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US Secretary of State arrives in Angola for talks with President Lourenco


US Secretary of State arrives in Angola for talks with President Lourenco

angola pompeo
Photo: Michele Spatari/AFP

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will meet Angolan President Joao Lourenco in Luanda today to discuss anti-corruption efforts in Angola.

Angola is the second stop of a tour that started in Senegal and will finish in Ethiopia, in a region with heavy Chinese infrastructure investment influence and an increasing Russian military contractor presence. Aside from the promotion of US-African trade, good governance and the rule of law, Pompeo’s trip has an underlying Trump administration aim of persuading sub-Saharan African countries to reject Chinese investment.

However, the US administration’s lack of sustained engagement in the region will likely count against Pompeo. This is the first high-level trip from a White House official to sub-Saharan Africa since July 2018; the only other visit was from Pompeo’s predecessor, Rex Tillerson, in March 2018.

For Angola, bilateral relations have emphasised political and economic reforms but have also been beset by disputes between Luanda and US companies operating in Angola. These disputes led to state seizures of various American companies’ assets in recent years.

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Expect Pompeo to seek a reset in business relations and pitch investment opportunities—especially in oil, which makes up 77% of US imports from Angola. However, these efforts will likely be undermined by nosediving US investor confidence, apparently a result of perceptions about Angola’s lack of adherence to good governance and the rule of law.

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