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Manuel Francisco Pedro

ANGOLA - Economy

Manuel Francisco Pedro

CEO, Luanda-Bengo Special Economic Zone (ZEE)

Bio

Manuel Francisco Pedro holds a degree in economics and a post-graduate degree in economic policies and development and was appointed President of the Board of Directors of the Luanda/Bengo Special Economic Zone in January 2023 by the President of the Republic. He has assumed various roles throughout his career, first member of the Supervisory Board Bolsa de Divida e Valores de Angola, coordinator of the subcommittee on finance of SADC, chairman of the board of training centers of the International Monetary Fund (Afritac South eATI), chairman of the supervisory board of the National Post and Telegraph Company of Angola, director of the International Relations Office of the Ministry of Finance of Angola, and senior consultant at the World Bank, among other senior positions.

"The Special Economic Zone’s agenda is aligned with the country’s development and industrialization agenda put forth by the government through the National Development Plan."
The Luanda-Bengo ZEE constitutes the largest space in Angola set aside for industrial projects that will eventually contribute to the country’s economic development and national employment.
What are your initiatives as the new CEO of the ZEE?

The Special Economic Zone’s agenda is aligned with the country’s development and industrialization agenda put forth by the government through the National Development Plan. As the CEO of ZEE, my goal is to optimize the company and its operations to increase our contribution to the country’s GDP via six key pillars: attract appropriate new businesses; develop new infrastructures; optimize the service offering and develop new services; optimize the organizational structure and internal processes; increase productivity, connectivity, and sustainability; and conclude the transition into a free zone and incorporate attractive incentives for investors and companies. Within the six key pillars and with a special focus toward developing new infrastructure as well as attracting appropriate new business, another goal that is fundamental to our vision is developing our secondary reserve, also known as the Uala AgroIndustrial Reserve. The Uala Reserve boasts a total area of 2,860ha and is still an embryonic project; in other words, it is a blank canvas.

What were the most remarkable projects and investments in ZEE in 2022?

Angola’s economic growth has led to an increase in the number of projects submitted for approval in the 2022 fiscal year. In 2022, the project that stood out the most was the future implementation of a shopping center with an estimated worth of USD13.2 million, according to a feasibility study. This remarkable project, which aims to begin in 2H2023, is expected to contribute to the increment of the number of jobs generated in the zone and also generate a turnover of approximately USD241.8 million within five years.

What actions is ZEE taking to encourage national production, attract private investment, create jobs, and contribute to the diversification of the economy?

ZEE has been committed to the diversification of Angola’s economy by implementing a strategic plan that puts forth a number of strategic objectives aimed to encourage national production. By focusing on the development of quality infrastructures in the zone, the goal is to attract FDI for the continuous industrialization and development of the zone. These industries contribute positively to the employability rate as we have seen a rise in the number of jobs that were generated, reaching 6,000 direct work posts in the last four years. ZEE has also employed initiatives that aim to facilitate the implementation of projects in the zone by creating the Investors Support Office (GAI).

What are the ZEE’s priorities in the coming years?

ZEE has several main priorities in the medium term. First is to develop new infrastructure to develop specific areas for sectors and clusters of industrial units operating in similar industries to promote interactions between companies and leverage interdependencies to create simpler logistics solutions and increase competitive advantages. The level of infrastructure in the Viana reserve currently covers only 11% of the total area of 4,718ha while the Uala reserve of 2,878ha has not yet been fully developed. We also want to optimize our service offerings and develop new ones. ZEE intends to facilitate a more favorable business climate than that in the rest of the country and increase its service offerings. This should include the integration of the business and investor support service through GAI and an increase in security services, among others. ZEE also aims to attract new businesses that are aligned with its focus sectors. This will require a proactive approach to marketing and business development by the ZEE management. The initiatives are adopting a new marketing approach, attracting promoters and attracting co-developers/investors. ZEE also needs to implement internal policies, procedures and processes to ensure efficiency in its operations and to minimize operational risks. In addition, to further increase productivity, ZEE intends to adopt technological tools and digitize services to improve efficiency and increase its value proposition. ZEE will also work with the government to improve links to logistics infrastructure and integrate value chains to improve the flow of materials.

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