Strapped for cash, Luanda looks to sell off its land

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 President of Angola's Consortium Rede Camponesa, Gentil Viana
Africa Intelligence | 31 May 2017

Strapped for cash, Luanda looks to sell off its land
 
Luanda wants to dispose of nearly 40 million hectares of farm land, an initiative that’s expected to initially benefit the government’s cronies.
 
The Consortium Rede Camponesa (CRP) which consists of dozens of Angolan operators in the farm sector, has launched an international campaign to put 38 million hectares of arable land on the market.
 
Presidential clan • A very sizeable delegation from Angola took part in the Rimini agricultural fair in Italy between May 8-15 and a workshop with the ACP- Belgian-Luxemburg Chamber of Commerce in Brussels on May 19.
 
The Angolan delegation was headed by CRP’s chairman Gentil Viana, who’s also CEO of Drago Group, a director of the government’s Agency for the Promotion of Investment and Exports (APIEX) and founder of the Menha Business Park in Lunda Norte province.
 
Angola’s plan for the sell-off comes amid a crippling economic crisis and well over two years of low oil prices. The long-term goal is to create export markets.
 
One objective is to forge joint ventures between Angolan companies and foreign firms. The vice president of CRP, Ariel Roberto Francos, an economist with degrees from the universities of Jerusalem and Memphis and who also set up the Propin company, has offered his expertise to manage projects and conduct feasibility studies.
 
While the scheme underscores the need to reduce Angola’s almost total reliance on oil, an unspoken aim is to equally upgrade land belonging to retired army officers and members of the inner circle surrounding president Jose Eduardo Dos Santos.
 
Expressions of interest • A memorandum of understanding on the regeneration of 46,000 hectares of land was signed in March between CRP and the Ligue des Militaires Angolais dans la Reforme (LIMIAR) headed by a colonel, Augusto Sanda. In a similar initiative, the Fazenda Liberato firm is looking for partners to work 4,200 hectares in the north. Farming concerns Novagrolider and Grupo Sodosa, which keep the capital, Luanda, in fruit and vegetables, want to get into the exports business.
 
That’s also the case of Hong Kong-based China Dreal Group that’s active in real estate in Angola and does business in Conakry as well.
 
There’s also an employment angle to the initiative. During his stay in Belgium, Viana insisted on the need to involve rural inhabitants.
Original source: Africa Intelligence
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