Angola and Qatar, two oil-producing countries, signed six agreements of common interest that mark a new stage of economic cooperation in various sectors on Sunday at the Royal Palace of the Emir, in Doha.
The Angolan President João Lourenço, and Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, emir of the state of Qatar, witnessed the signing of agreement on “Mutual Promotion and Protection of Investments” based on sustainable economic development of the parties.
The two countries also agreed to the “Protocol for the Establishment of Political Consultation Mechanisms” to strengthen cooperation between states in sharing and harmonising positions on bilateral, regional, continental and international issues.
With a view to consolidating and strengthening cooperation between the two governments and facilitating the mobility of their diplomatic and special passport holders, a “Diplomatic and Special Passport Visa Waiver Agreement” was signed.
Created to establish bilateral cooperation in the field of “Merchant Marine”, Angola and Qatar, from today, are partners, at a time they also sealed the “Economic, Commercial and Technical Cooperation”.
This aims to lay the foundations for economic, trade and technical cooperation between the parties in the Industry, Mines, Energy, Agriculture, Communications, Transport, Construction, Labour and Tourism sectors.
Focus also goes on the “Memorandum of Understanding between the Qatar Port Management Company (Mwani) and the Angolan Port Maritime Institute (IMPA)” for cooperation between the port entities of both countries and the respective management of the port systems.
This “small giant” of 2.7 million inhabitants, the world leader in per capita GDP ($ 129,112 per person), has oil, natural gas and financial market investments as its main sources of wealth, so Angola wants to do its best to learn the experience.
In Qatar there is freedom of movement of capital, with promoters having no difficulty repatriating profits or other income, although in public service contracts the law provides for preferential treatment to investment projects for the production of goods with national added value.
The economy thrives, above all, on the fact that its main wealth is natural gas, sold under long-term contracts, and the efforts that the official authorities have made through non-energy private sector development policies.
Even so, it remains dependent on natural gas production.
The pace of economic growth has gradually slowed from 2012 to 2017, amid a percentage of GDP changes in previous years, contributing to the drop in international oil prices.
According to the press, the “diplomatic crisis” with its neighbours (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain) in 2017 affected business, with average annual GDP growth standing at 3.2 percent between 2013 and 2017.
It is expected that the average annual rate of change of 2.3% for GDP may be recorded in real terms over the period 2018-2022.
Qatar’s foreign trade regime imposes few restrictions on imports, although these operations can only be performed by companies or national citizens of the Qatar / Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), duly registered with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry from Qatar.
Therefore, the market approach should be carried out through local agent / representative, with the agency contract being a rule of exclusivity and with a fixed term.
In turn, ongoing reforms in Angola have changed the situation. Partnerships with Angolans or national companies are no longer mandatory. Hitherto foreign investors were “obliged” to share with domestic investors so that they would hold at least 35% of the capital and effective participation in management.
This was true in the areas of electricity and water, hospitality and tourism, transport and logistics, telecommunications and information technology, construction and the media.
Current economic diplomacy, headed by the President of the Republic, João Lourenço, has turned the speech to encourage private investment.
If there was little mention of priority sectors, the new private investment law defines where the investor can benefit, as in education (vocational training, higher education, scientific research and innovation); agriculture, food and agro-industry; health services; reforestation (industrial transformation of forest and forestry resources); textiles, clothing and footwear; hospitality, tourism and leisure.
Other sectors are those of construction and public works; telecommunications and information technologies; airport and rail infrastructure; production and distribution of electricity; and basic sanitation, solid waste collection and treatment.
In Angola, the Export Promotion and Investment Agency (AIPEX) is the competent entity, substitute for the Private Investment Support Technical Unit (UTAIP). There are currently two ways to present an investment project (prior declaration or special scheme).
In the first case, the investor may set up a company prior to the submission of the investment proposal to AIPEX, as registration of the investment with the institution is a condition of access to the rights and benefits provided by law, and in another it applies only to investments in priority sectors