- China's Vice Premier Zeng Peiyang signed a total of nine cooperation agreements with Angola during his recent visit to the country. The agreements primarily include development of Angola's oil and gas riches, but also cover general infrastructure development and financial aid.
Angola is already China's second largest trading partner in Africa. In 2004, bilateral trade totalled US$ 4.9 billion, representing more than a 113 percent increase from 2003. Vice Premier Peiyang's visit to Luanda last week therefore was of significance. China is also desperately looking for more secure oil deliveries and Angola is sub-Saharan Africa's second largest oil producer.
Most of the Chinese-Angolan cooperation agreements signed last week therefore were related to the energy sector. The Beijing and Luanda governments signed a general agreement on cooperation in the oil and gas sector and cooperation in the mineral resources sector - seeing Angola as an exporter and China as an importer.
In addition to be a major energy import market, China is also one of the world's main technology centres. One of the agreements therefore foresees a cooperation agreement between the Angolan Ministries of Petroleum and Geology and Mining and China's National Commission for Development and Reform, focusing on technical aid.
Three concrete oil agreements were also signed. Sonagol, Angola's state oil company, agreed on a long term supply of oil to China's Sinopec oil company. Further, Sonangol and Sinopec are to jointly evaluate Angola's offshore Block 3. Finally, China and Angola will jointly study plans for a new oil refinery in Angola.
The two governments also agreed on a deepened cooperation on infrastructure development in Angola. Again, this is a sector where China has much technical knowledge and Chinese engineers are currently serving the governments of a large number of developing countries in large-scale infrastructure projects.
The Chinese Vice Premier also agreed to provide Angola with more development aid funds. An agreement was signed regarding an economic and technical assistance package, through which China will provide Angola with approximately US$ 6.3 million in interest free loans, according to the Angolan government.
Finally, Vice Premier Peiyang was a door-opener for China's private sector to enter in Angola's booming telecom market. A US$ 69 million agreement between Angola's MundoStartel and China's ZTE Corporation to develop telephone networks in Angola was also signed last week.
In related news Angola's Council of Ministers also approved ZTE's broader operations in the country. ZTE will invest US$ 400 million in Angola, US$ 300 million of which will be used to modernise and expand Angola Telecom's fixed line network.
Another approximately US$ 100 million is to be invested in military communications, the development of a mobile telephone factory and the creation of a telecommunications training institute for Angolan employees, according to information from the Angolan government.
China traditionally has maintained good relations with the former Marxist government of Angola. With Angola's opening up to the West - following the fall of South Africa's apartheid regime - American oil companies however have taken the lead in investing in Angola's oil sector. China however remains an important trade partner for Angola.
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