Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez will visit Angola in early April, according to the country’s ambassador in Luanda, Manuel Ruigómez.
The last visit by a Spanish head of state to Angola took place in 1991, when Felipe González led the Spanish government. Mariano Rajoy was expected to arrive in March 2018, but the trip was eventually canceled due to the political situation in Catalonia.
With the visit of Pedro Sánchez, who starts a short tour in Angola that will also pass through Senegal, Spain wants to highlight the growing importance of Africa in its foreign policy and make itself available to support the development of African countries through investment.
“Spain is looking more intensely at Africa and two years ago approved a new plan in which Africa gains more importance in foreign policy”, stressed Manuel Hernández Ruigoméz in an interview with Agência Lusa, emphasizing that Angola is one of the five priority countries in this strategy, together with South Africa, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Senegal.
The diplomat recalled that Angola has attracted the interest of Spain since gaining independence in 1975, and the Prime Minister at the time, Adolfo Suarez, even met his Angolan counterpart, Lopo do Nascimento, in 1976, in Madrid.
Since then, the relationship between the two countries has been “always strong and intense”, he stressed, considering that Africa’s future depends on its development and that Europeans “must be close to their southern neighbors” so that “together”, contribute to the progress of that continent.
Spain has so far had a foreign policy more directed towards Latin America, since this is the continent closest to its historical and cultural point of view. Notwithstanding, Ruigómez defends a greater European approach to Africa where many issues must be taken care of, such as immigration and poverty.
“I think that Spain, like Portugal, should pay more attention to these problems. We are together in the world, as is seen now with the pandemic, which ignores borders. This is our southern border and we must take care of it ”, said the ambassador.
For Ruigómez, the solutions for African countries to overcome underdevelopment includes investment.
“For this reason, we think that by encouraging the investment of our companies and our public and private investors, we can help to get Angola and other countries out of a difficult economic situation,” he said.
The diplomat also praised the fight against corruption carried out by the Angolan chief executive, João Lourenço, since he came to the presidency in 2017, which he considered “very important” to facilitate the arrival of Spanish investors.
Also essential are other initiatives such as the legislative packages that the government and the National Assembly have been approving in the field of business facilitation, he pointed out, regretting that the pandemic is hindering exchanges between countries.
If it were not for covid-19, Angola would be attracting more investment, he believes, indicating among the relevant legislative measures, the fact that it is no longer mandatory to partner with Angolan partners to invest in the country.