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Interview with Envoy
"Angola Wants More Investment from S. Korea"
Says Charge d'affairs Alfredo Dombe in Recent Interview
Charge d'affairs Alfredo Dombe of the Angolan Embassy in Seoul

On the occasion of Angola's 35th Independence Day Charge d'affairs Alfredo Dombe of the Angolan Embassy in Seoul threw an interview with The Seoul Times to tell about the bilateral relations between Angola and South Korea and the future plan for mutual development.

In the interview conducted recently the Angolan envoy emphasized the growing business ties between South Korea and the African country. In particular he said that Angola wants to induce more investment from South Korea in the interview. Here is the full text of his interview story.

Q1: Excellency! We The Seoul Times thank you very much for this interview opportunity. As we are aware, Angola’s Independence Day falls on Nov. 11, 2010. And you are hosting a reception on Nov. 15, 2010 to celebrate your national day. What significance does your Independence Day have on your nation and the people?

A1: The Republic of Angola celebrates the 35th Anniversary of National Independence on 11 November 2010. Exactly 35 years ago, the Angolan people won their national independence that ended the secular domination of Portuguese colonialism and ushered in a new era in the history of Angola, to take the lead of their own destinies.

Independence was achieved, the result of an armed struggle started by the Angolan patriots in 1961.

Thereafter, the Angolan people have started a war against the colonial authorities by the guerrillas. With the development of the process and the international aid given to Angolan nationalist forces, the war for independence spread to the entire territory, and it sparked a conflict that lasted 14 years.

The events of 25 April 1974 in Portugal largely influenced by liberation struggles unleashed in all colonies and the collapse of Portuguese colonial system was finally seen.

On 15 January 1975 the Alvor Agreement (Portugal) were signed, and that stipulated the process of Angola's independence, scheduled for 11 November 1975.

Q2: Would you like to comment on the overall improvement in the bilateral relations between Angola and South Korea? What are the pending issues between the two countries now? How, do you think, both countries can further develop the collaboration?

A2: Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries on 6 January 1992, the bilateral relations have been improved greatly in all levels. Trade volume between two countries is increasing every year and there are increasingly more Korean companies showing interests in the Angolan market, in addition to more than 60 Korean companies are already operating in Angola.

Politically, there have been visits of important figures to one another. The visit made by His Excellency, President of the Republic of Angola, José Eduardo dos Santos to Korea in 2001 can be highlighted in this sense.

Among the outstanding issues today, I think the biggest issue is the completion of the visit by a senior official of the Republic of Korea and Republic of Angola, as well as the signing of the Reciprocal Protection of Investment. The visit of a highest government official would take a great leap and resolve several outstanding issues between the two countries.

In addition, there is a need to balance the trade, which currently faces a large surplus for the Korean side, so that relations between the countries are mutually beneficial. With respect to strengthening cooperation, I think for this, the Korean government should increase its assistance to Angola through EDCF projects and KOICA. Also, through various public events, Korea has to transfer its experience and know-how for development of Angola as the Saemaul Undong for Angola to follow the path of development.

Q3: What have you done since you took charge as the head of your diplomatic mission? For the remainder of your tenure what are the most important things you would like to achieve?

A3: During my term in this country, we have done our best for making a better image and reputation of the Republic of Angola. In order to promote and strengthen the relations between the two countries, we firstly had to perform a service field with businesses and government agencies engaged in explaining the history of Angola and the business opportunities that Angola can offer the Republic of Korea through their businessmen. Secondly, we need to organize business seminars for business and official delegations from the Republic of Angola with the close cooperation with Eximbank and KCC. Thirdly, in cooperation with the KITA, there was a visit of business delegations to the Republic of Angola to present the potential of this country and the level of development.

Also, we have initiated contacts with the Eximbank to finance more projects in Angola through the EDCF - Economic Development Cooperation Fund. With the KOICA, we request funds to increase ODA to build schools, hospitals, rural development, the construction of hydroelectric dams and training centers to increase hand - to - work described in our country

For the rest of my term, my intention is to guide big Korean companies into the Angolan market. These are big challenges for me.

Q4: Would you like to explain about the economic cooperation between Angola and South Korea? Can you specify on Korean investments to your country or vice versa?

A4: Currently, cooperation between Angola and South Korea is based mainly in the fields of construction, fisheries, and shipbuilding. As I said, there are over 60 Korean enterprises and small and medium size companies that are operating in Angola, mostly in the construction industry.

Especially in the area of oil production, which is currently the most important industry in Angola, most of the equipment in operation, such as tankers and FPSOs, was built by Korean shipyards. With regard to the activities of Korean companies in Angola, the Inter-Burgo company has contributed greatly to the good image of Korean companies in Angola. Inter-Burgo has played a very important role in the development of fishing industry in Angola for over 20 years. Also, in construction, Namkwang Construction in Angola is very grateful for the excellent works of great quality such as Talatona Convention Center Hotel, Talatona Conventions, Sonangol Headquarters and etc. In addition, it is recently known that DSME bought 30% of shares in a shipyard in Angola.

Regarding the Angolan investment in Korea, it is not yet much vitalized unfortunately. But in the near future, it is expected to occur.

Q5: How many Koreans are working or living in Angola and what kinds of business are they doing?

A5: The number of Korean workers in Angola varies depending on the projects that are underway. Just for reference, the Embassy of Angola granted approximately 200 visas per month for Korean citizen to enter Angola. The majority of those are businessmen and employees of Korean companies operating in Angola.

Q6: Are there many Angolan people living in South Korea? What line of business they are in?

A6: Currently few Angolans are living in Korea. The number of Angolans living in Korea is about 50. Most of the Angolan community in Korea is the students in higher education.

Q7: What role can South Korea play for your country or for your people? What could be the ideal mutual ties between the two nations?

A7: Being the first country in the world that became a beneficiary of foreign aid to a donor, Korea can serve as a model for the development of Angola. In this context, the transfer of experience and know-how of the Korean development and training of Angolan professionals would be very beneficial ways for the cooperation of both nations.

Angola is a very rich country in terms of natural resources. At this time, Angola is one of the largest oil producers in sub-Saharan Africa, and is discovering new oilfields almost every month. Also, Angola is the fourth largest producer of diamonds with the largest diamond reserves located in northeastern Angola. Based on this force of natural resources in recent years, Angola has become one of the countries that have achieved high economic growth rate in the world. Between 2002 and 2008, Angola has one of the highest economic growth rates in the world, about 20% per year. There are many business opportunities in Angola.

Korea, which lacks almost all natural resources can find new growth engines at all levels through good relations with Angola.

Q8: G20 summit is going on in Seoul now. What kind of impacts do you think the G20 summit can give to South Korea and to its people?

A8: I think the G20 will raise much international prestige of Korea. To host a great event with such a big impact in the international community as the G20 is always a great experience. Also, the G20 Summit in Seoul will be the moment of international recognition that Korea has become a truly developed country. Koreans can be proud that their country has emerged one of the core countries on the international scene.

Q9: Could you tell us about your family? Are they all living in Seoul with you? What do they do for a living?

A9: My family is happy to live in a secure and high level of development.

For details or inquiries contact the Angolan Embassy in Seoul at 792-8463.

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