The Business Year

António Henriques Da Silva

ANGOLA - Economy

António Henriques Da Silva

Chairman Of The Board Of Directors, Agency for Private Investment and Export Promotion (AIPEX)

Bio

António Henriques Da Silva is a senior executive with more than 22 years of experience in various sectors of private and public business activity. Before his current position, he was active as an entrepreneur in the private sector, creating several start-ups. He served as the first President of the Board of Directors of Angola Public Television (TPA) from 2010-2012. He holds a degree in electrical engineering in the specialty of telecommunications and information systems from the University of Zagreb and holds two postgraduate qualifications in business administration and finance from Universidade Nova de Lisboa and IESE- Program of High Business Directorate (PADE).

AIPEX is focused on diversifying the economy and, at the same time, creating the right conditions to attract more FDI into the country.

AIPEX was founded in 2018 after the merger of UTIP and APIEX. What is its mission and vision?

Our mission is to diversify the economy and increase the participation in our economy of the non-oil private sector. Considering the country’s potential, by doing so, we will be able to take full advantage of it. We are also entitled to ensure the development of the private sector and through it, the internationalization of Angolan companies. In addition, AIPEX focuses on creating the right conditions to attract FDI to the country, either from abroad or from local investors. Of course, we do not act alone; we are part of an ecosystem. We go hand in hand with other departments of the public administration. In order to play a smoother role, we have created the investor gateway, which is a set of conditions, procedures, and activities that are meant to assist investors and the business environment as a whole. In that sense, Angola has also reviewed its fiscal benefits policy in order to be more competitive when attracting investors.

What are AIPEX’s main strategies to attract FDI in 2022?

First of all, we had to perform an introspective analysis of where we stand so far and assess our weaknesses and strengths so that we can redesign our actions. Despite the pandemic, we were able to achieve our goals responding to this anomalous situation. We introduced new procedures in dealing with investors, and we moved to a more digitalized working environment relying increasingly on ICT tools. The efficiency, accessibility, and availability of those ICT tools, not only internally, but in our relationships with foreign investors have enabled us to improve the operational capacity of our agency. As a result, we are now able to respond to the registration of a new investment initiative in less than three days. Beyond that, our investment attraction actions are generally based on directly approaching the investor, being proactive and identifying suitable investors for national priority sectors.

How is AIPEX supporting local SMEs to achieve a solid diversification of the economy?

The government has put together a program called PRODESI, and we have defined a set of products considered as priorities for the program. Of course, the role that needs to be played by SMEs and entrepreneurs is crucial for the diversification of the economy. Many countries rely heavily on SMEs playing key roles in the success of government policies. Angola is no exception, and besides the creation of the right legal policies and terms, we are also empowering the private sector and especially SMEs in such a way that they can compete and add value to the economy. They need financial support and skills and these key elements are part of the strategy, and through organizations other than AIPEX they are able to address those challenges. Of course, we do not 100% cover all the needs of the market, but progressively with the results that are to be achieved we will be able to consolidate our own practices and the expected results.

What do you think can be done to increase the productivity of the agricultural sector?

We recognize the potential of Angola in terms of the existence of arable land. We have over 35 million ha of arable land. We still have a high dependence on the exterior, importing around 1.5 billion tons of food per year, which needs to change. We have the capacity to produce a variety of crops that are even considerable enough to export. We have the conditions to do so, but we still need to attract investment in fertilizer plants and improve the quality of our soil, so that production capacities are increased. We have around 35 million ha that is equivalent to 28% of our country’s land surface, and yet only 5 million ha are in use today, so there is huge growth potential.

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