Angolan president in China for state visit

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Angola President João Lourenço has travelled to China for a two-day state visit.

According to the country’s Foreign Affairs ministry, President Lourenço, who left Luanda on Saturday, was invited by his counterpart Xi Jinping.

The ministry said presidents Xi and Lourenço would hold a meeting in Beijing on Tuesday, after which the latter would meet Chinese Prime Minster Li Zhanshu.

President Lourenço is reportedly accompanied by a high profile ministerial delegation.

Several accords between China and Angola are expected to be inked and others reviewed during the visit, according to the Luanda Foreign Affairs ministry.

The visit is President Lourenço’s first to China since he took over from long-serving José Eduardo dos Santos last August, following an election marking the end of a 38-year reign.

President dos Santos visited China in 2015.

China is Angola’s second largest trading partner in Africa, after South Africa, and the Asian giant’s role in the southern Africa state since 2004 has been visible, mostly in the reconstruction sector.

The Chinese were also reportedly keen to play a key role in the diversification of the Angolan economy, currently largely dependent on oil.

China started offering credit lines to Angola in 2002, and Luanda’s debt to Beijing currently stands at about $23 billion, with about 60 per cent of it supported by oil.

Angola is Africa’s second leading oil exporter, but its nationals remain impoverished, seeing little benefit from the oil revenues.

According to the United Nations, the oil sector represents 97 per cent of Angola’s exportation and 80 per cent of public revenues, and employs one per cent of the population.

Angola has a population of 26 million spread across 18 provinces and got independence from Portugal in 1975.