Last updated in November 2012
Political relations between Germany and Angola are good and have broadened and intensified, especially in recent years.
Federal Chancellor Merkel visited Angola in July 2011, the first German head of government to do so. Besides holding official talks, she also met with artists and human rights activists, was briefed on Luanda’s development at the Fortress of São Miguel and turned the first sod at the ground-breaking ceremony for an airport catering hall, a project in which the Germany company LSG is involved. Following Federal Chancellor Merkel’s visit, on 18 July 2011 the German Ambassador and Angola’s Secretary of State for Cooperation signed in Luanda a joint declaration of intent between the government of the Federal Republic of Germany and the government of the Republic of Angola to intensify bilateral dialogue by establishing a German-Angolan Partnership. The German-Angolan Binational Commission was set up at the Federal Foreign Office on 15 February 2012. The constituent meeting was presided over by State Secretary at the Federal Foreign Office Haber and her Angolan counterpart Augusto with the participation of numerous other ministries. It was decided to set up working groups on foreign and security policy, the economy and energy.
Federal Chancellor Merkel’s visit to Angola reciprocated the February 2009 visit to Germany by President dos Santos. During this visit, a cultural and education agreement and a joint declaration of intent to strengthen economic cooperation had been signed at the Second German-Angolan Economic Forum. Prior to this, in December 2007, then Federal Economics Minister Glos and then Angolan Finance Minister de Morais had signed a declaration of intention to further intensify economic and technological cooperation.
There are currently no German foundations with a presence in Angola. Both the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation organize events in Angola from their respective headquarters in Windhoek.
Economic relations between Germany and Angola are gaining momentum. The volume of German exports grew after the end of the civil war in 2002, from EUR 56 million to EUR 384 million in 2008, but has declined again since the 2009 financial crisis, to EUR 250.3 million in 2011. Germany’s annual imports from Angola vary depending on the amount of petroleum imported. They were worth nearly EUR 228 million in 2010 and EUR 883.5 million in 2011. Based on figures for the first six months of 2012, they are likely to have declined again. While German imports from Angola consist almost exclusively of crude oil, natural gas and petroleum products, motor vehicles, machinery and technological products account for around three-quarters of German exports to Angola. Within a short period, Angola has become Germany’s third most important trading partner in sub-Saharan Africa (after South Africa and Nigeria).
German companies are showing a steadily growing interest in helping rebuild Angola’s infrastructure. In 2010, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology Pfaffenbach opened a Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Luanda, with a seconded head, as the forerunner of a future bilateral Chamber of Industry and Commerce. A German-Angolan Business Initiative (DAWI) was set up as early as 2007.
Evidence of the new quality of bilateral economic relations was provided by the Fourth German-Angolan Economic Forum, which was held in Munich on 16 and 17 June 2011 and attended by Angolan Economy Minister Gourgel. The Fifth German-Angolan Economic Forum is to be held in Angola in spring 2013 and will be organized by the German-African Business Association.
The investment protection and promotion agreement that came into force in 2007 and Lufthansa’s establishment of a second direct flight to Luanda in June 2009 are further milestones in economic relations between the two countries.
Since 1999, Germany has been a regular exhibitor at the international industry and trade fair FILDA in Luanda, a regular annual fixture in the local business calendar. In 2011, the German stand (featuring 15 exhibitors) won the Golden Lion Award for the Best Foreign Participation for the second time running.
Angola is a partner country of German development cooperation until the end of 2012. From 2013 onwards, bilateral programmes will be converted into thematic and regional programmes. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) has been conducting a vocational training project in the construction sector since 2010. The Chamber of Industry and Commerce Munich and the Angolan Industrial Association are engaged in a joint project to promote partnership between the two organizations.
Since 1992, three Technical Cooperation projects in development-oriented emergency aid have been implemented. Two of these were incorporated in the integrated programme on local development and reintegration in 2003. From 2007 to 2009, former soldiers received training at a gamekeepers’ school – established and equipped with project funding – for deployment in nature reserves under a post-conflict programme.
More than 2,000 Angolans studied in the German Democratic Republic or were trained there as experts. This group, which includes some current and past government ministers, has a continuing affinity with Germany and the German language. Other Angolans moved to the western part of Germany after reunification, some of them remaining there for around 20 years. Numerous returnees to Angola have an excellent command of German and also possess dual nationality.
The German-Angolan cultural and education agreement entered into force on 8 August 2012. It had been signed back in February 2009 during an official visit to Germany by Angolan President dos Santos, making it possible to open a Goethe Institute in Angola and paving the way for a systematic cultural programme and language work for interested Angolans. Following ratification of the agreement by Angola, the Goethe Institute has been able to place its work on a formal basis and can now function as an independent cultural institute.