The Business Year


ANGOLA - Energy & Mining

Elisabete Alves

Chairperson, MCA Group


With a degree in Civil Engineering from the School of Engineering at the University of Minho, and a postgraduate degree in Municipal Engineering from the same faculty, Elisabete Alves has more than two decades of professional experience in Civil Construction and Public Works. Between 1999 and 2001, Elisabete Alves was an assistant professor in the disciplines of “Design and Architectural Elements,” “Spatial Planning,” and “Traffic Engineering” at the School of Engineering of the University of Minho. Elisabete began a professional career at MCA in 2001, during which he held different positions, always on a path of growth along with the Group’s own growth. For several years he took over the Direction of the Studies and Proposals department. In 2018, Elisabete assumed the role of Chairman of the Board of Directors of MCA in Angola and is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Holding. Elisabete has responsibility for the Angolan market and the Infrastructure business segment and is also responsible for the Engineering Center – the Group’s corporate center.

"MCA, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2023, was established in 1998 by businessman Manuel Couto Alves."
TBY talks to Elisabete Alves, Chairperson of MCA Group, about solar energy, applying global experience to Angola, and plans for the coming year.
MCA is focused on developing business areas such as renewable energy, circular economy, urban development, and health. What motivated MCA to prioritize these services in Angola?

MCA, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2023, was established in 1998 by businessman Manuel Couto Alves. The company’s initial focus revolved around infrastructure development encompassing roads, housing, and maritime works. Over the years, we realized the significance of two crucial pillars. The first pillar was urban development, driven by our expertise in transforming cities and constructing large-scale logistical facilities, primarily in Spain. The second pillar emerged naturally as we recognized the urgent need to address climate change and embrace renewable energies as an integral part of our evolution. In 2017, we recognized the growing importance of the energy sector and made a deliberate transition toward intervention in this field. By diversifying our portfolio and embracing renewable energy initiatives, we aim to contribute to Angola’s sustainable development and address the pressing global concerns surrounding energy consumption and climate change.

How has investment in seven solar power plants impacted the development of solar energy in the country, and what future impact can be expected?

MCA has embarked on a solar portfolio comprising 370MW of photovoltaic solar energy in Angola. Among the seven projects, the largest one, Biopio and Baía Farta, totalling 285MW, are already operational. These achievements are significant in the context of goal of Angola Government to reach an installed capacity of 9.9GW antil 2025, with 8% coming from renewable energy sources. With the completion of the two projects alone, already contributed 30% toward this goal. The remaining five projects, totalling 85MW, are currently under execution and are expected to be completed by the end of 2024. Once all seven projects are concluded, it will be able to provide renewable and clean energy access to approximately 2 million people. Moreover, the completion of these projects will result in the reduction of approximately 900,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year. We are excited to announce a new project focused on rural electrification. This project cover 60 locations across five provinces: Bié, Malange, Lunda Norte, Lunda Sul, and Moxico. Its completion will add 296MW to the country installed capacity and the annual generation of 482GWh of clean energy. These endeavours represent significant milestones in our mission to promote renewable energy in Angola.

In what specific ways does the MCA Group utilize its extensive global experience across different continents to maximize the growth and potential of renewable energy in Angola?

We have good staff with the know-how to boost renewable energies in Angola. Our energy vertical has effectively utilized the experience gained from our operations in other countries to drive renewable energy projects, storage and battery solutions, and electrification initiatives here in Angola. This valuable experience has positioned us a crucial link between the Angolan government’s objectives of expanding electrification, reducing ecological impact, and achieving decarbonization goals. We act as a bridge, aligning the requirements of the executive branch and the Angolan government with the expectations of sustainable-focused investors and our technological partners. By combining these crucial elements, we can deliver projects that incorporate cutting-edge technological solutions while offering the Angolan government favourable financing options with competitive rates.

How does prioritizing and investing in Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) initiatives benefit companies?

Investing in ESG initiatives holds significant importance in our business model, where companies strive to meet all customer requirements from project development to final delivery. Environmental and social considerations must be thoroughly incorporated into every aspect of the project. Additionally, adhering to international models and regulations is essential for the company’s operations. For MCA, this commitment to ESG principles is exemplified by our issuance of an integrated annual accounts report for the first time. We are delighted to take this significant step, as the report will integrate financial data with the environmental, social, and governance metrics of our organization. This comprehensive approach requires investment across the entire organizational chain. Furthermore, funding entities highly value organizations that demonstrate a strong focus on ESG factors. Environmental and social impact studies are often critical for securing financing approvals, and projects that receive such funding undergo rigorous scrutiny to ensure that proposed commitments are fulfilled.

The technology sector is an important player in the Angolan economy for its correct development, what are the technologies used by MCA Group at the moment?

The MCA Group collaborates with esteemed technological partners worldwide, aiming to deliver advanced technological solutions that are sustainable and have long-term maintenance capacity. When it comes to electrifying countries or communities, we follow a progressive approach, starting with urban areas before extending to rural and remote regions; however, this poses a challenge in Angola due to its vast territorial expanse. Implementing the traditional model would be prohibitively expensive and result in a high per capita energy access ratio for geographically dispersed communities. To address this challenge, we have conceptualized mini-grid solutions, which involve deploying isolated systems in communities. These systems incorporate renewable energy generation, specifically photovoltaic solar energy, with appropriately sized photovoltaic parks. The energy produced during the day is not only made available for immediate use, but also stored in lithium batteries for nighttime use. We also construct medium and low-voltage mini-networks tailored to the size of the community. These isolated systems operate solely on renewable energy, eliminating the need for diesel generation or external intervention. This highly technological solution allows us to provide 100% renewable energy access to communities that were previously without reliable energy sources—an essential asset in today’s world. By adopting this innovative approach, we not only contribute to bridging the energy gap but also prioritize sustainability and environmental consciousness. This solution exemplifies our commitment to leveraging technology for the benefit of populations lacking access to essential energy resources.

What are the company’s plans for the upcoming year?

Our plans entail continuing on the path we have forged with unwavering effort. We aim to be recognized in the market as a key player and developer of solutions that address global concerns. This commitment stems from our dedication to projects that provide 100% renewable energy, promote road infrastructure for efficient transportation of goods and people, and deliver treated water of high quality to communities, meeting their basic needs. Sustaining these endeavours is our focus for the remainder of 2023 and the upcoming year. We firmly believe in the path we have chosen and anticipate further growth. Establishing enduring partnerships with local authorities is crucial as we strive to address emerging challenges in various locations. We aim to develop projects tailored to the specific needs of these communities, contributing to their sustainable development. Our objective extends beyond simply constructing and executing projects; we aspire to create lasting impacts on communities and people’s lives. We prioritize projects that are socially and environmentally sustainable, ensuring that the influence we exert is meaningful and enduring. This has been our ongoing mission, and we remain dedicated to upholding these principles in all our endeavours going forward.



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