By Tichaona Kurewa
HARARE-THE United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the European Union (EU) are discussing a wide-reaching technical assistance and training programme for national experts in Angola’s Ministry of Trade, worth 5.5 million (US$6.1 million), UNCTAD has said.
Set to be launched in early 2017, the four-year programme, known as EU-UNCTAD Joint Programme for Angola, will train national experts on trade policy and negotiations, trade finance and logistics, small business development, trade facilitation and the scoping of non-oil trade opportunities.
The overall goal of the four-year programme, UNCTAD said, is to boost Angola’s capacity to design and implement national policies on trade, investment, and services in order that the country of 22 million people can unlock new trade opportunities outside its dominant oil sector.
“Trade is a core ingredient of growth and jobs, and falling oil prices mean oil-rich countries such as Angola need support to diversify away from oil,” UNCTAD’s Deputy Secretary-General, Joakim Reiter, said.
“We’re delighted to support Angola and are in close contact with the European Commission, as regards their support to the forthcoming project, which ultimately will help many in Angola to trade their way out of poverty.”
According to World Bank data, Angola’s oil exports accounted on average for 97 percent of Angolan exports over the past ten years. But falling oil prices have had an impact.
In 2014, Angola’s oil exports brought in US$60.2 billion in revenues to the country. In 2015, however, Angola received US$33.4 billion, a 44.5 percent decline.
“The EU is actively supporting Angola to tap the significant potential of trade for the sustainable development of the country. On training of the key personnel as one key element of this support we’re keen to cooperate with UNCTAD and await the detailed project proposal swiftly,” said Nils Behrndt, Chef de Cabinet of Neven Mimica, European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development.