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Explosive growth

Interview - February 28, 2012
Maxam CPEA provides dynamite to the mining and construction industries, and has enjoyed spectacular increases in recent years. Here, its Director General Carlos Aguincha gives Globus Vision an overview of Angola’s progress, while discussing his own company’s development

We would like your comments on the successes Angola has achieved since the end of the war. What do you think was the key to the success Angola is enjoying, and what is your vision for the future?

Angola is a very big country whose low population is very young; we have all of the natural resources in order to develop renewable energies, agriculture and the transformation industry. As well, through the exploitation of its oil and gas industry and the mining sector and diamonds we have developed a very important economical structure. Nevertheless the conditions should be improved in many ways but I believe that many achievements have taken place in this short period of time. The development of the cities of Benguela, Huambo, Lobito and Luanda has been crucial for this situation to take place.

Nevertheless the primary sectors such as the health system and the alimentation sector have to be restructured to become more efficient and achieve its goals. In addition, the capacitating of the professional workers and their training has to be taken more seriously in order to keep improving the standards in Angola.

What do you think has been the impact of the private sector in the development of Angola?

In the years 2008 and 2009 there was a boom in the sector of logistics and infrastructure, many companies from the private sector wanted to invest in this area as it was obviously the one driving the economy. We believed at the first part of the international crisis that Angola would not get as harmed as many of the other countries because we had not invested as much in other economies and were not prone to receive its negative effects. Nevertheless in the end of 2009 and mainly in 2010 we saw that our predictions had been too optimistic and we had a big fall in production and sales, obviously the countries where we exported had had a terrible outcome from the crisis, and our commercial relations were going to suffer in turn. But with the Government’s approach of continuous rehabilitation and help with financial aid the development of the private sector has continued.

The problem in Angola is that there is no buying power; our society has no middle class so it is very difficult for the new private sector to keep developing. We have to train the young people so that a new class can emerge and can perform their tasks to continue creating companies and investing in their domestic economy.

Could you describe to our German readers the creation of MAXAM in Angola?

CPEA (Compañia de Pólvoras y Explosivos de Angola) was created many years ago, in 1959. During the war it was nearly stopped due to the situation because the mining sector was very small and there was barely enough infrastructure to transport materials and products. During the 1980’s and the 1990’s there was a big boom and things started to change along with the first big development in Angola. In 1993 with the big oil crisis you could not sell a thing, so the good figures diminished. But after 2002 and after the Peace Treaty things started to change, and in 2004 the partnership between MAXAM and CPEA was signed and the new partnership was launched. This partnership changed the equipment and machinery as well as the technology and the procedures. We created a very powerful type of dynamite which is safe and less expensive.

In 2011 there was a new restructuring of the company, and new South African equipment replaced the old German machinery.

Could you please give us your opinion on the situation the mining sector is experiencing in Angola?

We have many mines in Angola, especially CATOCA which is the most important one and the one which produces more diamonds. LUO is also a very sophisticated mine. The sectors of gold, copper and iron are developing as well in Angola. Along with the construction of infrastructures and roads, tunnels and channels for the water system it is helping the development of the industry even more.

This situation has helped us to develop the RIOFLEX, our most important product which has an easy application, is very easy to use it is less expensive and delivers more energy upon detonation.

How does MAXAM-CPEA take care about the training and capacitating of its workforce?

In our company there are only Angolans working. We take very seriously the matter of capacitating and know-how of our workers. There is much information in Luanda in how to achieve these goals, and as we belong to a multinational company we have our standards meticulously looked at by our mother company in Spain. Furthermore our workers travel abroad to Spain, Portugal and Brazil mainly in order to attend seminars, conferences and workshops – to have a higher level of training and knowledge.

What are the main projects of MAXAM-CPEA?

We are working in the construction of a refinery in Lobito, in the development of the copper industry and in the Port of Namibe where iron is transported to Germany.

What message would you like to give our investment community in Germany?

In Angola you find copper, iron, manganese and gold among other very important minerals… Therefore to continue with this very positive development in Angola we need partnerships with foreign countries.

Could you please tell us where do you see the company in 10 years?

We want to redistribute our points of distribution among countries, and to change the location of our factories. And I believe that MAXAM-CPEA will continue to grow harmoniously.

Which were the moments of your professional career which gave you most pride?

I would change the question, and I would say that what makes me proud is to work, to be counted upon as a partner, and be respected by our partners and competitors.