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Entrepreneurs and chambers of commerce defend investment in Southern Africa

Entrepreneurs and representatives of chambers of commerce defended this Wednesday the bet on investment in southern Africa, considering that the region contains resources and potential to be an asset to investors.

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In the webinar "Financing and Investment in Southern Africa", organized by the Portuguese-Spanish Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCILE), the Portuguese-South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCILSA) and the Portuguese-Angolan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIPA), the investment of private individuals, particularly Europeans, in a region that includes the Lusophone countries of Angola and Mozambique was discussed.

João Luís Traça, of the CCIPA, analysed the problems for the Angolan economy that will be posed not only directly by the covid-19 pandemic, but also by the oil crisis, which has affected the state budget.

"Forecasts say that the recession will be at least until 2022. It is more or less a guarantee that inflation will always be above 20 percent and public debt will be exceeding 100 percent of GDP. For a country like Angola, this is clearly not a positive number," he said during his participation.

João Luís Traça also addressed factors such as the devaluation of the kwanza, "which has been felt by many companies present in Angola", and youth unemployment, which currently stands at 56 per cent.

Even so, the CCIPA member argued that "businessmen cannot look only at the short term, and therefore it is necessary to look at the countries and markets in which one is investing taking into account their potential", considering that Angola has, due to the young population, "economic potential and as a country of consumption".

In the same way, João Luís Traça added that there is added value in investing in Angola due to its presence in the Southern African Development Community (SADC), as well as changes to private investment legislation and the privatisation programme itself, promoted by the Angolan Government.

"In a new series of sectors, the sectors will have new legislation", and this "will allow the diversification of the Angolan economy", he said.

Ignacio Ramiro of Deutsche Bank agreed, adding that "there is a government desire, a priority, to expand the private sector and to develop the sector and diversify the economy".

The president of CCILSA, businessman Tim Vieira, pointed out that despite the current difficulties, "there are many opportunities in South Africa.

"South Africa should start explaining to people outside that it is serious," he said, considering that it is easy to invest in the country, with conditions like "good professionals, good business, a very strong economy (...) and a very big market.

Tim Vieira considered that South Africa is missing opportunities for foreign investment because it is "not conveying the message" that the country is open to "receiving business and people".

"We have the government saying it's open for business, but then it's not producing what it's saying," he said.

João Robles, from FCB Advogados, Javier Valero, from Globaltec, and José Carlos Nogueira, from Mota Engil Africa also participated in the webinar.