A national workshop, organised in the context of the presentation of UNCTAD’s Investment Policy Review (IPR) of Angola, took place on 4 and 5 September with participants from the public and private sector.
Speaking about the country’s development objectives and investment reform priorities, Joffre Van-Dúnem, Minister of Trade, stressed: “the IPR is key to improve the business environment, including from agribusiness”.
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After reaching significant volumes in the years following the end of the civil conflict, FDI inflows have been low in recent years, volatile and concentrated in the extractive sector.
A more diversified FDI portfolio and the targeting of the FDI projects that are better aligned with Angola’s needs could go a long way in supporting the achievement of the national development objectives.
The Government has put in place an ambitious programme to reform the business and investment environment. The IPR identified remaining gaps and bottlenecks, including the complex system for FDI entry and establishment, burdensome operational regulations, the persistence of restrictive business practices and a lack of institutional capacity and coordination.
These gaps and bottlenecks affect the country’s ability to take full advantage of its strategic location, abundant natural resources and preferential access to external markets.
The IPR also devoted special attention to investment in agribusiness and its contribution to sustainable development. It calls for concrete measures to foster responsible investment and promote inclusive agriculture modes of production.
The recommendations emphasize the need to strike a policy balance between the food security and export development objectives, improve access to land and infrastructure, and promote entrepreneurship and skills development.
In his opening speech, Manuel Neto da Costa, Minister of Economy and Planning, said: “FDI used to be neglected and this created a negative cycle for the economy”. He further stressed: “many of the problems we face are addressed by the IPR”.
“Angola will need to overcome key gaps and bottlenecks in the investment climate to unleash its full potential to attract FDI” said UNCTAD’s Chief of the Investment Policy Reviews Section, Chantal Dupasquier.
Manuela Navarro, Head of the Cooperation, European Union Delegation, emphasized that “the IPR comes at an important moment and we believe it can help improve investment in the country”.
“The IPR […] will also bring other gains such as a potential impact on job creation, innovation and capacity building,” said Florbela Fernandes speaking on behalf of the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Angola.
The IPR was undertaken by UNCTAD as part of Train for Trade II – a four-year project financed by the European Union. The project aims to help the country strengthen and diversify its economy prior to its graduation from least developed country status in 2021.
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In parallel to the national workshop to discuss the IPR, and as a first step for the implementation of its recommendations, UNCTAD conducted a two-day training session. The goal was to build capacity of government officials on investment promotion and facilitation as well as on policies for responsible investment in agriculture.
UNCTAD has supported more than 50 developing countries and economies in transition by conducting investment policy reviews over 20 years. It has also provided technical support to implement the IPR recommendations.
Studies show that UNCTAD’s Investment Policy Reviews have helped countries attract and benefit more from increased FDI, while improving business climates.