Last updated in October 2014
Political relations between Germany and Angola are good and have intensified 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 direct investment involving the German company LSG Sky Chefs, a Lufthansa subsidiary.
In July 2011, following Federal Chancellor Merkel’s visit, 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 comprehensive political partnership was signed in Luanda.
The founding meeting of the Binational Commission provided for in the declaration was held at the Federal Foreign Office in February 2012 and was presided over by State Secretary at the Federal Foreign Office Haber and her Angolan counterpart Augusto. The Binational Commission has working groups on foreign and security policy as well as on economic and energy policy. The second meeting of the commission is scheduled for February/March 2015 in Luanda.
Angolan President dos Santos paid a visit to Germany back in February 2009. On this occasion, a cultural and education agreement and a joint declaration of intent to strengthen economic cooperation was signed at the Second German-Angolan Economic Forum. The visit to Angola by Federal Foreign Minister Steinmeier in March 2014 gave important new impetus to German-Angolan relations. During his visit, Steinmeier met for detailed talks with President dos Santos, among others. He applauded the important role played by Angola in efforts to resolve regional conflicts and called on German companies to show greater commitment in Angola.
There are currently no German foundations active in Angola. Both the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation organise events in Angola from their respective headquarters in Windhoek.
Economic relations between Germany and Angola are gaining momentum. Angola has quickly moved up the ranks to become Germany’s third most important trading partner in sub-Saharan Africa, after South Africa and Nigeria. The volume of German exports to Angola grew after the end of the civil war. In 2012, they increased by 55 per cent compared with the previous year, to EUR 391 million. Germany’s annual imports from Angola vary depending on the amount of petroleum imported. They were worth EUR 294 million in 2012. While German imports from Angola consist almost exclusively of crude oil, natural gas and petroleum products, motor vehicles, machinery and engineering products account for around three-quarters of German exports to Angola.
German companies’ interest in helping rebuild Angola’s infrastructure is steadily growing. 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.
The German-Angolan investment protection and promotion agreement also came into force in 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, organised by the German-African Business Association, was held in Angola on 4 and 5 June 2013 and was attended by former Federal Economics Minister Glos and five Angolan ministers. It was followed by a business delegation trip to Huíla and Benguela Provinces.
Further negotiations on an air transport agreement were held in Angola in mid-March 2014. Lufthansa’s establishment of a third direct flight to Luanda in September 2014 represents a further milestone 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 April 2013, Angola’s Energy and Water Minister Borges travelled to Germany for the second consecutive year – this time accompanied by Oil Minister Botelho de Vasconcelos – to attend the German-African Business Association’s German-African Energy Forum in Hamburg and Hanover.
In November 2013, the Section Head for Special Trade Policy, Agricultural Policy and Sub-Saharan Africa at the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi), Monika Ottemeyer, visited Luanda accompanied by a market exploration mission focusing on the building sector, energy, environmental protection and waste management as well as machinery and plant construction.
Along with Mozambique, Russia and South Africa, Angola is a partner in the TREE project (Transfer Renewable Energy & Efficiency), which is funded by the BMWi (now the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy) and is designed to promote the transfer of know-how in the renewable energy sector.
Until the end of 2012, Angola was a partner country of German development cooperation. A vocational training project in the building sector, which began in 2010 and was conducted by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), was concluded in September 2013. A joint project to promote institutional partnership between the Chamber of Industry and Commerce Munich and the Angolan Industrial Association was wound up in March 2013.
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 the end of the GDR. 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 forms the basis for the work of the Goethe Institute in Luanda.