Greetings from the Ambassador
As the new Ambassador of Norway to Angola, I look forward to spend the next years in this country, three times the size of Norway and with four times as many people. I will work hard to maintain and build on the great relationship that exists between our two countries. In fact, in 2012 Norway and Angola celebrate 35 years of diplomatic relations.
I remember vividly the popular movement in Norway, and the rest of Scandinavia, for independence of Angola in the early 70’ties. Many things have changed since those days. Today, Angola is Norway’s biggest and most important economic partner in Africa.
There are some striking similarities between the geography and natural resources that our two countries possess. Norway, like Angola, has a long coastline with abundant petroleum and fish resources. Norway, just like Angola, has mountains and waterfalls, with a potential for hydropower and the development of clean energy. These similarities present a unique opportunity for mutually beneficial cooperation.
Through the Nansen-program, Norway has assisted Angola in mapping marine resources since 1985. Soon we will sign another bilateral agreement on renewed cooperation in the fisheries sector. Our mutual cooperation in the energy sector has even longer traditions. Norway helped to sponsor the energy secretariat of SADC when it was first established in Luanda in 1980. Drawing on its experience and expertise from establishing offshore activities in the North Sea, Norway started cooperating with Angola in the petroleum sector in 1987. Our solid bilateral ties lead us to explore ever new fields of common interests, as demonstrated by our emerging cooperation in human rights issues.
The ties between our two countries also includes an important people-to-people relations; the two Norwegian organizations the Norwegian People’s Aid and the Norwegian Church Aid are among the biggest foreign NGO’s in Angola. They are doing important work such as i.e. clearing landmines, building water wells and building capacity in the local civil society. Did you know that NPA has for example helped Angola remove 296,873 unexploded items off its territory, helping to clear 447,374 m2 of land…?? In the field of academics, the Catholic University’s Centro de Estudos e Investigação Cientifica(CEIC) has a broad based joint research program with the Norwegian Christian Michelsen’s Institute of Bergen.
And last, but not least: The cooperation in the petroleum sector is vibrant and steadily growing. Several Norwegian companies are established with big operations in Angola. To the leading Norwegian oil company Statoil, Angola represented 34% of the volume of their foreign production in 2010. In 2011, Statoil was made operator in promising pre-salt areas, located on block 38 and 39, partnering with i.a. Sonangol, thus potentially entering a new and exciting era of its more than 20 years history of being present “on the ground” in Angola.
In conclusion, I feel confident that the cooperation between Norway and Angola will continue to grow. On a more personal level, I really look forward to explore not only the political and commercial opportunities that the country offers, but also the people, nature, music and literature of Angola.
Please do not hesitate to contact the Norwegian Embassy in Luanda, and to visit our web-site: www.noruega.ao
With warm regards,