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Senhor Ana Paz de Jesus Neto, PCA of Empresa Portuaria de Lobito

Interview - November 24, 2011
We want to position the Port de Lobito as one of the best ports of Africa

After these ten years after the Peace Treaty what do you believe are the best achievements that Angola has conquered in this time and what do you believe to be the key factors for this success?

I believe that the most important thing was the investment in infrastructure, that way the country could be connected and along with increasing the industry of transportation Angola could enjoy a bigger increase in its wealth. The relaunch of the transportation sector was crucial for the movement of people and capital around the country and from the outside into Angola.

What do you think was the relation between Angola’s development and the development of Porto de Lobito?

Porto de Lobito is the region’s referent for trade relations due to its great geographical situation. It brings together the centre and the south of the country, as well as being the doorway to the southern part of Africa and it is accompanied by the 1300km of the Instituto de Caminhos de Ferro de Benguela.

What are the synergies with which you work with the Caminhos de Ferro de Benguela and what are the risks it faces in this relation?

Obviously the links it brings in terms of transportation are very big; it connects Porto de Lobito, the Sonangalp Refinery, Benguela and the Porto Minero.
More than 1 billion US Dollars were invested in the region and this gave more competition to the area. This helped with the construction of the Porto Minero, the Porto Seco and the terminal for the containers in the Port.

What are the main products that enter or go out from the Port?

It is a very important point for importation, taking into account that most products, nearly 80%, enter through the Port, especially the agricultural products.
After the war it became as well a point of export being the main products that enter the Port: equipment, agricultural products and products for industry. We want to set the industry as the main point of importance for the products that enter the Port. Angola should be able to produce the products it consumes.

What is your opinion of the development of the national industry in relation with the plan of national reconstruction? Obviously with Germany Angola is going to give that qualitative jump; in relation to the training and capacitating of its professionals, how is Porto de Lobito tackling that issue?

What we want and need are investments for the expansion and modernization of the Port, nevertheless we need to place the “man” again in its place, as part of humanity helping to construct and develop Angola. We need for the period of the training and formation to be extended in areas such as in the exploration of the harbor facilities, the technical areas of the job, where Germany is a leader in engineering and the implementation of the information technology where Germany is once again leader in terms of know-how.

We want to set the Port of Lobito as one of the best ports of Africa, at the same rate as Dar-es-Salaam, Maputo and Durban. We believe in improving all of our standards.

Mr. Ana Paz, what do you mean by improving the standards: what is the improvement of the conditions that you just mentioned? How are you focusing to improve competitiveness?

We are focusing on the human resources of our company and stressing the fact that we need to improve our workers’ know-how. As previously stated our geographical position is ideal in order to be the best partner for a German investor, we have the best nautical conditions as well (our waters are naturally deep). It is also the shortest way to get to Europe from Angola, as well as to get to the United States and it provides a link with the mineral producing region of Angola.

Technology is an issue that we take very seriously at the company, we have invested a lot to try to modernize our equipment and be prepared for the work that we are expecting. Our main aim is to become, as previously stated, one of the best and top ports of the southern part of Africa.

How do you think that the investment of 1 Billion US Dollars is going to help you approach that qualitative change that Porto de Lobito is seeking to achieve?

Porto de Lobito is becoming a referent in this part of the world, not only in Angola but in Africa as well. We want to attract more ships and more goods in order to keep up with the growth that the Port is having. It is with trade that we will achieve the goals we want to reach.

We started our presentation stating that the strategic moment for Germany and Angola was tangible, Angela Merkel´s visit in July of 2011 was a historical moment for Angola portraying once again the country for the whole world. How do you think that the confidence created after the visit of the German Chancellor is going to help Angola to keep developing?

Obviously Angela Merkel and Germany are the leaders of Europe now, the rest of the countries are either in recession or crisis, or looking to avoid these situations; this visit was very good for the image of Angola. We know that Germany is a key player in technology, equipment and management. It is very important as well in its know-how and the training it can give to our staff. Investments coming from Germany would be very welcomed as it would definitely help to develop the country and hand in hand with Germany Angola would be going the right way.

In the strategy created by the Government of Angola and His Excellency President Dos Santos of enhancing the ANGOLA brand, what do you think is Porto de Lobito’s role?

Porto de Lobito is responsible for the promotion of the brand of Angola definitely, and it has to play its part as well. Porto de Lobito is the gateway to Angola in the north of the country and it links many parts of Africa together. It is one of the pillars of the province’s development and it is very responsible and conscious of this responsibility. Porto de Lobito can take goods along 1000 km- this is a very big achievement for Benguela that will soon be exceeded if the estimates we have are right. We know as well that the trade is only going to be bigger as the exports with Congo and the mining zone keep growing and we are very happy to say that we are ready for this big development that waits for us.

Where do you foresee Porto de Lobito in ten years’ time?

We are very positive and optimists with regards to Porto de Lobito’s future. We want to be able to tie up more than 20 cargo ships at the same time and be able to be effective with its goods. As well, we count on the development of the mines and the trade, as we talked before that is continuously growing. I believe that with the participation of private investments Porto de Lobito will proudly say that is one of the referents of the region.

What message do you want to give to the German community who is looking to invest in Angola?

I would say that not only would I recommend them to invest but that they must! Angola has a lot of confidence deposited in Germany and so the German community should return it back and come to Angola. After the time of peace and stability that Angola is now enjoying investors should know that there are many opportunities in Benguela and in Angola. There are new laws that are helping to make it easier for investors to come to the country and thus reinforcing the confidence and power and strength that should be communicated to Angola.