Your Excellency Vice-President Manuel Vicente,
Minister of Finance Armando Manuel,
Honorable members of the Government of Angola,
Presidents of the Agência Nacional Para o Investimento Privado and the Export-Import Bank of the United States
Fellow Ambassadors, Business Leaders, Distinguished Guests,
It is a pleasure to be here with you all as the U.S. Angola Chamber of Commerce and the Angolan Embassy host this excellent lunch. Yet even more, it is a pleasure to be here with you in Washington on this historic occasion, an opportunity to discuss ways of stimulating growth and unlocking opportunities.
As Secretary Kerry remarked during his visit to Angola in May this year, Angola is a place of enormous economic activity, with great promise for future economic growth and development. Of particular focus, is the diversification of the Angolan economy, a theme recognized in Angola’s own National Development Plan. The memorandum of understanding signed today between the Export-Import Bank of the United States and the Government of the Republic of Angola recognizes the common interests shared by our two great nations in expanding the trade of goods and services. Angola and the United States have long shared close economic ties. This new agreement reflects the will to strengthen and, more importantly, to diversify those ties.
The Ex-Im Bank has already provided loan guarantees for trade between the U.S. and Angola, the most visible result of which is the Boeing 777 currently flying over Angolan skies—and more planes are to follow. With today’s signing, the Ex-Im Bank and Angolan Ministry of Finance agree to explore options together for taking advantage of up to one billion U.S. dollars in Ex-Im Bank medium- and long-term guaranteed and direct dollar loans that will finance U.S. exports to Angola.
Much effort on the part of the Embassy was put into seeing this ceremony realized. And I want to thank the hard work of our team. Without them, we would not be here today. They are assisting U.S. companies gain a deeper understanding of the Angolan market, its opportunities as well as the local realities. In addition, the new Foreign Commercial Service office at the U.S. Embassy in Luanda will provide a key service to both Angolan and U.S. companies in building upon the partnership that already exists and in establishing new areas of cooperation.
As Angola grows, so too do its requirements for quality infrastructural development. U.S. companies are already stepping up to meet those requirements. Whether it is in the sectors of energy, infrastructure, transportation, agriculture, water and sanitation, or telecommunications, opportunities exist to partner together in ways that will benefit both Angolans and Americans.
Sustainable trade is mutually beneficial. We are partners. When a U.S. product is bought, it creates jobs in America, but it will also create jobs and opportunities in Angola. Earlier this year, General Electric sold four power turbines to Angola to be installed in Soyo in northern Angola. These turbines will generate the power that allows hospitals, schools, homes, cities, and stores to be able to grow and prosper. There are great opportunities on which to build. Together we can achieve the goals of economic growth that will benefit our two countries. The development of jobs, the diversification of business relationships, and the creation of sustainable economic trade are all common interests that we share.
To conclude, the U.S. wants to be the partner of choice for Angolan businesses. American companies have worked cooperatively with Angola for decades, and the time has come to step up our economic and trade cooperation. As the U.S. Ambassador to Angola, it is my pleasure to see the signing of this memorandum—a clear sign of the desire of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos and his government to see more cooperation take place between our economies. Together, as President Obama has stated, we can work to build the future we want for all of our children.