Angola close to signing economic deal with US
Angola and the United States are close to signing an agreement that would strengthen commercial ties between the former Cold War foes, Angola's ambassador to the U.S. was quoted saying on Monday.
The deal will be signed "shortly" and form the basis of increased trade and economic exchanges between the oil-rich African nation and the world's economic powerhouse, the ambassador Josefina Diakite told state-run news agency ANGOP.
"It will be a very general agreement, similar to those already enjoyed by other African nations," she said in the interview in the capital Luanda on Sunday before leaving for Washington.
Diakite noted that the pending deal was made possible by the closer relations that had developed between the two countries since the end of Angola's 27-year civil war in 2002.
The United States and Angola had a frosty relationship for some two decades after Angola's 1975 independence from Portugal, with Washington viewing the Marxist-dominated government in Luanda as little more than a proxy for the Soviet Union.
A growing Soviet and Cuban presence in Angola in the late 1970s and early 1980s prompted the United States to increase support for the rebel National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), which was fighting to overthrow the government in Luanda.
But the 1989 collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, the subsequent dismantling of the Soviet Union and an agreement that led to the withdrawal of Cuban troops from Angola paved the way for a burgeoning U.S. interest in Angola.
Angola's oil wealth -- it is sub-Saharan Africa's biggest producer after Nigeria and an increasingly important source of oil for the United States -- only increased Washington's stakes in the former Portuguese colony.
Angola, which remains one of Africa's poorest countries despite the benefits of an oil-fuelled economic boom, was admitted in 2003 to the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which enhances U.S. market access for 38 African nations.
The act is part of the U.S. efforts to spur development in sub-Saharan Africa.
But U.S. authorities also have raised concerns about the slow pace of economic and democratic reform in Angola, which held its last presidential and parliamentary elections in 1992.
Latest AGOA Trade Data currently available on AGOA.info
Click here to view a sector profile of Angola’s bilateral trade with the United States, disaggregated by total exports and imports, AGOA exports and GSP exports.
Other regularly updated trade statistics on AGOA.info include: (click each link to view)