Remarks With Angolan Foreign Minister Assuncao Afonso dos Anjos
Secretary of State
Of course, I must say that I first met Her Excellency the Secretary at the airport, where I, of course, said to her, “Please feel at home, you are at home, you are among friends here in Angola.” But what’s really important to stress here is that just a little after two months, just a little bit after two months after I was in Washington and I had the honor to be welcomed to Washington by Secretary Clinton, here she is among us in Angola to follow up what we had started right there. And of course, allow me to remember here a little bit very shortly the warm welcome, the care with which I was received in Washington and my delegation with me. And here we are trying to reciprocate that very warm welcome.
At the first meeting, Madame Secretary, May 21st, we spoke very, very much and deeply about the changes that have been happening here in Angola, about the deepening of democracy, the timetable for elections, the projects for future elections in our country, the wish that the Angolan people have to create an inclusive society, a tolerant society, a (inaudible) society that has absolute respect for the idea of others, a society that faces the solution of its internal problems on dialogue, a society that solves its problems on democratic institutions.
And we talked a little bit about the solidarity on the new Angolan people with the solidarity of Angolan people towards the region, the willingness and the concern the Angolan people have to resolve and to contribute to solving the conflicts that still remain in our region, if not in our country. Angola (inaudible) on the dialogue to solve the conflicts that still remain in other countries. And Angola speaks continuously about its availability to help neighbors and friends to find the ways towards stability and reconciliation, which are fundamental conditions for development.
And Your Excellency, the world and Africa can count on this decision of Angola to make our continent and the world a continent of peace, an area of stability, an area of development, an area of cooperation, because it is starting with our continent that we’re going to interact with other continents, with other states around the world, within this inter-civilizational dialogue which will ultimately lead to the elaboration and solution of the grave and serious problems that touch mankind – instability, drugs, the financial international crisis.
But which is important today, Madame Secretary, is that we count here now, we have you here now, Madame Secretary. And that is that you are here today and we are here, and we are ready to take up what our superiors have decided; that is, to put together a strategic operation between Angola and the United States. And today, during our negotiations and our meeting, we talked about (inaudible) issues (inaudible) cooperation terms on defense, finance, energy, (inaudible), and practically in every each other area of (inaudible) that we’re going to undertake and implement.
That being said, I would like to present to you, a member of the press, Her Excellency, the American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who will now, of course, (inaudible) your attention and who will say, of course, as always, (inaudible) words (inaudible).
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Mr. Minister, for that warm welcome. It is a pleasure for me and my delegation to be in Angola, and I bring greetings from President Obama, who looks forward to a very positive, productive relationship between our two countries.
The minister and his colleagues in government and I, along with my delegation, just concluded a very productive discussion on a wide range of issues. Peace and stability after 27 years of conflict have given the Angolan people the opportunity to realize their great potential and given the Angolan Government the opportunity and responsibility to demonstrate that democracy, peace and stability delivers results for people.
The United States will partner with you in the comprehensive strategic partnership that the minister and I have discussed. We will work together to revitalize agriculture in Angola. It was once a great economic sector with many jobs that was destroyed by war, but it is capable of becoming an engine for economic growth for Angola.
We will cooperate to enhance regional security here in southern Africa. We will partner against the scourges of HIV/AIDS and malaria. I am proud that through our PEPFAR initiative and the malaria initiative, the United States has helped Angola cut in half the number of children who die from malaria by the end of next year.
We discussed ways to deepen and strengthen our energy partnership, including a commitment to work with Angola on renewable energy, including hydropower. Later today, I will meet with the petroleum minister to explore ways to advance energy security while ensuring that energy resources are a force for development and progress in Angola and Africa.
We will work to expand trade and investment between our two countries by implementing our Trade and Investment Framework Agreement. We know that opportunity and prosperity for the Angolan people depend on good governance and strong democratic institutions. That requires a strong civil society, transparency, accountability, and vigilance in the fight against corruption.
We are encouraged by the steps the Angolan Government has taken for greater democratic participation, including the legislative elections the last year, the first in 16 years, and they were peaceful and credible. We look forward to Angola building on this positive step, including the adoption of a new constitution, investigating and prosecuting past human rights abuses, and holding a timely, free, and fair presidential election.
Mr. Minister, we have our work cut out for us, and I look forward to an ongoing and comprehensive dialogue and to making progress together.
QUESTION: Good morning, ministers. Mary Beth Sheridan from The Washington Post.
For Secretary Clinton, good governance has been a major theme of your trip through Africa. In Angola, there’s a very high level of corruption, according to Transparency International, and the President seems to be delaying the elections. Could you tell us how much did you press these two issues?
And for the Angolan minister, how do you explain that Angola is now Africa’s largest oil producer, and yet it ranks near the bottom of the United Nations development index? Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, let me begin by saying that corruption is a problem everywhere. And where it exists, it undermines people’s faith in democracy and distorts governance and prevents the full involvement of people in their societies and the delivery of services to citizens.
And of course, we raised this issue with the minister. But I think it’s only fair to add that Angola has begun taking steps to increase transparency. The Angolan Government is now publishing online the revenues they receive from the oil industry. They are working with United States Treasury officials on how to bring more transparency and efficiency into the government budget and fiscal affairs.
The government has already begun and is committed to using its revenues to build up the infrastructure of Angola, as evidenced by the many roads that are being built throughout the country. And of course, the government is acting. After 27 years of conflict that undermined the fabric of society, Angola has accomplished not only a peaceful resolution but the reconciliation of its citizens, one with the other.
And so the issues of good governance, rule of law, anti-corruption efforts will be part of the strategic partnership that the minister and I will lead.
FOREIGN MINISTER DOS ANJOS: (Via interpreter) Thank you for your question. Of course, there are moments where we have opportunity to talk like we’ve been talking with Secretary of State about the efforts that we have been undertaking here to increase the respect for human rights, to – the efforts that we have been undertaking here to create the structures that will allow us to fight against poverty, to bring dignity to every citizen of our country.
Well, your question was very succinct: How Angola, who produces so much oil, has so many poverty pockets? Let me try to answer your question. In order for us to invest the revenues from oil gradually in the creation of jobs and bringing dignity to our people, we need to do something, and if you’ll allow me now, I would like to paraphrase a very, very important sentence that President Obama used in his speech in Accra. You have to invest – and I paraphrase now – in men and infrastructure.
In order to create wealth, to have more jobs, to create development, to increase the well-being of the population, it’s not just taking money from oil revenues and give a little bit of money to each citizen of the country. No, what you have to do is you have to multiply that money. How do you do that? You invest. You invest in the economic (inaudible) of the country, the creation of jobs, so that you will multiply that wealth, it will become even greater. You have to invest in what? In men. And how do you invest in men? Men is the first factor of production of a society. So how do you invest in these? Well, its education, and you invest in infrastructure so he can do his job, invest in growth, which will, of course, increase trade. So you have products that go to market, you have factors of production that go to the factories and goods that go everywhere. And there you multiply that money.
And that will, of course, provide for a (inaudible). So the government elects to give you this information. The government gives the financing models, using the revenue from oil, in order to generate more capital by investing in fundamental sectors like agriculture and industry. So for your information, what the government is doing, the government created a development bank for small and medium enterprises to give credit to small and medium entrepreneurs, and the capital for that bank comes from 5 percent tax from oil and diamonds. And the credit goes to agriculture because agriculture creates jobs, gives us food security, feeds the people.
I don’t want to be too long, but we also have a program that aims at building up men, homes for people. We’re talking about – I’ll do a quick parallel here. We’re criticized because we didn’t do elections. We asked for more time. We did it. We are asking one more time now for this too. We have the structures, we have the willingness, and we can ensure a better life to our people, and we’ll do it.
It’s not a magic wand that will resolve this (inaudible). We need well-structured, well-designed programs, meaning programs that will gradually create wealth and create well-being. Thank you.
QUESTION: Thank you. Shaun Tandon with AFP. Madame Secretary, I wanted to ask about – China has been (inaudible) investor in Angola and other African countries, but widely is seen as not pushing the same agenda of human rights and good governance as the United States. Do you believe that in some sense this gives China an unfair commercial advantage when it comes to lucrative sectors like oil in Angola?
And for my follow-up with His Excellency, what specifically did you request from Secretary Clinton, and is there anything that the United States could provide to Angola which China could not?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Shaun, the activities of China in Africa and around the world are ones that are intended to further their interests and their economic involvement as well as in some areas the development of the countries in which they operate.
One of the areas that we have discussed with the Chinese in our Strategic & Economic Dialogue is how we can work more closely together on development in Africa. But I’m not looking at what anyone else does in Angola. I’m looking at what the United States can do to further and deepen our relationship and provide assistance and support for the changes that the Angolan Government is undertaking.
FOREIGN MINISTER DOS ANJOS: (Via interpreter) We presented, of course, a program, a series of actions that we would like to implement in partnership so we could, of course, benefit from the experience of the United States in terms of knowledge, know-how, so we could benefit from that.
And as I said at the beginning, this, of course, covers practically all areas of activity that you can think of for any society. So to conclude, we would like to take benefit from the best technological experience of the United States, the financial capacity of the United States, that jointly we could together (inaudible) develop our country.
QUESTION: (Via interpreter) Madame Secretary, Angolan TV. What is the U.S. program in terms of technology transfer to Africa in terms especially of reduction of gas emissions and also in terms of a program for training, technical training, in Angola? That would be the first question.
The second is: Do you know that Angola is a member of the Commission of the Gulf of Guinea, the Gulf of Guinea being the second largest oil reserve after the Middle East. My question is: During this visit, and given the agreements that you may sign, does that contemplate the possibility for the United States to also explore and exploit oil in the Gulf of Guinea?
The third question is: What are the plans, if any, of the Obama Administration to help the African Union solving any conflicts in the continent, in Africa?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, those are three very important questions, and I will try to be brief in my answers.
We discussed the technical assistance and support the United States can provide Angola to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate against the effects of climate change. Three specific areas: one, hydropower; two, working with Angola to protect natural resources like the Congo Basin, what is called a carbon sink; also, to work with Angola to prevent the flaring of gas and the recapture of that gas so that it can be put to productive use. So we will work closely with not only the Government of Angola but the private sector and civil society to reduce gas emissions.
Secondly, the United States, as you know, is already involved in the exploration and production of oil and gas in the Gulf of Guinea. And I’m sure that we’ll continue, but we would like to make sure that any exploration and production of oil and gas benefits the people of the countries around the Gulf of Guinea.
And finally, with respect to the African Union, the United States supports the efforts of the African Union to solve conflicts around the continent. The United States is the largest financial supporter of the African Union Mission in Somalia. And we will continue to support the African Union efforts to bring peace and stability to the African continent.
Thank you all very much.