*** In the Photo: AfDB Vice President Marie-Laure Akin-Olugbade (right) meets with Angolan Minister for Agriculture and Forestry, Dr António Francisco de Assis ( centre) and AfDB Country Manager for Angola Pietro Toigo during an official visit. Angola, June 2024 ***

By Joao Manuel

African Development Bank Vice-President for Regional development, Integration and Business Delivery, Marie-Laure Akin-Olugbade has completed a mission to Angola in which she held several strategic, high-level dialogue sessions with authorities of the country. The talks provided the foundation for the implementation of the Bank’s new 2024-2029 Country Strategy Paper.

The country strategy paper, which will guide the cooperation between the Bank and Angola for the next five years, was one of the main objectives of the mission which took place from 25-28 June. Her key message to the authorities was the Bank’s readiness to do bigger and transformative operations in Angola.

The vice-president met with senior government officials, including the Minister of Planning and governor of the Bank Victor Hugo Guilherme, the Minister of Finance and alternate governor, and representatives from sector ministries including the Energy and Water, Transport and Agriculture, as well as the Sovereign Wealth Fund. She was also received at the Presidency of the Republic by the Minister of State for Economic Coordination, José de Lima Massano.

Akin-Olugbade also met key development partners working in Angola to discuss common synergies and collaboration and engaged with private sector players to assess progress in reforms of Angola’s business environment.

The parties discussed the cooperation between Angola and the Bank and its priorities, which focus on accelerating economic diversification and job creation, leveraging Angola’s enormous youth dividend, investment in agriculture, and a significant pipeline of energy projects set to transform Angola from a fossil fuel exporter to a supplier of clean energy to Southern and Central Africa.

Akin-Olugbade noted the significant results delivered by Bank projects, which have successfully delivered access to water and sanitation to over 80,000 households in the country’s coastal towns. During a field visit to the Bank-financed Science and Technology Park of Luanda, Akin-Olugbade appreciated the advances made to an investment expected to provide a significant boost to innovation and research for academia, the private sector and start-ups. 

At a reception attended by key partners and stakeholders held on 28 June, the vice president launched the celebration of the African Development Bank’s 60th anniversary.

She said: “I am delighted to see the significant progress made by Angola to diversify its economy and revive the agricultural sector, that has been growing faster than the oil sector for the past five years. I could appreciate the significant success in weathering the COVID crisis and putting public debt on a sustainable trajectory. We now have the foundation for a fruitful collaboration between Angola and the Bank to provide skills to the labour force, and opportunities for decent jobs, thereby creating hope for the youth and women.”

Almost 66% of the population of Angola is under the age of 25, Akin-Olugbade noted.

Minister Guilherme said: “We are delighted with the visit of VP Marie-Laure Akin-Olugbade which is a testament of the prolific partnership between our country and the Bank. We welcome the AfDB’s strategic focus on supporting economic diversification beyond the oil sector by fostering sustainable agricultural value chains anchored on provision of clean energy infrastructure, reliable water supply, and transport corridors. Despite the difficult external and domestic environment compounded by multiple shocks, our government is steadfastly implementing structural reforms to boost competitiveness in the non-oil sector and foster a sustainable, green and inclusive growth consistent the objectives of our third National Development Plan (NDP 2023-27).”

Since the beginning of the Bank’s operations in Angola in 1980, it has approved a cumulative total of more than $3 billion in projects to support the country’s development agenda.