Source: The Guardian

Not so long ago, thousands of Angolans were fleeing for Portugal. Now the tables have turned. Angola’s remarkable image makeover from a war-torn African backwater to rising global oil power has been capped by news that it will provide a much needed shot in the arm to its debt-ridden former colonial masters.

President Eduardo dos Santos said Angola was prepared to invest its burgeoning petrodollars in Portugal, which has been ordered to privatise struggling state-owned firms under a €80bn (£70bn) International Monetary Fund bailout.

“We’re aware of the difficulties the Portuguese people have faced recently and in such difficult times we must use our trump cards,” dos Santos said at a press conference with the visiting Portuguese prime minister, Pedro Passos Coelho, according to Angola’s state news agency Angop.

Coelho Passos added: “This visit is of huge significance. It is a unique opportunity … to build a base for stronger and closer ties between the two countries, their citizens, their companies and states.”

“Remember that we are looking to privatise [state utility company] Energias de Portugal and [national grid] REN,” he told Angola’s state broadcaster.

Other state-owned entities up for grabs include the national airline Tap and the Banco Português de Negócios. Banco BIC of Angola is set to buy the distressed bank for €40m – less than a fifth of its original market value. Isabel dos Santos, daughter of the long-serving president, is a part owner of BIC.

Given that the IMF forecasts economic growth of 11% next year, while Portugal’s will shrink by 1.8%, analysts say Angola’s financial aid to Portugal will grow. “Angola already has large investments in Portugal’s private sector so they do view buying in it as an opportunity,” said one economist in Luanda, the Angolan capital. READ MORE