In this episode of Business Angola, Euronews looks at the economic challenges facing Angola - and how it is diversifying and capitalising on the abundance of ideas and resources it has to offer.
Local resources explored
On the outskirts of Huambo, there's a landscape dominated by eucalyptus trees. The area once provided firewood for steam locomotives on the historic Benguela Railway.
Felisberto Capamba is the CEO of Habitec, he explained how the local resource is being utilised.
“In the whole corridor that goes to Benguela, up to the limits of the railway lines, we have these eucalyptus trees. So, we have them in quantity. This led us to do an investigation to take advantage of this. And the solution was to produce school furniture, extracted from eucalyptus wood.”
The wood is transformed at the Habitec factory, where school furniture is the focus.
However, the social enterprise also supplies other sectors, like social housing.
Graciano Paiva is the operations director at Habitec.
“We have a production line of doors, windows, to support construction, the local construction companies and others nationally in Angola. And the restaurant sector as well, with tables, furniture. And above all the hotel sector,” he explained.
Ecological forest management
Habitec also works with local communities to procure eucalyptus for its products - and is committed to ecological forest management.
When furniture is sold, more trees are planted - and they grow fast, as Felisberto Capamba, the CEO of Habitec explained.
“The counterpart of this is reforestation. This means that we do not need to move towards the cutting down of pre-existing, native forests, because eucalyptus has this solution. In three, four and even six years, it is ready to be used.”
Boosting domestic production
Habitec is boosting domestic production, amid the global COVID-19 health pandemic - helping to reduce a reliance on imports, while also creating new jobs.
At a school, in Zango, in Luanda Province, the Habitec furniture is being put to good use.
Aidino Gonçalves is the director of Vida Pacifica Public School Number 5143.
“The school uses this product because, in addition to being a national product, it has good durability.”
Pupils give the chairs and desks top marks too, including Vandira Ngola, a student at the school.
“It's good. It's comfortable. It is very handy when it comes to moving,” she said.
The school recognises the importance of sustainability and social responsibility, as Angola continues to build a future-fit economy.
“In order for this sustainable development to take place, it’s crucial that society itself and our entrepreneurs, the partnership between public and private, is a reality. If we have this, we will help those small businesses to stand out, to help develop communities, neighbourhoods and even our country,” Aidino Gonçalves added.