BERLIN/LUANDA (Own report) – Parallel to the escalating crises in Greece and Ukraine and the participation or involvement in various wars in the Arab world, the German government is intensifying its efforts to enhance its political and military influence on the African continent. German companies are seeking lucrative business opportunities in booming Angola at the “Angola/Germany Economic Forum” ending today in the country’s capital Luanda. Despite its persistent efforts, so far, German trade relations with Angola have not achieved a real breakthrough, whereas Berlin has already made progress in its military cooperation with Luanda. In late 2014, both countries signed an agreement on a “partnership” in military policy followed by a joint military exercise in March 2015. Angola is considered useful as an ally for implementing Germany’s geo-strategic interests in Sub-Saharan Africa. It has been massively upgrading its military apparatus and thereby become a challenge to South Africa’s claim to continental hegemony.
Angola’s Oil Boom
Angola is currently one of the emerging economic powers and boom markets on the African continent. It is Sub-Sahara Africa’s second largest oil producer, with billions in foreign exchange revenues from oil exports. In this millennium, it has recorded an average double-digit growth rate, making it therefore one of the world’s fastest growing economies. Due to the recent significant decline in oil prices, the boom has subsided. Nevertheless, this Southwest African country is still receiving Africa’s largest influx of foreign direct investments. In addition to oil, Angola has extensive gas reserves, most of which still unexploited. According to estimates, Angolan reserves could suffice for the production of 6.8 billion cubic meters of liquid gas per year for two decades. Angola already supplies natural gas to China, Brazil and Southeast Asia. Due to this economic boom, the nascent Angolan oil bourgeoisie has become an increasingly assertive investor in Europe. The Angolan Sonangol oil company, for example, has acquired large shares in the Portuguese Galp Energia oil and gas company, as well as in the Portuguese bank, Millenium BCP.
Military Policy Cooperation
Berlin and Luanda’s military cooperation has begun to become more concrete than the economic cooperation. Last year, the governments of the two countries signed an agreement on cooperation in military policy. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.) This agreement includes “defense-level talks as well as the regular participation in seminars.” Early last March, German and Angolan Marine units carried out training exercises in boarding using the German frigate “Brandenburg” anchored in Luanda’s harbor, as part of a German mission and training naval unit. At the time the frigates “Hessen” and “Karlsruhe” were also at anchor in Luanda alongside the “Brandenburg”.
For Germany, Angola’s arms buildup offensive is considered an ideal alternative to South Africa, with which Berlin had maintained a relatively intensive military cooperation. Pretoria’s ties to the BRICS alliance (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa), which in the long run is a challenge to the West’s hegemony, has made it increasingly unreliable in German eyes – not least of all in the context of the West’s current conflict with Russia. Luanda’s large investments in military goods are an additional enticement for German arms industries to seek lucrative business deals. In March of this year, in the course of the joint military training exercises in Luanda, German arms producers installed an industrial display on the frigate “Hessen” to peddle their wares. Among those visiting the exhibit to appraise personally the quality of German war material were the Inspector General of the Angolan Armed Forces, Gen. Geraldo Nuanda and Angola’s State’s Secretary for Industry, Gabriel Kiala.