Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos’s criticism of former colonial ruler Portugal over Lisbon’s probes of Angolans shows he’s ready to exert the economic power of Africa’s second-largest oil producer.
“Angola is important for Portugal as a source of investment, export markets and jobs,” Markus Weimer, an analyst at Control Risks, a London-based political risk analysis group, said in an Oct. 16 text message reply to questions. “Dos Santos, aware of Portugal’s reliance on Angola, is flexing his muscles.”
Portugal’s relationship with Angola is “not well” and a planned “strategic partnership” in trade is at risk, dos Santos said in a state of the nation speech to open Parliament Oct. 15 in Luanda, the capital. A summit meeting between the two countries was moved to February.
Portuguese companies such as Grupo Soares da Costs SGPS SA, Teixeira Duarte SA and Mota-Engil SGPS SA have contracts valued in the billions of dollars to rebuild Angola from a 27-year civil war that ended in 2002. Isabel dos Santos, the president’s daughter, owns stakes in Zon Optimus SGPS, Portugal’s biggest cable-television provider, and Banco BPI SA, its third-largest bank, which is also active in Angola.
Dos Santos made his comments after Portuguese Foreign Minister Rui Machete expressed regret last month that prosecutors in Lisbon had opened investigations into Angolan citizens.
“There have been some misunderstandings and given the current political environment in this relationship, the construction of a strategic partnership previously announced is not advisable,” the president said in Parliament.
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