Yohane Mbeeya Moono
Angola a country once ravaged by an over a decade long civil war. The country has however risen from the shackles and ruins of war to be one of Africa’s biggest economies. Infact it is in the top ten of Africa’s biggest economies by Gross Domestic Product.
The country has been propelled by the abundant Crude Oil and other natural resources. The country has grown from strength to strength on the economic front ever since calm and political stability returned to the country.
Angola lies on the West of Zambia, a landlocked country and she would provide a new corridor for Zambia to take her products to the Western World.
Angola has a Population of 32.87 million people as reported by the United Nation estimates in the 2020. That is almost double the population of Zambia. The Angolan Gross Domestic Product in 2021 was expected to reach 70 Billion Dollars and it was projected that the Gross Domestic Product value to hit the 100 Billion Dollars mark in 2022 and 110 Billion Dollars in 2023. Angola is also home to one of the most expensive cities in the World. The Angolan Capital Luanda is listed among the most expensive cities in the World.
What has Zambia not Utilized about Angola?
Zambia has for a long time cried to have a stable, predictable and cheap source of Fuel. Fuel has been noted as the major source of economic growth in any country as it drives the economy of a country. Zambia should play her economic diplomacy very well and negotiate with their Angolan counterparts in order to construction a pipeline to link with current Tanzania Zambia Mafuta (TAZAMA) pipeline and bring to life the Indeni Oil Refinery in Ndola. This would be a good and economic move to provide jobs to the Zambian people.
As early as April 2021, the two countries announced a deal that upto now has not yet materialized. Zambia and Angola have signed a $5 billion deal to build an oil pipeline between the two Southern Africa nations, Zambia’s Embassy in Luanda announced Friday. Lawrence Chalungumana, Zambia’s ambassador to Angola, said the project will pave the way a pipeline to supply finished petroleum products from oil-rich Angola to his country. He added: “This milestone agreement will bring to an end a more than 10-year old complex negotiation process that shall lead to cheaper fuel for Zambia.” The petroleum pipeline will be developed by the private sector with state-owned petroleum Angolan firm SANANGOL and the Zambia state company Industrial Development Corporation-IDC Zambia Ltd. as strategic equity partners. At the signing ceremony in Luanda, the Zambian government was represented by Energy Minister Mathew Nkhuwa, with Angola represented by Petroleum Minister Diamantino Pedro Azevedo.Once completed, the Zambia-Angola multi-product petroleum pipeline will transport petrol, diesel, kerosene, and gas.The project also rekindles hope for the Zambian community to start purchasing gas at a lower price than the current kwacha 17.9 ($0.81) per liter of petrol.
Additionally, Zambia and Angola had once Signed the Benguela Railway Project Agreement in 2005 but it has not materialized. In March of 2005, the two countries Signed a Memorandum of Understanding to relink the two countries’ rail systems. The rail line was to be run by a private-owned firm called NorthWest Rail under the partnership of Zambian and Angolan firms. The projected value o the project was 60 Million Dollars. Time has come for Zambia to reopen this Memorandum of Understanding and ensure that the project comes to fruition. With the projected boom in Copper production on the Copperbelt and Northwestern province, the Benguela Railway Project takes greater importance now. Time to enhance Bilateral Ties in order for the two countries to Mutually and Economically benefit.
Furthermore, Angola spends about 250 to 450 Million Dollars yearly importing Chickens from Brazil. With the current Government increasing allocation towards the Constituency Development Fund and placing an emphasis for Cooperatives to formed and run profit making business for their sustainable existence. It is time for the Zambian mission domiciled in Angola to negotiate for deal that would see some Zambian Cooperatives supply chickens to Angola. Not only will this help in the creation of jobs in the private sector but it will help to improve the economy of the Individuals in the Cooperatives and the Country Zambia at large.
With the Protocols on the Africa Continental Free Trade Area emphasizing on intra-Africa Trade. This is a perfect opportunity for Zambia to enhance Bilateral Ties with her neighbouring countries through the use of Economic Diplomacy. The economic projections of both countries are showing a positive trend and that can only be backed by the two countries engaging each other in trade as enshrined in the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement which both Zambia and Angola are full members.
Time for Economic Diplomacy to take position and propel Zambia to economic prosperity. Zambia needs this Economic Trade Giant she has not Utilized Much.