Angola's tormented path to petro-diamond led growth

Mr. Dumilde Rangel , Governor of Province of Benguela


Interview with:

Mr. Dumilde Rangel,

Dr. Dumilde das Chagas Simoes Rangel.
Telf./Fax: 00 244 72 35003/32105
00 244 2 323370

4th July, 2001
Thanks to the port of Lobito, your province is often seen as the door giving access to the South African market. How would you evaluate the importance of the regional cross border trade generated by Benguela? What would be your specificity?

Talking about Lobito's harbour could not be whithout talking about the railway of Benguela. talking about Lobito's harbour and Benguela's railway is talking about two substructures extremely important to the rehabilitation and sustainable developement of Angola, in particular the area that embraces the provinces of Kuanza-sul, Huambo, Bié and Moxico, inside the country. And in a certain way the province of Huíla also benefits from the advantages of Lobito's harbour through the higway that connects Benguela to Huíla on 350km. The economic importance of Benguela's railway and Lobito's harbour stems from the fact that any imported raw material that ensures the development of the neighbouring provinces has to pass by Lobito's harbour. Also, products such as fuels, cement, etc. are mainly from Lobito and get transported by the Benguela railway, which is less expensive than the highway.

Besides an elevated concentration of heavy and light industries, we rely on a significant fishing industry which is enhanced by the exceptional equipment and facilities of the port of Lobito and the great needs of the neighbouring provinces. Mr. Gomes, the Director of the port, will certainly describe to you the determinant elements that characterise the importance of Lobito's harbour in the province's economy and in the country's economy in general. we also want to recall that the railway of Benguela has traditionnally enabled us to keep connected to the neighbouring countries like the Republic of Democratic Congo, the Katanga region, Zambia and to a certain extent Zimbabwe. So we are sure that with the rehabilitation of Benguela's railway, we will regain the international importancein we used to have within the SADC region.

How significant is the Corridor of Lobito and the rehabilitation of the Benguela railway for the development of the province?

This process is now at central government. The project supports the rehabilitation and modernatization of Lobito and Benguela's terminal and the creation of a new parking point of the trains between Lobito and neighbouring provinces, as well the construction of peripherical line around Lobito and the city of Benguela. The government's efforts are aimed at attracting potential investors to ensure the rehabilitation of those significant projects. Another project concerns the rehabilitation of the highways. The governement is now negociating with the IMF for the necessary funds.

Benguela is endowed with a significant hydroelectrical potential. How do you intend to develop this area?

Yes, I would like to emphasize on our electric facilities meant to provide energy to the corridor until Bie. The river Katumbela has the sufficient capcity to bear the construction of other hydro-electric plants that will allow the production of energy to satisfy the needs of the provinces.

Another significant project is the construction of the Lobito refinery with an estimated cost of 3billion$ and which should start operating by mid 2006, according to our interview with Mr. Abilio. To what extent should the refinery benefit to the economic development of Benguela?

Indeed, we are currently planning the construction of a new petrol refinery which will process 200,000 barrels of petrol per day. This refinery will consume lots of energy, not less than 60 Mhz; a lot of water, not less than 1.200m3 per day, which imply the rehabilitation of all our infrastructures in the area. Then will remain the peace to be able to satisfy the demand for energy in the provinces of Huambo and Bié that are potencially rich too. Huambo in the colonial era used to be, beside Luanda, in second place in terms of politics, economic and social importance. Nowardays, because of the war, Benguela now occupies the second place.
To which extent do you believe the war represents an obstacle to the implementation of your projects?

The war is to be forgotten and investing is the one of the best way to regain peace. When we invest, we create jobs, schools, medical assistance, we create better social conditions for the people, etc. Our highways will be repaired and the people who will benefits from those services will not be interested in destabalizing this develpoment process. We believe that favouring an protecting investment will convince the people of stopping suporting the war. After, all, everybody wants peace and this is only possible with investiments. What we are asking to investors is to trust the Angolan government, grant the financing so that those projects can start and attract more investors.

We have other important sectors where we also appeal for investiments: the agro-food industry which is very rich in Benguela. We need to increase the capture of fish, investors are invited to bring means of capture preserving sea fauna, improve our fish transformation, and intensify the production of salt.

Your provinces is endowed with very nice countryside and beaches. Do you believe there is a potential for the development of tourism?

Definitly, the tourism industry constitutes one of the potentialities of our province. We have beautiful beaches, we have huting reserves, close to the beaches. We have a reserve located 15km away from "Baía azul", we have onother reserve of gross huting at 120km from the beaches. We can also say that Benguela is an ancient pole European culture: we have monuments and historical places that can be visited by tourists.

You are today Governor of the Province of Benguela. Can you tell us more about yourself: can you briefly come back on your professional background and tell us what would be your greatest challenge in the near future?

I'm 52 years old, I was born in Katumbela village in Benguela in Lobito town council. I've done my primary studies in Katumbela village, and the secondary studies in Benguela city where I've finished the general commercial course and the training to get access to the comercial institute. After, I worked in the formerly called National Farm. I've done obligatory military service under the colonial regime but I did not complete it as I was asked to work for the Ministry of finance where I worked until the independance. After the independance, I went back to military service contribuing to Angola's independance and supporting the MPLA and the Government from 1975.

In 1980 I restarted my studies in Agostinho Neto's university and in december 1985 I graduated in economy, accounting and finance. After I became the Director of a commercial company were I was exporting diamonds, oil, coffee and other raw materials until 1987 when I was nominated Minister of external commerce. Right after I was called to merge the Ministry of external commerce with the Ministry of internal commerce. After, I was called to merge this Ministry with the Ministry of industry, which was called Ministry of industry commerce and tourism. I worked there until 1990 when I was nominated Governor of Huíla, until 1996 when I was nominated Governor of Benguela.

 Read on 

© World INvestment NEws, 2002.
This is the electronic edition of the special country report on Angola published in Forbes Global Magazine. February 18th, 2002 Issue.
Developed by AgenciaE.Tv