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Angola to ramp up agriculture, tourism
September 5, 2017, 3:41 pm

Like other oil exporters, Angola, the second biggest petroleum product exporter in Africa, has been severely impacted by the fall in oil prices since mid-2014. The country’s revenues, which have fallen by a third in the last couple of years, has compelled Angola to look at other income sources, including from tourism and agriculture, to support its economy.

Endowed with a wealth of natural resources, Angola has exceptional potential to diversify its economy. The country’s diverse landscape and rich biodiversity makes it an attractive tourist destination, while its huge arable land has the potential to make Angola a major agriculture exporter. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Angola is among the top five countries in the world with strong agricultural potential.

In the 1970s Angola was the breadbasket to f southern Africa and was the leading exporter of coffee, sisal, sugar cane and bananas on the continent. However, more than a quarter-century of civil war devastated Angolan agriculture sector and today it accounts for less than 10 percent of the country’s GDP and is a net importer of food products. Despite having nearly 60 million hectares of arable land, only three percent is cultivated and this leaves the country having to import almost 80 percent of its food products.

One reason for low productivity in agriculture sector is that the majority of people making a living out of farming are subsistence farmers, or small scale farmers without access to modern farming and agriculture methods. In a bid to revamp the agriculture sector, the government has initiated a number of schemes to assist small farmers, including the development of micro-credit for financing irrigation projects and for buying modern agriculture equipment and fertilizers.

Angola aims to produce an annual output of 2.5 million tons of cereals and 20 million tons of cassava in 2017, and to reduce its chicken and milk imports by rearing chicken to cover up to 60 percent of its consumption, and increase dairy production to meet 85 percent of the country’s needs.

Angola is also shifting it gaze from oil to explore the virtues of tourism and aims to become an international hub for ecotourism like neighboring Zimbabwe, South Africa or Namibia. The country’s rich biodiversity and varied landscape that includes lakes, national parks, mountain ridges and an extensive coastline along the Atlantic, makes it an attractive travel destination for international travelers. But in order to promote tourism the government will have to do away with many of its onerous travel policies that currently impede travel to the country.

Angola also has huge potential for promoting sustainable energy production through hydroelectric projects. Though it has one of the largest hydroelectric production prospects in Africa, the country has exploited only around four percent of this potential. The authorities are looking to change this situation and the recent inauguration of the Laúca hydroelectric dam is an indication of this approach. The $4billion Laúca project with its 2070 megawatts of sustainable power production is expected double the country’s energy capacity, benefit more than eight million people and further energize the country’s attempts at economic diversification.

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