Reform time

Has João Lourenço made Angola more business friendly?

By Estelle Maussion

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Posted on April 28, 2022 09:54

 © Angola’s President João Lourenço. Anton NovoderezhkinTASS via Getty Images
Angola’s President João Lourenço. Anton NovoderezhkinTASS via Getty Images

President João Lourenço came into power in 2017 promising to turn a page on corruption and state predominance in the Angolan economy. Now up for re-election in August, he says he needs more time.

Angola’s President João Lourenço (JLo) started off his presidential term in 2017 by saying that he would reduce the roles of the state, the armed forces and the national oil company, Sonangol, in the national economy. He repeated the same message at the start of 2022.

“The state wants to divest itself of many assets, and the space freed up must be occupied by the private sector,” JLo told local media in early January of this year. This sentence sums up the ambition of a president who promised, five years ago, to be “the man of the Angolan economic miracle”.

He is up for re-election this year and says he needs more time to change Angola’s model, which has been in place since independence in 1975. This means diversifying an oil-­centric economy, liberalising, privatising and encouraging foreign investment as well as local entrepreneurship: in short, making Angola more business-friendly.


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