May 162014

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, May 16, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — On 14-16 May, Angola’s Minister of Energy and Water João Baptista Borges is visiting Sweden with a delegation.

The main focus of the visit is to promote a business exchange between Sweden and Angola. The visit is also a follow-up of of the visits to Angola by Minister for Trade Ewa Björling in May 2013 and Minister for Enterprise Annie Lööf in November 2013.

The programme for the visit includes meetings with the Swedish business community and Swedish agencies and institutes operating in the energy and water sector. Dr Björling will host a lunch in connection with the visit on 16 May.

“I see Angola as a very important trading partner for Sweden, not least in the future. This is also why the Government has named Angola as one of our top-20 prioritised countries for exports and trade-promoting activities,” says Dr Björling.

Sweden’s relations with Angola can be traced back to the time before the liberation struggle. Over the years, our relations have shifted focus from development assistance to trade and investment. Many of the areas in which Sweden has a great deal of expertise are areas in which we previously provided bilateral development assistance. Angola is a good example of how bilateral cooperation can be broadened and further developed through existing relations that have been cultivated over many years.

Source: APO

May 062014

WASHINGTON, May 6, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Press Availability John Kerry Secretary of State Luanda, Angola May 5, 2014     SECRETARY KERRY: Good morning, everybody. President Dos Santos and I had a very constructive conversation today. We discussed a broad array of the issues concerning not just the bilateral relationship, but also concerning regional and broader security issues and challenges of the region. I want to emphasize that Angola is a very important partner in the region, and the relations between Angola and the United States are, in fact, moving on an upward trajectory and getting stronger with each meeting that we have. And I was very encouraged today by the discussions we had about enlarging our cooperation, engaging in a security dialogue, and in the near term building on the visit of the African leaders to Washington for the summit with President Obama and engaging in further meetings between ourselves on a bilateral basis during that time. Over the past few days, I have – oh, excuse me. We have – I’m sorry. We have translation. Over the past days I’ve spoken often about African leadership and this moment of promise and of decision for Africans. Angola is committed to making the most of this moment increasingly through an important role as a leader in the region and particularly on security issues. Angola is playing a central role – integral role, really – in bringing African nations together and in leading them towards an enduring peace, we hope, in the Great Lakes region. I thank President Dos Santos for his personal work and commitment to that effort, for his leadership, and particularly for the International Conference of the Great Lakes, which Angola is chairing, and which he has committed to continue to try to bring to completion. Our special envoy to the Great Lakes, Senator Russ Feingold has been to the region nine times prior to coming this time in order to help support that effort. I worked very closely with Russ during our days in the Senate, and then, as now, he is a tireless worker, deeply committed to Africa, knowledgeable about Africa, and ready to try to work with the Angolan Government and help – in an effort to achieve the peace in the Great Lakes region. And I know that President Obama very much appreciates the fact that today President Dos Santos and Foreign Minister Chikoti both committed to continue to work with Senator Feingold and with our team in order to advance the peace process. I also commended Angola for their commitments in the Central African Republic where the United States has provided $100 million in security assistance to the French and the AU-led forces, and 67 million in humanitarian assistance. And today, President Dos Santos informed us that he intends to remain strongly committed to the Central African Republic initiative and that he will be having meetings shortly in furtherance of that effort. President Dos Santos and I also discussed the importance of bilateral trade and diversifying the Angolan economy. Angola’s economy has experienced, and continues to enjoy, a remarkable amount of economic growth. We talked today about specific ways in which the United States and Angola can grow the relationship and, in particular, we talked about increased possibilities of cooperation in agriculture, in technology, in energy diversity, and also in infrastructure. I want to say that we are very pleased to see that growth in the economy now means growth of opportunity for Angolans and more and more – more and more Angolans are participating in the progress that is taking place here and in the vital industries. Yesterday at the port here in Luanda, I had the opportunity to visit General Electric’s operations and also meet with energy company executives who informed me about the numbers of Angolans that they are hiring and training and providing new opportunities to, and we think that is a critical component of any relationship. The people of Angola must receive benefit. We also hope that more Angolans will be able to bring their talents to the use of their country through greater engagement with their government and in a more open and engaged civil society. I have learned that Angola will be conducting its first-ever national census since gaining independence. The collection of complete information and statistics about a population is a very important step in development and in providing services to citizens. So we wish the Angolan people well in carrying out this important task, and we also look forward to hosting African leaders in August in Washington at President Obama’s U.S. leadership summit. This meeting in Washington will provide one more opportunity for Angola and for its leaders to be able to share with us their successes, as well as to explore the ways in which we can build on our relationship. I was genuinely impressed by the common agenda that we talked about today and felt as if there is an opportunity for both of us to be able to grow this relationship, and we look forward to continuing our work. We set some specific homework for each of us to do, and we’re going to follow up on it. So I look forward to growing this partnership in a very constructive, productive way. Thank you. I’m happy to take a couple questions. MS. PSAKI: The first question is from Phil Stewart of Reuters. QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. South Sudan’s rebel leader Machar has said in an interview that he does not see the point of face-to-face talks at this point and that he didn’t think the transitional government could happen before elections. Have you tried to contact him again since your attempt Friday? Are we safe to assume these talks are not going to happen this week? And if he doesn’t go for face-to-face talks, will the U.S. now finally impose sanctions on him? Also, on Angola, did you manage to formalize any commitment from Angola to airlift troops to Central African Republic, if needed, or secure any additional security commitments from President Dos Santos? SECRETARY KERRY: I didn’t hear you. I’m sorry, but that part of the question got swallowed up. QUESTION: On Angola? Okay, did you manage to secure any additional security commitments from President Dos Santos? You spoke – talked about deepening your security dialogue, and did you manage to secure commitment from them to potentially airlift troops to Central African Republic, if needed, or formalize any of their previous — SECRETARY KERRY: Yeah. Well, let me – with respect to your question – with respect to Riek Machar, I saw the interview and he left the door open. He expressed some doubts, but he didn’t say he wouldn’t go. And I talked to Prime Minister Hailemariam — Hailemariam – who made it clear to me that Mr. Machar made a commitment to him that he would come. And he – the Ethiopians will be in touch with him. They said to me they will make the arrangements. In my conversation he expressed some concerns about the logistics, but his wife is in Ethiopia and we are convinced that that is the only way forward. So he has a fundamental decision to make. If he decides not to or procrastinates, then we have a number of different options that are available to us. We said we are serious. There will be accountability and implications if people do not join into this legitimate effort. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and I had a conversation yesterday. He will be going to Juba tomorrow, and we talked about the process going ahead. And let me make it clear that if there is a total refusal by one party or the other to engage in a legitimate promise which they have previously promised they would engage in, not only might sanctions be engaged, but there are other serious implications and possible consequences. So – The parties need to recognize that they signed a cessation of hostilities agreement – both of them. And the international community is prepared to take steps to see that that is honored by putting additional forces in. I talked with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon about the UN process with respect to that, and he is committed to see to it that we live up to our part of this bargain. So we encourage both leaders to take advantage of this moment to try to make peace with their people, and we’ve made it very clear that there are other choices available to the international community if they do not. With respect to President Dos Santos’s commitments to the Central African Republic, the answer is yes, he is absolutely committed to further engagement. He will be directly engaged with the leaders in the region and providing additional assistance, as will we. And we agreed that the United States effort is already providing lift and assistance to the French in addition to resources, and I think that Angola’s prepared not only to do the same but to take a leadership role in convening leaders in order to try to diminish the level of violence and protect the civilian population. We did talk about that. MS. PSAKI: The next question is from Mateus Gaspar. SECRETARY KERRY: Let me – I didn’t (inaudible). MS. PSAKI: Oh. QUESTION: So (inaudible), what are the other possible consequences? SECRETARY KERRY: Well, you know there are. They’ve been talked about. There’s accountability in the international community for atrocities. There are sanctions. There are possibilities of peacemaking forces. There are any number of possibilities. MS. PSAKI: The next question is from Mateus Gasper from TPA TV. QUESTION: (In Portuguese.) SECRETARY KERRY: Can you hear? You got – a bit closer? PARTICIPANT: Do you have a mike? SECRETARY KERRY: He has a mike, yes. QUESTION: (Via interpreter) The United States and Angola have had diplomatic relations since 1973. They’ve had a strategic agreement since 2009. But really, very little has been done. There have been very few developments. What is the United States’s reason and where do you envision that this relationship will grow and get stronger, and in what areas? SECRETARY KERRY: Well, thank you very much. You are correct that there was a strategic dialogue agreement signed. And there has not been enough ability to follow up, and some meetings that were supposed to have taken place unfortunately got delayed. That’s why I’m here. I came here specifically because we have a desire to make sure that we build on that dialogue. And I can guarantee that today we laid out a schedule that over the next few months will wind up with our meeting probably in Washington, somewhere maybe even around the President’s summit. We will have our first meeting in order to follow up. We’ve agreed to set a specific timetable and a specific agenda. And that agenda will include a broad array of ways in which we work together. We currently do many – let me let him translate. We have agreed today that we will continue to work together closely with Senator Feingold and the International Conference on the Great Lakes. We agreed that we will work on the Central African Republic and we will work on other security issues in the region. We agreed we will have an energy dialogue and we will have further discussion about the bilateral business economic relationship, including infrastructure, agriculture, oil and gas, energy, energy diversity. We agreed we will continue to do the work we do now with respect to health in Angola, work on malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS. And we will continue to be engaged in the health sector, and we particularly are excited about the possibilities of working on technology. We agreed to have a specific energy dialogue and we agreed that we will share the agenda with each other in the next days in preparations for the next round of meetings. Thank you. MS. PSAKI: Thank you. SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you all very much. Source: APO

May 062014

WASHINGTON, May 5, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Remarks

John Kerry

Secretary of State

Ministry of Finance

Luanda, Angola

May 5, 2014


FOREIGN MINISTER CHIKOTI: (Via interpreter) Good morning. I had an opportunity to most recently meet with Secretary of State Kerry where we discussed –

SECRETARY KERRY: You want to press the mike up —

FOREIGN MINISTER CHIKOTI: — (Via interpreter) where we discussed our bilateral relations and their growth and their positive growth. We touched on things – not only petroleum, but other credits, such as the recent $600 million credit given by the Ex-Im Bank so that we could buy more Boeing planes. And we look forward to greater economic relations and other in the near future.

We also discussed quite simply political stability on the African continent, and we had occasion to thank the United States for its initiatives in the southern Sudan and the DRC, where we’re also active, and in other conflicts throughout the region where President Dos Santos and the Government of Angola are continuing our efforts in this regard.

We also had occasion to discuss the August 1st summit of African leaders to be held in Washington with over 40 African leaders to be present and discussed some of the items that will be featured on the agenda there.

We also – the talks held took place in a very positive and friendly and cooperative environment. We discussed our future plans and our future relationship would be more frequent amongst ourselves – at least once a year and more often than that at the lower levels.

Thank you.

SECRETARY KERRY: Muito obrigado. Thank you very much. Thank you. Well, I agree with the summary that the foreign minister gave. I want to thank Foreign Minister Chikoti for his very generous welcome, and I appreciate the extremely comprehensive and very productive discussion that we just had.

We opened up enough topics and found agreement on a number of them that we really felt that it was important to continue this discussion, that there is a great deal that we can work on together – not just on the economics but on security in the region, on development and regional issues. And I am very grateful, as is President Obama, for the significant leadership of President Dos Santos and of the Foreign Minister on the efforts of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region. That leadership is making a difference in helping to bring about stability and peace.

And the greatest restraint on transformation and opportunity for people and for growth and development in many places is the instability. So the contributions of Angola and our efforts to try to work together on a strategic dialogue will be very important and we look forward to continuing that.

Finally, let me just say that we’re very pleased that the Commerce Department will be opening a commercial service office here in the near term, and we in the State Department will continue to be very supportive of the economic relationship. Yesterday, I had a chance to visit the port to see General Electric and some of the efforts of our energy companies. That’s important. But as I said to the foreign minister, the United States does not want its relationship with Angola defined simply by an economic relationship.

So we look forward to welcoming President Dos Santos to Washington for our African leader’s summit, and I look forward to continuing this strategic dialogue with my counterpart, with the foreign minister, and I am absolutely confident that the relationship between the United States and Angola will become one of the most important on the continent and will be extremely productive based on the conversation we’ve had this morning.

Thank you. (Applause.)

Source: APO

May 062014

WASHINGTON, May 5, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Remarks

John Kerry

Secretary of State

Luanda, Angola

May 4, 2014

Well, Jay Ireland, thank you very much for a generous welcome here to General Electric in Luanda in the center of this extraordinary economic activity. I’m very excited to be here. I’m sorry that my wife is not here, because she was born in Mozambique and speaks – her first language is Portuguese. (Applause.) So I hear it around the house all the time – muito obrigadoand all that stuff. (Laughter.)

But it’s a privilege for me to be able to be here, and I want to thank Foreign Minister Chikoti for his welcome and for the opportunity to be able to meet the president tomorrow and have a good conversation about the bilateral relationship between the United States and Angola. I am particularly pleased to be here with other representatives of the oil and gas industry, a representative from Chevron, from ConocoPhilips, as well as from ExxonMobil – Esso, as you call it here. And I’m very grateful that the representative from the U.S.-Angola Chamber of Commerce is here, too.

As you’ve heard in the earlier introductions, I’m here with former United States Senator Russ Feingold, who is our – President Obama’s and my special envoy to the Great Lakes region and who is working to produce greater stability and peace in the region. President dos Santos and Angola have provided important leadership, and I want to thank you, Angola, for the leadership an the participation and the help to solve conflicts that have gone on for too long.

But as I mentioned a moment ago, we’re standing in a place of enormous economic activity with great promise for future economic growth and development. I am accompanied on this trip by the president and CEO of the EximBank[1], Elizabeth Littlefield, because the EximBank[2] is very much a partner with General Electric and very involved in helping to support economic development here in Angola and in other parts of Africa.

In fact, though EximBank[2] we have just provided a $600 million, just about a $600 million loan guarantee that will assist in the purchase of a Boeing 777 for Angola. This will grow the opportunity of, obviously, more ability to have business and more ability to have trade, and also for people to simply come to be able to engage in some of the exciting things that are happening in Angola. In addition, Exim[2] is providing another $300 million or so of additional economic investment here in Angola.

So let me just say quickly why being here is important today. Africa is changing. Eight of the ten fastest-growing economies in the world are here in Africa. There is enormous opportunity for the people of Africa, the people of Angola, to be able to gain in healthcare, in education, in jobs, in the quality of life. And I know the government is very focused on how to provide for increased standard of living for the people of the country. That comes from fair and reasonable trade agreements where everybody benefits, where there’s an ability to create jobs. When a Boeing airliner is bought from Boeing, it creates jobs in America, but it will also create jobs and opportunity here in Angola.

General Electric has recently sold four power turbines to Angola. This is for a project in Soyo. And this will help provide the power that then generates the ability for hospitals, for schools, for homes, for cities, for stores to be able to grow and prosper. So we believe there are great opportunities on which we can build where, most importantly, Angolans will benefit.

I just spoke with the representative for ConocoPhillips, who tells me and the representative for Chevron – who tell me about the several thousands of employees. ConocoPhilipps is newer here, but Chevron has about 3,500 workers employed. So more and more Angolans are being trained to take on more and more different kinds of important jobs.

The first lady of Angola was in Los Angeles a number of years ago, and she was talking with the executives there about a disease here in Angola. A lot of people thought you couldn’t do anything about it. But Chevron, which had been working here for many years, stepped up and they talked with the Texas Children’s Hospital and they got care to be able to come her to help cure this disease for children. More than 3,000 children’s lives have been saved

So this is not just about business. This is about building a relationship between two people, two countries, and building a future. And when I look out at the economic energy out here in the port in all these containers and these ships and the work that you’re doing, I am confident that Angola, working together as you are now, will be able to help contribute to an extraordinary journey in Africa as a whole, and we will provide greater opportunity to everybody.

Thank you for the privilege. Muito obrigado. (Applause.)

[1] Elizabeth Littlefield is the president and CEO of OPIC.

[2] OPIC

Source: APO

Jun 202013

ROME, Italy, June 20, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Angola announced it will give $10 million to the new Africa Solidarity Trust Fund administered by FAO, to be invested in promoting food security in Africa.


The announcement, made by Afonso Pedro Canga, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of Angola, came at the official launch of the fund at a side event during the 38th FAO Conference, the Organization’s highest governing body.


In announcing the contribution, Canga congratulated FAO for this initiative and said that the donation was a demonstration of solidarity from Angola and the fulfilment of a commitment made by President Eduardo dos Santos during an official visit by FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva in January.


The fund became a reality in February with a first donation of $30 million by Equatorial Guinea.


Speaking at the official launch of the fund in FAO, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, President of Equatorial Guinea, said “Africa is a continent abounding with agricultural potential, including forests, land – 60 percent of which is not farmed – water, a young population.


“There are sufficient conditions for producing enough food for the people of Africa … yet we are a net importer of food,” he said. “We all have to do what has to be done to turn this trend around.”


Cameroon, as well as civil society organizations from the Republic of Congo, have also contributed to the Africa Solidarity Trust Fund.


FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva thanked Equatorial Guinea and Angola for their donations. He said they showed that African countries were ready to take on a bigger role in promoting food security not only in their own countries but in the region as a whole.


“There is greater solidarity and a clear understanding that, in a globalized world, it is not possible to achieve food security in only one country. I believe that we can all sense a growing political commitment to eradicate hunger, and the desire to transform this commitment into concrete action,” he said.


The Director-General stressed that FAO’s role was to support national and regional efforts in the fight against hunger. This was the spirit, he added, that led FAO to join forces with the African Union, the Lula Institute and other partners to organize a high-level meeting on food security in Addis Ababa on 30 June and 1 July, calling on all to participate.


Fund background


The idea of the fund was launched during FAO’s 2012 Regional Conference for Africa held in the Republic of Congo, when the host, President Denis Sassou Nguesso, called for greater solidarity between African nations to fight hunger.


Administered by FAO, the fund will support Africa-led, Africa-owned initiatives in the framework of the African Union’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) to boost agricultural productivity and food security in the region.

Source: APO

May 232013

ANGOLA: From Theory to Practice / It’s Time to Guarantee the Capacity of Human Rights Defenders to Act / Preliminary findings of a fact-finding mission on the situation of human rights defenders

PARIS, France, May 23, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), carried out a fact-finding mission in Angola, from April 21 to May 1, 2013, to analyse the context in which human rights defenders are operating in the country. The mission delegation met with, amongst others, members of human rights NGOs, journalists, lawyers, artists, along with representatives of national authorities, political parties and foreign diplomatic missions. The first-hand testimonies gathered during the mission and the analysis thereof reveal an environment marked by the persistence of hindrances to the ability of human rights defenders to carry out their activities freely, despite an avowed commitment from the Angolan authorities to strengthen dialogue and cooperation with civil society on human rights issues.


10 years after the end of a 30-year long war which claimed one million lives and left one-third of the population displaced, while Angola is benefiting from a fruitful oil exploitation and growing political influence on the regional and international scenes and despite the recent adoption of legal and institutional reforms to guarantee respect of fundamental rights and freedoms, multiple human rights challenges are yet to be addressed to laying the foundations of democracy and the rule of law in the country. In a socio-political context still marked by the prevalence of widespread poverty, endemic corruption and marginalisation of the opposition, Angolan human rights defenders are facing different kinds of obstacles preventing them from monitoring, documenting and denouncing human rights abuses in a satisfactory manner.


The mission gathered numerous testimonies from human rights defenders, including journalists who are systematically subjected to judicial and administrative harassment, threats and various forms of restrictions to their freedom of association, expression and/or assembly, in particular when they raise “sensitive” concerns on issues such as governance, access to justice, corruption, forced evictions, exploitation of natural resources or the situation in the Cabinda province. The mission delegation also collected information on the evolution of and difficulties faced by the youth movement that emerged in early 2011, calling for the end of a political system based on patronage, inequalities and lack of transparency. Structural impediments to the work of human rights defenders were also raised during the mission. The NGO registration process remains complex, costly and opaque and the NGO sector is crippled by a lack of human resources and financial sustainability.


Furthermore, according to the information collected during the mission, the judiciary is perceived as an institution subservient to political direction, influence and pressure, that does not effectively play its critical role in the defence, protection and enforcement of fundamental rights and freedoms. This bodes ill for the proper and effective operation of human rights defenders.


“Angola is facing tremendous human rights challenges which require the involvement of all relevant actors. Human rights activists have a key role to play in the process to strengthen democracy and the rule of law. Yet, despite the declared willingness of Angolan authorities to abide by their national and international human rights commitments, information collected during our mission depicts an environment marked by a persistent distrust of dissenting voices, a context we consider to be detrimental to the building up of a strong and sustainable civil society ”, declared Justice Thomas Masuku, who headed the mission delegation.


The Observatory will soon release a full mission report on the situation on human rights defenders in Angola with specific recommendations to the authorities, aimed at guaranteeing the rights of human rights defenders in the country.

Source: APO

May 162013

ROME, Italy, May 16, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Italy goes to work in Angola to fight infectious bovine diseases: The ‘G.Caporale’ Istituto zooprofilattico of Teramo is starting up an ambitious programme for the treatment of sick cattle and improvement of slaughtering conditions. The main goal is to weaken the bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP) that seems to be infecting the Angolan provinces of Huila, Cunene and Namibe and much of southern Africa.

Source: APO

May 142013

GENEVA, Switzerland, May 14, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IOM is working with the authorities and humanitarian partners in the Democratic Republic of Congo to assess the situation of some 39,500 irregular Congolese migrants who have voluntarily returned home from Angola in the past six weeks ahead of a threatened May 15th expulsion deadline.


The returnees, who include over 8,400 women and children, are now concentrated near a border crossing in Kamako, in the DRC’s Kasai Occidental province bordering Angola. The influx has stretched services in the area to the limit and the lack of temporary shelter has forced returnees to seek refuge in schools, churches and other community spaces. Only 17 basic health facilities have been identified in the surrounding area.


IOM is currently working with the DRC’s National Working Group on Expelled Angolans to conduct an assessment, in coordination with Provincial Inter-Agency Committee (CPIA) in Kananga, to determine the number of returnees, their vulnerability and that of host communities, to assess local capacity and to identify priority areas of intervention.


It also plans to use its displacement tracking capacity to track the movements of the group, identify evolving needs, particularly of the most vulnerable, and provide targeted humanitarian assistance.


IOM Angola, which has experience of multi-sectoral needs assessments, will also expand its presence at relevant sub-offices along the Angola-DRC border and coordinate with IOM DRC.


The returns were triggered by an agreement between the Governors of Kasai Occidental in the DRC and Luanda Norte province in Angola to facilitate the voluntary return of irregular Congolese migrants living in Angola.


The Angolan authorities subsequently announced a May 15th deadline for voluntary returns, after which they reserved the right to expel remaining irregular Congolese migrants.


IOM is currently working with the DRC, a country bordering nine other states, to strengthen its integrated border management system. This capacity building includes incorporating humanitarian principles into border management – an approach designed to cope with this type of emergency.

Source: APO

Suggested Book

Apr 192013

GENEVA, Switzerland, April 19, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay will conduct her first ever mission to Angola from 22 to 24 April 2013, at the invitation of the Government.


During her three-day mission, Pillay will meet with meet President Eduardo dos Santos, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Justice and Human Rights, Interior, Women and Family Protection and the Attorney General. The High Commissioner will also meet with Angola’s Ombudsman and the President of the Constitutional Court, as well as with members of civil society and the diplomatic corps.


The High Commissioner will undertake a number of field visits, including one to the Lunda Norte region, near Angola’s border with the Democratic Republic of Congo to meet with local communities and migrants.


At the end of her visit, on Wednesday 24 April, the High Commissioner will hold a press conference at the Hotel Epic Sana in Luanda from 16:00-17:00.


Source: APO

Mar 022013

An Angolan masterpiece of comedy

It’s quite rare to find an Angolan book translated into English, but this novel by Angolan author Ondjaki is a comedy that deserves a greater readership. The Whistler by Ondjaki,  Translator: Richard Bartlett, 2008, ISBN: 9780955233975

A stranger wafts into a village with no name and sets to whistling as he wanders idly through the church, hypnotising the doves in the rafters and bringing the priest to tears with his haunting tune. Thus begins a week of whispers and gossip that culminates in a Sunday Mass celebrated with orgasmic fervour as the whistler’s enchanting tune bewitches the frustrated faithful. Spellbinding, irreverent and hilarious, Ondjaki’s comic masterpiece from Angola, The Whistler, is a triumph of joy over adversity in a country ravaged by sorrow. The Whistler offers a vision of hope and humanity to a people suffering the painful after-effects of the civil war that traumatised the author’s homeland.  The Whistler is a fresh and charming tale by one of Africa’s most promising writers in the Portuguese language. — It makes a valuable and original contribution to contemporary fiction in Africa as a whole. — This book will be of value in to those teaching or studying contemporary southern African and Lusophone literature and Angolan history and society. — As a product of Angola, a country riven by civil war and its after-effects for the past 30 years, a novel of such laughter and unmitigated hope comes as a welcome shock. African Review of Books

About the author

Ondjaki (1977-) Born in Luanda, he is a versatile young talent who has also exhibited paintings and given public performances as an actor. He has published one other novel, the autobiographical Bom dia camaradas (2003 and forthcoming in English), as well as a number of poetry and short story collections, and a children’s book.

Richard Bartlett (translator) He is a South African journalist, translator and publisher.

How to get a copy

Other book by the author

Feb 142013

LONDON, United-Kingdom, February 14, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Angola must not send to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) nine detainees held on charges in connection with allegedly attempting to destabilise the government there, since there is a real risk they would face torture and other ill-treatment, and possibly the death penalty if sent to the DRC.


Angola must also investigate allegations that the detainees have been tortured while held in incommunicado detention.


The men, at least seven of whom are originally from the DRC, were arrested in the Angolan province of Cabinda on 22 November 2012. They were initially held incommicado in military barracks. Their families were not told where they were and they did not have access to a lawyer until 22 December.


Amnesty International also received information that while they were held in the military barracks, the detainees were beaten with firearms, kicked with military boots, slapped and punched. None of the men received any medical care for the injuries sustained as a result of this torture.


“There seem to be major and alarming irregularities in the process used by the Angolan authorities to detain and charge these men. These men must not be sent to face the risk of torture or execution in DRC,” said Noel Kututwa, Amnesty International’s southern Africa director.


“Moreover these allegations of torture must be investigated and, if they are substantiated, the perpetrators must be brought to justice.”


Amnesty International fears that at least some of these individuals may be sent to the DRC where there is a real risk that they will face further torture or other ill-treatment or the death penalty. Angola has abolished the death penalty for all crimes.


Such a measure would violate international human rights law which absolutely prohibits torture and other ill-treatment. The prohibition applies to all states irrespective of their specific treaty obligations. It also prohibits states from sending any person against their will to another country where there is a real risk that they will be subjected to torture or other ill-treatment.


Angola’s constitution prohibits the extradition of foreign citizens for political motives, for charges punishable by the death penalty or in cases where it is recognised that extradition may lead to the torture, inhumane or cruel treatment of the individual concerned.


While the DRC has not carried out executions in recent years, it retains the death penalty, including for crimes against state security.


Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception regardless of the nature of the crime, the characteristics of the offender, or the method used by the state to kill the prisoner.


“We appeal to the DRC authorities to join the worldwide trend towards abolishing the death penalty,” said Kututwa.


Source: APO

Jan 302013

LUANDA, Angola, January 30, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — A staff team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), led by Mr. Mauro Mecagni, visited Luanda from January 16 to January 29, 2013, to conduct the Second Post-Program Monitoring mission following the completion of the Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) with Angola. During its stay, the IMF staff team met with Ministers and senior government officials, members of the National Assembly, and representatives of the banking and business communities. The SBA was approved in November 2009 in an amount equivalent to SDR 858.99 million (then about US$1.4 billion), and the sixth and final review was completed in March 2012 (see Press Release No. 12/109).

At the end of the mission, Mr. Mecagni issued the following statement:

“The IMF staff team very held productive discussions with the Angolan authorities, focusing on macroeconomic developments in 2012, the budget proposal and outlook for 2013, the government’s medium-term development plans, and related policy challenges. The Executive Board discussion is expected to take place in March 2013.

“In 2012 Angola attained robust economic growth, a stronger fiscal position, single digit inflation, a further build-up of international reserves, and a stable exchange rate. Against this backdrop, the authorities moved forward with a program of institutional reforms, strengthening some key areas in fiscal, monetary and financial management.

“Macroeconomic performance in 2012 was bolstered by a recovery in oil production and a continuation of robust non-oil sector growth. Overall real gross domestic product (GDP) growth is estimated to have accelerated to over 8 percent. Inflation declined to 9 percent by year-end, below the authorities’ target, reaching single digits for the first time in a decade. Strong oil revenue propelled the overall fiscal balance to a surplus of 8.5 percent GDP. International reserves continued to rise, to the equivalent of 7.3 months of 2013 imports at end-December.

“Macroeconomic prospects for 2013 are favorable despite a still uncertain global environment. International prices for Angolan oil are projected to remain high and oil production to grow by about 4 percent, to over 1.8 million barrels per day. Non-oil sector growth, bolstered by a scaling-up of the public sector investment program aimed at completing reconstruction and addressing key infrastructure gaps, is expected to exceed 7 percent in 2013. International reserves are expected to rise at a more modest pace and inflation to remain in single digits.

“The 2013 budget proposal represents an important step toward achieving “universal and unified” fiscal accounts in Angola. For the first time, the draft budget incorporates all quasi-fiscal operations previously undertaken by the state oil company. It also reflects the impact of measures to rein in the fiscal burden of concessionaire operations. These are important fiscal reforms.

“The draft budget implies a sizeable increase in public spending and a shift to a moderate overall deficit. As a result, the non-oil primary deficit is projected to increase significantly. The authorities will need to carefully monitor the impact on inflation and the balance of payments. It will also be critical to ensure a timely and complete transfer of oil revenue from the state oil company to the Treasury. In this context, the process of reconciling current oil revenue flows is continuing, as are the authorities’ efforts to fully explain the large cumulative residual in the 2007–2010 fiscal accounts.

“The authorities’ strategic objective of economic diversification requires effective programs to close the infrastructure gap, develop human capital, and lower the cost of doing business in Angola. In pursuing this important objective, the authorities will have to balance spending priorities and sequence implementation to ensure a strong payoff to economic growth while preserving macroeconomic stability. Diversifying financing sources and instruments is also advisable, in particular through the development of a local currency bond market and the adoption of best practices for first-time bond issuers in international markets in terms of transparency and disclosure of information to potential creditors.

“The new foreign exchange law for oil companies is being implemented. The volume and size of oil sector-related transactions going through the domestic banking system will increase significantly, providing an impetus for financial market development. It will be important to ensure high standards of efficiency in the payments system, including for international transactions. Developments will need to be monitored carefully, through the implementation of measures undertaken to strengthen banking supervision.

“The IMF team takes this opportunity to thank the Angolan authorities for the substantive discussions and excellent cooperation received during the mission.”

Source: APO