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Carlos Alberto da Silva Gregório dos Santos Minister of Public Works, Urban Planning, and Housing

ANGOLA - Real Estate & Construction

Carlos Alberto da Silva Gregório dos Santos

Minister, Ministry of Public Works, Urban Planning, and Housing

Bio

Carlos Alberto da Silva Gregório dos Santos is an assistant professor at the Catholic University of Angola (UCAN) and Private University of Angola (UPRA). He holds a degree in economic sciences a master’s in management, and a specialization in public works contracts, and is currently working on his PhD in economics. He was Secretary of State for Public Works from 2019-2022, having also held the position of National Director in several ministerial departments.

"The construction sector must open up to the world."
Angola’s Ministry of Public Works, Urbanism and Housing is focused on formulating policies and executing projects to improve the overall infrastructure in the country.
How does the Ministry of Public Works, Urbanism and Housing contribute to the development of Angola?

The Ministry of Public Works, Urban Planning, and Housing is primarily responsible for providing infrastructure. Roads, bridges, and social housing all contribute to our country’s development. For example, it has recently been possible to asphalt 14,000km of roads. In addition, we were able to build around 4,500 bridges. This is important, not only because the roads and bridges contributed to a safer circulation of people and goods, but also because it allowed a much smoother flow of production from source to consumer. It also allows other sectors, such as tourism, energy, water, and health, to develop due to ease of access. Another important area for our sector is housing. The goal of this plan is, above all, that the state provides infrastructure, so that the private sector can find opportunities to build and conduct business. Another important sector that I would mention is municipal master plans. Cities must be ordered and organized, and for that, the responsibility of our sector is to provide the organization of the national territory. We try to make sure that our activity is completely organized concerning the delimitation of cities. We separate the areas into agricultural, industrial, and residential areas. Here, we could mention the urbanism domain, where we have already drawn up 28 municipal master plans in recent years, with more to come. The country has 164 municipalities total, and so catering to all of them remains a challenge for the coming years. The final aspect is the generation of employment. In recent years, we have generated around 40,000 jobs. We give young people many opportunities, as our youth must be prioritized. So, with these 40,000 jobs created in recent years, the construction sector can make its contribution to reducing the high unemployment rate that prevails in Angola.

How does the ministry pursue cooperation with other countries in the sphere of infrastructure?

The construction sector must open up to the world. In bilateral terms, we have major cooperation with certain countries, like China, Spain, Germany, Portugal, South Africa, the UK, Brazil. For example, Germany supports Angola by providing funding for public investment. This investment aims to revitalize roads and bridges, especially in southern Angola. Chinese investment has served to build roads, bridges, and social housing. In the multilateral domain, we have protocols signed with the United Nations agency for housing, UN-Habitat, which is also responsible for providing technical assistance and reinforcement programs. UN-Habitat is an agency of the UN, and we need to provide the lines and strategies that Angola can follow, meeting the challenge in both urbanization and housing construction. We also have a contract signed with the African Development Bank, which in essence is a global banking agency. We have signed protocols that allow us to intervene more in the area of urban planning and land use planning, financing the missing master plans.

What would you advise to a foreign investor keen to enter the Angolan market?

The safety of our financial system is impressive because we have credibility with the World Bank and the IMF, which approves the reforms that Angola has introduced to ensure the stability of public finances. Angola also offers much better conditions for investors. For a long period, Angola has worked with public investments. In the field of roads, we sent a big message to foreign investors interested in the maintenance of our roads through concession contracts. We also opened the field in the area of public-private partnerships, and have businesses in the construction sector to attract private investors. We have open investments for various materials used in the construction of our roads, and this galvanizes our market. However, we face a huge challenge of building Angola’s first motorway, which will connect southern and northern Angola. It is estimated to be around 1,400km in length. Angola, in the public works sector, is welcoming of mutually advantageous contracts where the investor and Angola both win.

After the August elections, the Ministry of Public Works and Land Planning became the Ministry of Public Works, Urbanism, and Housing. What are the differences, since it has changed, and what projects will we see over the coming years?

Our focus with the new mandate is to give greater attention to urbanism. This is an important matter, and we have to change the nature of our cities, towns, provinces, and our country for the better. So, the first message is to pay greater attention to issues of urbanism and land use planning. The second message is about housing. Not only will we continue building social housing, completing the works already in progress, but we are going to launch a specific project called “directed self-construction.” Another important action is a program of road circulars that will be installed in all provinces of our country. We are also working on a toll and weighing program. Overall, to better maintain our roads, public investment is not enough, as the private sector, too, can contribute to the task. That’s why we are keen on the public-private partnership model. The best way for Angola to develop its infrastructure, particularly in the construction sector, is through a consistent commitment to public-private partnerships (PPPs). With this, we aim to build new roads, bridges, crushing and emulsion plants, and road maintenance through concession to a private company. Over the next five years, we intend to asphalt around 5,000km of roads. On average, we stand to asphalt 1,000km a year. As for the bridges, we intend to build a total length of about 2,500 meters. Regarding housing, we intend to build 50,000 housing units with contribution of private Sector. Regarding the continuous generation of employment, we intend to contribute with more than 30,000 jobs over the coming five years. All this will deliver a single message, namely the sheer scale of the construction sector’s contribution to GDP, and to the development and growth of our economy.

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