Luanda, Angola one of the fastest developing cities in Africa

mali Luanda’s harbor front in the evening

When Angola gained its colonial independence in 1975, its capital city of Luanda had a population of 400,000. Since then, the city has grown more than tenfold. With a population of more than five million, Luanda is the third-largest portuguese-speaking city in the world (behind only Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo) and is quickly becoming one of the capitals of modern Africa. Thanks to rich natural resources, improving infrastructure, and booming construction, Angola’s capital has become one of the leaders in the advancement of Africa, and an important city on a worldwide scale.

Booming Economy

Since the end of the Angolan civil war in 2002, Luanda has enjoyed a period of stability accompanied by remarkable economic expansion. Thanks to it’s exceptional harbor, the city has always been a major exporter of Angola’s natural resources, including rich mineral deposits and the valuable offshore oil fields on the country’s Atlantic coast. Recent investment in these resources by Petroleum companies like Total have only made Angola’s trade more efficient (and lucrative), and given the country one of the world’s fastest-growing GDPs.

Luanda's oil service center Angola is one of Africa’s leading exporters of oil

The city’s decade of economic growth has been accompanied by dramatic development, with the initiation and completion of numerous large-scale construction projects, including a major highway and an international airport, orchestrated by Brazilian company Obredecht. These projects, largely fueled by foreign investment, give a sense of the city’s truly international profile, as well as showing the confidence of investors in Luanda’s continuing development.

Overcoming Obstacles

Such dramatic growth, however, does not come without issues. Among the difficulties Luanda faces in its development are poor infrastructure and serious overcrowding, as a city originally built for 400,000 inhabitants now holds ten times that many. It’s an especially positive sign for Luanda’s future, then, that these problems are now being addressed. Thanks to fiscal resources from Angola’s strong economy and a recently expanded role for Luanda’s provincial government, more attention is being given to these issues. Numerous projects are now underway to improve the city’s infrastructure, including the development of an airport, and cleaner tap water.

Pierre Falcone at KilambaPierre Falcone, President of Pierson Capital, at the site of the Kilamba development

Furthermore, international businesses like Odebrecht and Pierson Capital group are undertaking large-scale projects that will address the overcrowding. The company’s president, Pierre Falcone, played a major role in securing vital investments is from the China International Trust, and is just one of many high-profile businessmen to invest in the growth of Luanda. Pierson Capital is now overseeing the construction of major housing developments around the city, like Luanda 2 and Kimbala, which by 2015 will have 200,000 inhabitants, 240 businesses and 17 schools.

With such positive development accompanying it’s economic strength, Luanda’s future seems very bright indeed. As the capital of one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies, it’s sure to become one of the Continent’s leading cities and can serve as a model for development across the continent as a whole.

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Infrastructure Development Necessary in the Maghreb

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March 14, 2013 – Two years and two months ago, the people of the Maghreb showed that they had had enough of the socio-economic conditions that were crippling the region. It began in Tunisia with their revolution, then spread like wildfire, igniting revolutions driven by hope of a secure political and economic landscape that would bring them out of the mess that their governments had created. Just over two years later, Tunisia is no longer at war, but the political and economic landscape is far from stable because nothing concrete has been done to ameliorate the collective situation of its people.

While the Tunisian politicians debate which party will have the most power, governmental structure, and whether or not they will officially be Islamic, the people who fought the revolution are being made to wait. Since the politicians are preoccupied creating the structure, it is up to the private sector to create the body that will occupy it when it is ready. Public works projects should be the first step in bringing Tunisia, and its revolutionary counterparts across the region, back to stability. It will supply jobs for civilians of all socio-economic situations, while providing immense benefits to the people and easing unrest.

“Preparing to welcome 200,000 people within three years, Kilamba has become one of the largest development projects in Africa…”

Since the economic situation in these areas is perilous, they may need to call upon foreign investors to aid them in accomplishing these projects. Pierre Falcone and Pierson Capital, an investment firm based in Chicago, funded the trans-maghreb highway in 2010. They have also taken the lead in the creation of an entire city called Kilamba outside of the capital of Luanda. By following this example of foreign direct investment, it will be much easier for these (and any recovering or developing country) to jumpstart their economies, and in politically charged areas like the Maghreb, appease the masses calling for progress. After two years of turmoil, if the population continues being denied any concrete progress, the government is liable to fall once more in favor of the chance that a new regime could provide it.

Although it may be up to private companies to take up the mantle, the governments of the Maghreb have significant pull over such corporations, as they have the ability to write policies that would make it more advantageous to build in their country than in others. If businesses see that building in North Africa is a good investment with favorable policies towards foreign investors, they are infinitely more likely to choose it as the location of their next project but it is up to the governments to choose the right path that will take their country out of the muck and towards a prosperous future.

Madagascar to begin organizing presidential elections

Andry Rajoelina ElectionsMadagascar’s current economic crisis may have finally found its solution. In hopes to regain economic support from its international community, Madagascar’s Transition President Andry Rajoelina takes proactive measures with talks about organizing presidential elections for the coming year.

Since Andry Rajoelina took over former President Marc Ravalomanana’s place in 2009, the US dropped its AGOA deal with Madagascar, arguing that the transitional government was unconstitutional since Rajoelina was not democratically elected. The strong-felt impact which resulted only magnified when Europe followed as well.

In light of their crisis, the UN asked the SADC to coach Madagascar towards new elections. Accordingly, the SADC laid out a roadmap to help Madagascar with their political goals.

Last week, Rajoelina reviewed progress of the roadmap with UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon. Following their meeting, Rajoelina told the press that his country is ready to start organizing presidential elections. Rajoelina met last Friday with the chairman of SADC in Angola to further discuss the roadmap. Madagascar will probably hold elections towards the end of this year or in the early spring of 2013.

Why did Andry Rajoelina visit Angola?

Rajoelina Dos SantosAfter attending last week’s meeting on “the state of the economy and global finances”, convened by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Madagascar’s Interim President Andry Rajoelina met with Jose Eduardo dos Santos, President of Angola and current chairman of SADC. Rajoelina’s visit to Luanda in Angola was practically incognito as no statements regarding his 2 day mission were made to the press upon his departure or arrival.

Considering Rajoelina’s last mission to Luanda, before which he had already met with powerful Chinese groups investing in Angola, one could assume that Rajoelina’s most recent visit was done as a strategic attempt to establish stronger relations with Angola. Since Angola possess large reserves of oil and gas, and Madagascar is abundant in forest-based and mineral natural resources, there is certain commercial potential between the two countries. Considering this, could it be that the two Presidents discussed the possibility of collaborating their resources?

Source: Midi Madagasikara
Photo Credit: MadaGate

Inauguration of the Mahabo-Morondava section of the RN35 highway

April 21, 2012 in Morondava, Capital of the Menabe Region, Andry Rajoelina inaugurated the rehabilitation of the Mahabo-Morondava section highway 35. To kick off the inauguration, a foot race of “solidarity and unity” was held. Andry Rajoelina joined the race with the local youth and political representatives as wells as famous athletes Rosa Rakotozafy, Augustin Ravaolahy and Jean de la Croix Mahatana. The route was 7km from the airport to the site of the ceremony in Morondava.

The festitivites continued with two popular singers of the island, Jerry Johns Marcoss and Farah. During his speech, Rajoelina thanked the international partners who have entrusted him to complete this project of public interest. The President recalled his visit on Sept. 21, 2010 when he pledged to take steps to rehabilitate roads in the area and expressed his pride and hope for economic avail,

“… I promised to rehabilitate the RN 35. Together we have a challenge and now we have achieved that goal. With several attractions such as Belo sur Mer, Akevo and Baobab Alley, Region Menabe is bound to have major advantages for the economic development regionally and nationally…”

The head of the Menabe Region, Faharo Ratsimbarison spoke and commended Rajoelina, “this day of 21 April 2012 is a day of truth. President Rajoelina has promised to rehabilitate this section of road between Morondava and Mahabo and he kept his promise. Since the beginning, we chose to follow the same route that the President of the Transition and we will continue.”

Source: MadagascarTribune, Andry Rajoelina Official Site

Andry and Mialy Rajoelina plant seeds for the first annual National Reforestation Day

For the first National Reforestation day, Andry Rajoelina accompanied by some government ministers, assisted in the planting of over 4500 seedlings of five different varieties. The selected varieties are fast-growing woods particularly suitable for the industrial needs of the country. The three samples of rosewood, 50 peronias, 500 ravintsaras, 1000 and 3000 Acacia mangiumeucalyptus were planted Andranovelona, a village in the district Ankazobe west of the capital. Rajoelina commented that the planting of trees is an environmental movement that will be sustained for future generations:

Madagascar has nearly 20 million inhabitants, if we each plant at least one tree per year, the country will increase by 20 million new trees per year. We must educate our friends and neighbors to join this action to provide a better environment to our future children.”

Source: Andry Rajoelina Official Site

Madagascar’s first Airbus lands and brings opportunity for tourism and economy


Andry Rajoelina in front of the Airbus

Madagascar’s first Airbus300-340 plane, acquired by the transitional government, landed in Ivato on Thursday April 12th. According to Eric Kohler, President of the nation board of Tourism Office, the airbus will allow Madagascar to be placed on the international tourism market map. Andry Rajoelina was on the inaugural flight and spoke at the Naval Air base ceremony where he addressed the opponents and critisism, saying that this airplane is not for “politicians, nor the leaders, but for the Malagasy people.” The CEO of Air Madagascar, Hugues Ratsiferana, also explained the logic of choosing the Airbus over a Boeing as it being more efficient. He discussed that the Airbus has 25% more room for passengers, 50% more capacity in the loading area and that the aircraft is up to par with International standards including Europe and Asia. The CEO did not address the criticism that the length of the runway is not long enough for the Airbus.

Hugues Ratsiferana is prideful for the airbus and for the Malagasy; he stated that the market value of the plane is about 28 million dollars. Andry Rajoelina called for solidarity as the arrival of this new device, saying it is valuable and will enable Air Madagascar to regain its place in the Indian Ocean. He then urged all sectors to be more rigorous in efforts to improve services to clients.

Source: Madagate, Madagascar Tribune