US to help Angola repatriate cash

Angolan-President-Joao-Lourenco
Angolan President Joao Lourenco

The US has pledged to help Angola repatriation cash stashed abroad, the southern African country’s Foreign minister confirmed.

The state-owned Jornal de Angola quoted Mr Manuel Augusto as saying that he had contacts with the US State Department to repatriate the stolen money and support Angola with other reforms.

“As far as cash repatriation is concerned, American financial authorities have possibilities to help us and they are willing to do so,” he was quoted.

The Angolan government in February issued a 180-day ultimatum to all its nationals to repatriate their money from foreign accounts, a deadline that was published in the official Gazette.

Commercial banks

The National Reserve Bank Governor, Mr José de Lima Massano, confirmed that over $30 billion belonging to Angola was deposited abroad.

Half of the money, he explained, was deposited in commercial banks and financial institutions.

President João Lourenço last year advised Angolans with fortunes abroad to repatriate their money and invest at home.

He warned that the government would confiscate money from those defying the advice.

“Those who repatriate the money will not be interrogated on why they had it abroad,” President Lourenço said.

The dramatic drop

It was not clear the amount of money Angolan nationals had illegally shipped to the US.

Apart from the US, it is believed that Angolan nationals have cash stashed in Portugal, the UK, Switzerland, South Africa and Cape Verde.

Angola, Africa’s leading oil exporter, has a population of 26 million, majority of them impoverished, and earn less than $2 per day.

According to the United Nations, the oil sector represents 97 per cent of Angola’s exportation and 80 per cent of public revenues and employs one per cent of the population.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) in June said the dramatic drop in oil prices, substantially reduced Angola’s tax revenues and exports, with growth coming to a halt and inflation accelerating sharply.