Vol No: 83,
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Blue watch

Angola praised on Asian oil deals
ONE of Africa’s largest oil producers, Angola, is much tougher in negotiating deals with Asian firms than critics might suggest, a new report claims. UK-based think-tank Chatham House says the country does not fit the stereotype of weak African states being exploited by resource-hungry Asian tigers.

Their report contrasts Angola with Nigeria, which it says has mismanaged its relations with Asian firms. It says Nigeria has put $20bn (£12bn) of infrastructure at risk.

In Angola, President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos has been in power for almost 30 years, boosting stability and helping to create a functioning state-owned oil company, Sonangol, the report says. Angola emerged as the second-largest supplier of oil to China last year, helping the African country secure at least $13bn in oil-backed loans from Beijing. “While Nigeria was playing politics with its Asian partners, Angola was driven by economic necessity to quickly access funds to finance its reconstruction,” the report said.

The BBC’s Africa analyst Martin Plaut says the co-operation between Angola and China reflects the fact that Beijing, unlike the West, has played a major part in rebuilding Angola after its long civil war.

Nigeria’s dealings, on the other hand, have been bogged down by corruption and mismanagement.

Nigeria’s former President Olusegun Obasanjo sought partners in China, India, South Korea and elsewhere to buy oil blocks in return for billions of dollars of infrastructure. But not a single barrel of oil was ever produced by Asian national oil companies in Nigeria, leaving the Nigerian economy with no tangible benefit, the report said. “The scale of the corruption, mismanagement and nonexecution of projects in the Obasanjo years has sent shockwaves through Nigeria,” the report said.

“His intentions were good but officials failed to spell out the full implications of the scheme. And many used the scheme for private profit.”

When President Umaru Yar’Adua took power in May 2007 many deals were revoked, and a Korean firm has taken the Nigerian government to court over the issue.

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