Spain turns to Africa and chooses Angola as a priority | Diplomacy

Spain turns to Africa and chooses Angola as a priority | Diplomacy
Spain turns to Africa and chooses Angola as a priority | Diplomacy
Spain is attentive to Africa and has chosen as a priority a set of five countries, including Angola, which the President of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez visits in early April, said that country’s ambassador in Luanda, Manuel Ruigómez. The last visit of a head of the Spanish Government to Angola took place in 1991, with Felipe González, and Mariano Rajoy was scheduled to go in 2018, but the trip was eventually canceled due to the political crisis in Catalonia.

With the visit of Pedro Sánchez, who starts a short roadmap in Angola that will also pass through Senegal, Spain wants to highlight the growing importance of Africa in its foreign policy and be available to support the development of African countries through investment.

“Spain is looking more intensely at Africa and approved a new plan two years ago in which Africa gains more importance in foreign policy”, stressed Manuel Hernández Ruigoméz in an interview to Lusa, emphasizing that Angola is one of the five priority countries in this strategy along with South Africa, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Senegal.

The diplomat recalled that Angola has attracted the interest of Spain since gaining independence in 1975, and the president of the Spanish Government at the time, Adolfo Suárez, even met his Angolan counterpart, Lopo do Nascimento, in 1976, in Madrid.

Since then, the relationship between the two countries has been “always strong and intense”, he stressed, considering that Africa’s future depends on its development and that Europeans “must be close to their southern neighbors” so that “together”, contribute to the progress of that continent.

Spain has so far had a foreign policy more directed towards Latin America, since this is the continent closest to the historical and cultural point of view, but Ruigómez defends a greater European approach to Africa where problems remain that must be taken care of, such as the immigration and poverty.

“I think that Spain, like Portugal, should pay more attention to these problems. We are together in a world, as is seen now with the pandemic, which ignores borders. This is our southern border and we must take care of it ”, said the ambassador.

For Ruigómez, the solutions for African countries to overcome underdevelopment include investment.

“We think that by encouraging the investment of our companies and our public and private investors, we can help to get Angola and other countries out of a difficult economic situation”, he stressed.

The diplomat also praised the fight against corruption carried out by the Angolan President, João Lourenço, since he took office in 2017, which he considered “very important” to facilitate the arrival of Spanish investors.

Also essential are other initiatives such as the legislative packages that the Government and the National Assembly have been approving in the field of business facilitation, he pointed out, regretting that the pandemic is hindering exchanges between countries.

If it weren’t for covid-19, Angola would be attracting more investment, he believes, indicating among the relevant legislative measures, the fact that it is no longer mandatory to partner with Angolan partners to invest in the country.

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