Angola: People to watch
These bankers, heads of state enterprises and start-up founders are all looking for investors as the Angolan economy slowly recovers from oil-fuelled doldrums
Francisco Viana – Speaking out for business against corruption:
President of the Confederação Empresarial de Angola (CEA) Francisco Viana is using his position as a business leader to lambast the government’s management of the economy, prevalent corruption and the problems in the country’s banking sector. Viana founded the business lobby group CEA in 2017 as a rival to the Associação Industrial de Angola, representing some 20 different business groupings. In June, the CEA held an inaugural national production fair, where Viana criticised the central bank for its failure to stop illicit capital outflows and facilitate access to foreign exchange. He also regularly takes aim at the country’s ruling class, saying that it uses its position in politics to give itself unfair advantages in business. Some say he has his own political amibitions.
Carlos Saturnino – Toppled and back on top:
President João Lourenço chose Carlos Saturnino, who is well respected in the oil industry, as a safe pair of hands to turn around state-run oil company Sonangol after the sacking of Isabel dos Santos this year and the recent rout in oil prices. Prior to his elevation by Lourenço, Saturnino had himself been sacked by Isabel dos Santo. Saturnino is focusing on improving operations and increasing output. Angola could have a new bidding round before the end of 2019. Reforms of Sonangol, which plays a leading role in generating state revenue, are due to be completed in 2020, when the country aims to have increased daily crude production by 250,000 barrels.
Alcides Horácio Frederico Safeca – Tough job, but someone has to do it:
Alcides Safeca has the tough job of overseeing the turnaround of Angola’s largest bank, the state-run Banco de Poupança e Crédito (BPC). He took up the post in October 2017 in the wave of new leadership under President Lourenço. The banking sector has been hit hard by the downturn in oil prices and a foreign currency shortage, and the BPC announced plans in August to cut costs by sacking employees and closing down some branches. Safeca is a former secretary of state for the budget and will oversee the use of a $325m line of credit from the African Development Bank.
Erickson Mvezi – Start-up success that’s all in the delivery:
Mvezi and his co-founders at delivery start-up Tupuca are some of the shining stars in Luanda’s small start-up space. Mvezi and three colleagues founded Tupuca in 2015 as a food delivery service and it has now expanded into the delivery of other goods, promising ‘Anything, anywhere, anytime’. Tupuca has more than 20,000 customers and won the Angola leg of the Seedstars World start-up competition in 2017. Having raised $200,000 from investors and got the rest of its money from bootstrapping, Mvezi and his team are looking for opportunities to expand in the region.
José Manuel Augusto Ganga Júnior – Diamond geezer:
Chief executive of the state-owned diamond company, Endiama, Ganga Júnior occupies a key position in the sector as the government vows to boost production, allow more freedom in diamond sales and remove some of the opacity that has hurt investor interest. Because the government sees diamonds as a strategic sector, all investors have to form joint ventures with Endiama. Endiama is now shopping for investors to take up stakes in licence areas that previously belonged to Isabel dos Santos. He is an Endiama veteran and served a long stint as director general of its Catoca joint venture.
This article first appeared in the October 2018 print edition of The Africa Report magazine
Top image: Erickson Mvezi