Speech/statement | Date: 03/12/2018 | Office of the Prime Minister
Opening speech by Prime Minister Erna Solberg at an Angolan/Norwegian trade seminar in Luanda, Angola, 3 december 2018.
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Ladies and gentlemen,
Boa tarde – good afternoon!
First, I would like to thank President Lourenco for the warm welcome to Angola.
I am delighted to be here.
This is my first visit to your country – and in fact, the first visit by a Norwegian prime minister to Angola. So it was about time!
I would like to thank Equinor for co-hosting this event. I would also like to pay tribute to the Norwegian-African Business Association and Norwegian Energy Partners for organising a business delegation to Angola in connection with my visit.
[I understand that there will be time set aside for companies to meet one-on-one tomorrow].
Norway is a consistent partner in Angola.
This means that our cooperation is long-term and that we stay the course.
However, as with any good partnership, it evolves with changing times.
Historically, our relations with Angola have been built on solidarity with your struggle against colonialism and apartheid.
Support for the liberation of Angola was strong in Norway.
After liberation, our support continued in the form of development aid.
And during the past 20 years, our relations have broadened.
The emphasis on political dialogue and commercial partnerships has increased.
Today, some of Norway’s biggest companies have a substantial share of their operations in Africa.
They want to expand in Africa, as the economic potential of the continent is on the rise.
There is a mutual wish for more commercial partnerships.
Our bilateral relations with Angola stand out as a prime example of this trend.
The petroleum sector is currently the backbone of our business cooperation.
Angola is Norway’s most important economic partner in Africa.
Norwegian companies invest in Angola, creating value and new employment opportunities in both countries.
Technology transfers are another important contribution – as are the taxes Norwegian companies pay in Angola.
Business cooperation is about partnerships that create development in both Norway and Angola.
The economic destinies of both countries are strongly affected by oil prices.
After many years of growth, activity in the offshore industry declined in 2014.
Governments tried to implement measures to offset the effects of falling oil prices, and the oil industry introduced cost-cutting measures.
Rising oil prices benefit both our countries, but we must be prepared for fluctuations.
Angola will continue to be an important country for Equinor and the Norwegian offshore supplier industry.
We are a consistent partner. Let me give you some examples:
Equinor (formerly Statoil) is the largest Norwegian company operating in Angola. In addition, the Norwegian offshore supplier industry is present throughout the value chain.
Norwegian seismic companies help to discover and map oil deposits. Norwegian oil rigs are responsible for drilling activities.
Vital equipment for extracting oil and gas is delivered from Norway.
Meanwhile, Equinor is developing oil fields offshore and is looking into new opportunities in Angola.
Petroleum is a key sector for both Norway and Angola, and will remain so for some time.
But I hope we can expand our business cooperation to other sectors as well.
Doing business is most of all about job creations. We need more private sector development in order to reach the Sustainable Development Goals and the Agenda 2063 of the African Union.
Clean energy and the fisheries sector are potential areas of mutual interest for Angolan and Norwegian partners.
The Atlantic Ocean is a source of wealth for both countries.
Today, more than two-thirds of Norway’s export revenues come from coastal and ocean-based industries – fisheries, aquaculture, shipping and energy production.
Fisheries have always been a mainstay of our economy.
The Vikings sold dried cod a thousand years ago.
When the Portuguese sailor Paulo Dias de Novais founded the Fortress of São Miguel here in Luanda in 1576, he may very well have depended on dried Norwegian cod – or ‘bacalhao’, as you call it – on his long sea voyage.
I must admit that the Portuguese found an excellent way of preparing this product by making it into bacalhau.
Here in Angola you use dried cod for bacalhau. Which is much tastier than plain dried cod.
Today, Angola is an important market for Norwegian seafood. And the most important products are salted and dried cod.
But our cooperation in the fisheries sector is not only about bacalhau.
For example, there are Norwegian investments in three fish-processing plants in southern Angola.
This shows that our partnership is consistent, but it is also evolving.
A crucial element for doing business is the framework conditions set by the authorities.
For Norwegian companies, stable and predictable framework conditions are important for doing business.
So are the rule of law, good governance and transparency.
We are encouraged by the positive steps the Angolan Government has taken to increase transparency, reduce nepotism and corruption, and end impunity for economic crimes.
These are important measures to improve the business climate, and I hope these efforts will continue with full force.
I would like to add a few words on trade, a topic that has taken on renewed geopolitical urgency during the last couple of years.
Implementing the commitments of the World Trade Organization increases predictability and openness and leads to better investment conditions.
In these turbulent times, it is important that we stand together to defend and modernise the multilateral trading regime that provides a foundation for trade between nations.
We wish to work together with Angola and other African governments on this issue.
The agreement to establish an African Continental Free Trade Area is encouraging.
Deeper regional integration can provide opportunities for inclusive economic growth, private sector development and job creation.
And it will provide new opportunities for both Angolan and Norwegian businesses when it is implemented.
Ladies and gentlemen,
As economic relations between our two countries evolve, we will solidify our partnerships in the petroleum sector and diversify our business cooperation.
I am confident that one day we will be buying fish from Angola.
That is what I call a consistent partnership.