Angola’s government has announced plans for sustainable partnerships with some of the country’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as the country moves to further develop its growing petroleum sector.
According to Sergio Pugliese, African Energy Chamber (AEC) President for Angola, the country’s government is currently running a number of programs, some of them, jointly funded with multilateral organizations, which offer soft loans to SMEs in all sectors of the economy.
“These loans are accessible via state-owned banks but have especially since the 2014 financial crisis stringent criteria for access attached to them,” he said in a recent statement.
“The Africa Energy Chamber continues to advocate for such loans to be made available to local entrepreneurs who are likely to employ more people in good-paying jobs whenever they have access to the right kind of financing. In the near future, I will lead a delegation to Europe, America and other African countries to see what they have done right and will build more coalitions to help the Angolan sector,” Pugliese continued.
The Chamber serves as the voice of Africa’s energy sector.
Earlier this year, the Angolan Government announced that it will create a regulatory body for the nation’s hydrocarbons sector.
“The creation of the new Angola National Petroleum and Gas Agency (ANPG), officially launched through Presidential Decree 49/19 in February 2019, is one of the most significant reforms since 2017. Its pioneer Chairman is non-other that experienced oil and gas executive and former Secretary of State Paulino Jeronimo, who has earned a very good reputation within the industry following an impressive track record stretching over many decades,” Pugliese explained.
“More importantly, it will be acting as Angola’s national concessionaire for hydrocarbon licenses and be in charge of regulating the industry and implementing government policy,” he added.
Pugliese stated that the creation of the agency is part of Angola’s efforts to streamline and overhaul the governance of its hydrocarbons sector. Up until now, state-owned company, Sonangol was responsible for such licensing activities.
The AEC boss noted that setting up the ANPG puts Angola at par with best oil and gas industry practices, and is a positive move to promote good governance and transparency within the Angolan industry.
“We expect foreign investors and operators to respond very positively to this measure,” he said.
Pugliese noted, however, that the sector is not without its problems. He stated that some of the common challenges the industry has experienced include the absence of capital, technology and deep industry know-how for local companies to carry out the high paying services in the industry.
“This eventually leads to local content being relegated to low paying and low jobs that do not in the long run help develop the kind of capacity needed to run the industry in the future with reduced dependence on foreign staff or capital,” he said.
He added that local companies are the ones that support the local economy and create the most jobs.
“Engaging, partnering and working with them promotes technology, skills and know-how transfers. It is also beneficial for robust national employment growth. More importantly for business perhaps, local companies are the ones with the deepest and most relevant knowledge of the local market environment, its dynamics and the way to do business.
Pugliese stated that setting up a joint venture with a local company or partnering with them has proven to be a sustainable and profitable business strategy for many foreign investors.
“The Chamber will be pushing for more joint ventures and encourage a lot of technology and skill transfer. Local companies have to also do their best to meet the industry demands and standards,” he said.