European Times: What is the relationship between Angola and the Netherlands?
Susanna Terstal: The Netherlands was one of the first countries to recognise Angola’s independence and the two countries have had a positive relationship ever since. Initially the Netherlands was supporting Angola’s independence and recovery from the war, but now Angola is mainly an economic partner. My role as Ambassador here focusses on promoting Dutch investment in Angola.
European Times: What are the main opportunities for foreign investors in Angola?
Susanna Terstal: Angola is not an easy country to do business in, but the potential is massive. Poverty remains a problem in spite of oil revenues. The new government recognises the country’s issues and is focussed on diversifying the economy and on promoting FDI. For European investors facing a challenging climate in Europe, Angola represents a great new opportunity for tremendous returns on investment. This is not a country for easy money but it is one which can result in great profits for those willing to invest in Angola and its people long-term.
European Times: What is the Dutch embassy doing to support foreign investors?
Susanna Terstal: We have a programme to help Dutch companies find local partners and the Private-Sector Investment Programme (PSI), which is open to non-Dutch companies, through which projects can receive up to 50% of their start-up funding from the Dutch government. We have several PSI projects up and running. On a day to day basis, we answer trade requests from companies and help them in their first steps in Angola.
European Times: Can you single out some high-potential investment opportunities in Angola?
Susanna Terstal: The agriculture sector is a major opportunity although there are still land mines in the countryside. Angola also offers hydropower potential, and the infrastructure and transport sectors definitely need foreign investment and have outstanding growth prospects. Having a local partner is recommended for any investment here.
European Times: What is your personal message about Angola?
Susanna Terstal: I am an optimist. I believe that the current government is serious about diversifying the economy and developing the country. My advice to investors is not to wait, to come here and go for it!