietro Toigo admits that it will be possible to exceed this amount of funding.
The AfDB is currently defining the new strategy for Angola, which will cover the period 2024 to 2028, and the approach is to look at the National Development Plan, which is being prepared by the Government, "in which the bank is very involved, in interaction with the authorities".
Pietro Toigo believes that the current strategy will continue, with a focus on agricultural transformation, insisting that it is "a pillar area of economic diversification and national development", as well as infrastructure, "here with a special focus on energy and supply of water".
Alongside these, the financial institution wants to increase work, little so far, he admitted, in transport, job creation for young people and greater training for women, especially access to technical, higher and scientific education.
The AfDB representative for Angola praised the work that has been done in recent years, with "significant reforms for the diversification of the economy, the establishment of the tax base and, above all, the restructuring and reduction of the debt".
The debt "has fallen since 2020, when Angola was one of the countries where the markets were very afraid of a possible 'default', from 134 percent of Gross Domestic Product to just over 60 percent, a very successful restructuring ", he highlighted.
However, the Government continues to have a rather high debt financing cost, which takes away resources from investment in human capital, in basic services, in its growth, in employment, and this is where the AfDB may also come to act.
"We want to work with the government to support the finance minister's strategy to access cheaper forms of financing, namely through guarantees", the AfDB official told Lusa.
"We may come to guarantee a part of the issuances [of public debt] to lower costs. But of course they are instruments that have to be evaluated based on market conditions and, at the moment, the markets are quite complicated, with rate hikes interest rates and turbulence caused by the bankruptcy of American banks", he pointed out.
In addition, the facilitation of business in Angola still needs "a lot of bureaucracy" and greater transparency, issues that are especially important for international investors, said Pietro Toigo.
"Mobilizing private finance for the climate and growth of the green economy" in Africa is the global theme of the annual meetings of the AfDB Group, the most important event of the institution that integrates 54 African Member States and 27 non-African, and that this year takes place, until Friday at the International Conference Center in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt.