By Akanimo Sampson
Angolan Trade Minister, Joffre Van-Dúnem, has said that “the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s (UNCTAD) Investment Policy Review (IPR) for his country is key to improve the business environment, including from agribusiness.”
The minister was speaking about the country’s development objectives and investment reform priorities at a national workshop organised in the context of the presentation of the UNCTAD’s IPR of Angola. It took place early this September with participants from the public and private sector.
After reaching significant volumes in the years following the end of the civil conflict, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows have been low in recent years, volatile and concentrated in the extractive sector.
A more diversified FDI portfolio and the targeting of the FDI projects better aligned with Angola’s needs could go a long way in supporting the achievement of the national development objectives.
The government has put in place an ambitious programme to reform the business and investment environment. The IPR identified remaining gaps and bottlenecks, including the complex system for FDI entry and establishment, burdensome operational regulations, the persistence of restrictive business practices and a lack of institutional capacity and coordination.
These gaps and bottlenecks affect the country’s ability to fully take advantage of its strategic location, abundant natural resources and preferential access to external markets.
The IPR also devoted special attention to investment in agribusiness and its contribution to sustainable development. It calls for concrete measures to foster responsible investment and promote inclusive agriculture modes of production.
The recommendations emphasize the need to strike a policy balance between the food security and export development objectives, improve access to land and infrastructure, and promote entrepreneurship and skills development.
Minister of Economy and Planning, Manuel Neto da Costa, in his opening speech said that “FDI used to be neglected and this created a negative cycle for the economy”, and further stressed that “many of the problems we face are addressed by the IPR”.
UNCTAD’s Chief of the Investment Policy Reviews Section, Ms. Chantal Dupasquier , said “Angola will need to overcome key gaps and bottlenecks in the investment climate to unleash its full potential to attract FDI.”
Ms. Manuela Navarro, Head of the Cooperation, European Union Delegation, emphasized that “the IPR comes at an important moment and we believe it can help improve investment in the country”.
“The IPR will also bring other gains such as a potential impact on job creation, innovation and capacity building”, said Ms. Florbela Fernandes speaking on behalf of the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Angola.
The IPR was undertaken by UNCTAD as part of Train for Trade II – a four-year project financed by the European Union. The project aims to help the country strengthen and diversify its economy prior to its graduation from least developed country status in 2021.
UNCTAD has supported more than 50 developing countries and economies in transition by conducting investment policy reviews over 20 years. It has also provided technical support to implement the IPR’ recommendations.
Studies show that UNCTAD’s Investment Policy Reviews have helped countries attract and benefit more from increased FDI, while improving business climates