Angolan President Calls for End To Portugal Partnership

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Written by Barbara Bean-Mellinger

With Angola’s increasing economic strength and solid relationships with most world countries, Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos said this may be the time to break off what had been the beginning of a strategic partnership with Portugal, according to a report on All Africa.

The relationship between the two countries has been strained recently, made significantly worse by Portugal’s apparent mistrust of several high-level Angolan business people and accusations of corruption.

“In the battle against corruption, the anti-corruption organizations in the West are deliberately creating misunderstandings in order to intimidate Africans who are generating wealth and who want to get access to it. They are creating the general impression that a rich African is invariably a corrupt one,” said dos Santos.

In particular, he was referring to Portugal’s chief counsel’s investigations into the activities of several Angolan business elite. Although Rui Machete, Portugal’s foreign minister, apologized for the actions, he was later forced to withdraw his apology due to public backlash.

Trade between Portugal and Angola is very important to both countries, but more so to Portugal, said Jose Cantiga Esteves, professor of economics at the Lisbon economics institute ISEG due to their current economic difficulties.

Portugal exported products worth over 3 billion euros — $4.11 billion U.S. dollars — to Angola in 2012, making its former colony the country’s fourth largest export market behind Spain, Germany and France.

Approximately 10,000 Portugese firms have business ties with Angola, said Nuno Magalhaes, head of the parliamentary group of the Democratic and Social Center – People’s Party (CDS-PP).

While many in Portugal believe the country has done all it can in recent years to maintain good relationships with Angola, others are certain Portugal will do all they can to rectify the issues that are upsetting to dos Santos and others in Angola.