Long Live Investment Prospects
In August 2017 Angolans will go to the polls. For the first time in 37 years a change of leadership will take place. Whether this change is cosmetic or a first crack in Angola's entrenched political patronage system is yet to be determined; however, the election offers a genuine possibility for the opposition to gain some political ground.
In this article we analyse the various factors affecting this period of transition, and examine the risks and rewards affecting investment in the country ahead.
The Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola – Partido do Trabalho (“MPLA”) announced João Lourenco (“Lourenco”) as its presidential candidate in December 2016. Lourenco, or J-Lo as he is popularly known, is the MPLA Minister of Defence and a long-standing ally to serving President José Eduardo dos Santos (“dos Santos”). Bornito de Sousa, the current Minister of Territorial Administration, will be Lourenco’s deputy and is regarded by some key commenters as the pending “power behind the throne”.
Dos Santos’ decision to anoint Lourenco in place of his eldest son, José Filomeno de Sousa dos Santos (“Zenu”), or his daughter, Isabel dos Santos (“Isabel”), marks the family’s separation from the center stage of Angola’s politics as well as its deeper connection to the country’s institutions. Declining health is purported to be behind dos Santos’ step back from power, but Zenu is chairman of Angola’s sovereign wealth fund, managing USD 5 billion, and Isabel, often referred to as Africa’s richest woman, has headed state oil company Sonangol since June 2016.