SECRETARY BLINKEN: Mr. President, welcome. It’s very, very good to have you here in Washington at the summit. The Secretary of Defense and I are very pleased to welcome President Lourenço. The United States places a great importance on the relationship with Angola, a relationship that has grown stronger and stronger, particularly under your leadership.

And Mr. President, we also greatly appreciate the leadership that Angola is showing in the region, trying to end conflicts, to bring peace, particularly when it comes to the situation in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Our own partnership has grown, as I said, even stronger, the trade and investment ties growing ever deeper. We have cutting-edge American companies, including Sun Africa, working in Angola on cutting-edge projects. And of course, we’re also deepening our security ties.

So we’re very grateful to have you here in Washington for the leaders summit and also for this opportunity today to talk about the many challenges and opportunities that we face together.

Lloyd.

SECRETARY AUSTIN: Well, thank you, Secretary Blinken, President Lourenço. Let me add my voice to Secretary Blinken and his comments in terms of welcoming you to the United States. We’re really glad to have you here at the summit.

The Department of Defense values our growing partnership with Angola. We recognize that African leadership remains key to strengthening peace, security, and governance across the continent and beyond. This is the defining challenge of our time. Angola is a key leader on the continent.

And I understand that Angola is looking to restructure its military. We look forward to partnering with you on this effort. We’re pleased to hear that Angola is interested in possible purchases from the United States and we’re working with the Department of State to respond to your request.

We deeply appreciate your leadership and your friendship, and I look forward to today’s discussion. And again, sir, welcome to the United States.

PRESIDENT LOURENÇO: (Via interpreter) Thank you very much, Secretary Antony Blinken, the Secretary of Defense General Lloyd, distinguished representatives of the U.S. Government. I’m very honored to be here today in your presence and following the invitation extended by President Biden to a number of African leaders, including Angola. We will seize this opportunity of our stay here in order to seek to strengthen further our bonds of friendship and cooperation between our two countries. Angola has been showing very positive signs that we are very interested in strengthening our cooperation with the U.S., so do not doubt about our good intentions with regard to these very responsive step that we’re taking if we are to look into the historic past of our relationships.

So there is a gamechanger. We may say it’s significant, and this is in the interest of the – of both parties, the interest of Angola and that of the United States of America. Angola is a country that is well located geographically because we are part at least of three regions of the country. We are SADC member-states, the Southern African Development Community. We are also members of the Central African Economic Community. We are also part of the Great Lakes region and we are chairing the conference on the Great Lakes region for the second time. So our joint strategic positioning is to be taken into account.

And also, if we are to mention the importance of the reforms that we are conducting, both economic, political reforms in order to attract investment and entice foreign investors, especially the U.S. investors, to invest in Angola, there are already some success cases apart from those investment in the oil sector, which is traditional for decades. But there are new players that are starting to venture in different sectors such as telecommunications, solar energy production.

We had a success case in the center of the country in Benguela Province, where we have two big power stations that are already producing electricity. And there is also a pledge of about $2 billion for Sun Africa company in order to develop a giant project that will bring electricity to almost all the southern part of Angola in the provinces of Namibe, Huila, Cunene, and Cuando Cubango. And, of course, the surplus will be brought into the national power grid and benefit the other regions of the country.

So U.S. investors mostly will come to Angola to invest in all those fields of their interest without any exception, not only in the energy sector, not only in exploration of mineral resources of all sorts, including diamond and others, which are precious minerals, rare earth. In all those areas, the U.S. investment is mostly welcome. This includes also telecommunication, ICTs, 5G. We hope that the U.S. businesses can take heed of 5G in Angola, which is important for our development.

We are promoting three big duty-free zones, namely in Cabinda next to the Caio seaport that would be the biggest deep water port in the Central Africa region, which will be ready by end 2023 or early 2024, the port itself. But around the port we are going to develop the free trade zone, and certainly we count on U.S. investment in these projects as well.

Another duty-free zone which will arouse the interest of American investors is the Barra do Dande, which is a few kilometers from Luanda. It’s an old project that has not yet kickstart, but this time we are determined in order to take it forward. And the public tender had been opened already, and it’s time for the companies also to present their bids.

At the end of 2023, we are going to complete the construction and also the functioning of the new international airport of Luanda named after the first president of Angola, António Agostinho Neto. It is a port that will move about 15 million passengers per year, 50 million tons of cargo per year, so that will make a difference with regard to the air transportation in the region. Also, the emergence of this new airport will make us resume a project which is in the pipeline. I’m talking about the purchase of new aircraft from Boeing, which —

SECRETARY BLINKEN: Mr. President, if I could, I’m sorry to interrupt – maybe we’ll let our colleagues from the media depart, and we can continue the meeting in more detail. I’m sorry for interrupting. Thank you.

U.S. Department of State

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