Honorable Minister of Economy Abraão Gourgel
Other Distinguished Members of the Government of Angola,
I would like to begin by thanking Jeannine Scott and her team at the U.S.-Angola Chamber of Commerce for hosting us all this morning. I am delighted to be here at such an important moment in the relationship between the people of the United States and the people of the Republic of Angola.
Angola has a special place in my heart. As some of you may know, I spent some of my childhood in Lobito and Luanda while my father worked for Texaco.
É uma satisfação estar de novo em Angola neste momento extraordinário da história de Angola, e num momento importante no relacionamento entre os povos dos Estados Unidos e da República de Angola. Caros amigos Mwangolês [Mwon-goal-esh: Angolans], é bwé fixe [bway feesh: very good] voltar a sentir Angola.
I recently returned to Angola and the short period that I have been there I have seen firsthand the opportunities awaiting American businessmen and women willing to invest in Angola’s expanding economy.
We have witnessed over the past several months some extraordinary growth in the partnership between the United States and Angola. Angola is the United States’ third largest trading partner in Africa and the United States is Angola’s second largest trading partner globally. And there is room to grow.
Vice President Manuel Vicente stated on Monday when he met with Secretary of State John Kerry that the Angolan government would like to see the United States involved in more sectors as Angola implements its national development plan. So would we. As I have stated before, the United States would like to be Angola’s partner of choice in the diversification of its economy. Yet a key aspect of any partnership between countries is the relationship shared between businesses in the private sector. That requires businessmen and women of vision on both sides of the Atlantic who can see the opportunities and will work together to achieve lasting and sustainable partnerships.
The relationship between our two countries is a relationship that will grow. At the same time, it takes work, as we all know, to build any relationship. I want to recognize the contributions of the U.S. Angola Chamber of Commerce, its members, and its Executive Directors in both Angola and the U.S., Mr. Pedro Godinho and Ms. Maria da Cruz Gabriel. Thank you all for your role in helping our two countries take advantage of the opportunities for trade and investment, and ultimately, the opportunities to improve the lives of the citizens of both our great nations.
It is now my pleasure to introduce a man who has worked hard at rebuilding Angola. He has been tasked since October 2010 by President Jose Eduardo dos Santos to formulate and implement measures to stimulate economic growth and diversify the economy in Angola. Prior to assuming his current responsibilities, he served briefly as the Governor of the National Bank of Angola. Before that he served ten years as the Vice-Minister of Industry after having spent five years as the Director of Planning and Studies in the same ministry. In 1986 he received his degree in economics from Bruno Leuschner University in Berlin. Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome, the Angolan Minister of Economy, Abraão Pio dos Santos Gourgel.