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France joins queue of Europeans beating path to Angola

France joins queue of Europeans beating path to Angola
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French President François Hollande has spent a day in Angola on his three-nation tour that also takes in Benin and Cameroon.

Heading a team of 50 business leaders he praised Angola for being a stable influence in Central Africa, and “economically and politically strong.”

France would like a troop commitment to help efforts in the Central African Republic. Until now Angola has only made a small financial contribution.

“There’s a lot of work going on in Angola, but also lots of jobs in France in very different areas like renewable energy or sustainable development.

Angola has helped with security in Central Africa, it supported the country when France went in to help stop the massacres and killings. And I want to salute what Angola did during this period,” Hollande said.

During the trip Accor signed a hotels deal and Eiffage is hoping for a bridges contract worth 180 million. Total already gets 10% of its production here, and says it wants to help Angola diversify beyond its great oil potential. If there is business to do here, the French are ready, as are all European players in Africa right now.

“I think Africa today is better prepared to cooperate on an equal playing field with Europe. And to serve as a partner in the development of business,” says Angola’s Economy Minister Abrahão Gourgel.

Wary investors point to a poor human rights record and the fact that more than half of Angolans live on less than two dollars a day.

“In truth, Angola is the most important of this flurry of visits because of its economic vitality. This regional power is a strategic and economic prize at a moment when Europe is going through one of its worst-ever crises. France is the third recent European caravan to pass through Luanda after Germany and Italy,” reports euronews’ François Chignac.