Angola is a southern African country, a former Portuguese colony, and an emergent economic power on the continent. It’s a relatively large country, occupying 481,400 mi.² of space, and a population of approximately 29.3 million people. As one of the most prosperous countries on the continent, Angola boasts a GDP of $124.21 billion (2017) and a GDP per capita of $3484.60. The industries contributing most to Angolan GDP include construction, mining, public administration, services, and transport.
The country is a major producer of crude oil in Africa, particularly along the western coastline of the continent in the Cabinda province. The lack of rural development has given tremendous momentum to renewable energy initiatives in the country. It is estimated that approximately 64% of Angola’s power is generated through hydropower, 24% via fossil fuels, and 12% via natural gas. Like many emerging market economies, Angola struggles with the provision of infrastructure and services to rural areas. These essential services are required for daily business operations, development initiatives, commercial and subsistence farming.
The overarching objective of renewable energy empowerment is the provision of stable, reliable and high-quality energy to the whole country. The International Hydropower Association supports the notion that Angola should tap into its hydropower options, given the many rivers in the country. Experts attest to the incredible hydropower capacity in Angola at around 18,200 MW. As such, innovators, renewable energy experts, and multinational conglomerates are seeking to assist in the development of hydropower facilities in the country. These broad scale initiatives are capital intensive undertakings, with strategic timelines.
Solar energy is another area being targeted by renewable energy initiatives in the country. Back in 2014, plans were drafted for a possible 55 GW solar energy plant as part of the 2025 energy plan set forth by the authorities. Wind energy a.k.a. wind power is also being targeted as part of a multi-pronged renewable energy empowerment initiative in the country, with ambitious objectives of 500 MW of energy production being targeted.
How Are Angolan Business Leaders Helping to Build the Necessary Infrastructure?
It is a little-known fact that Angola is the largest oil producing country in Africa. This places it front and centre as an economic powerhouse on the continent. The capital city of Luanda is widely considered the most luxurious enclave of the superrich on the continent. As part of the overall economic diversification strategies for the development of the country, business leaders are applying their smarts to help locals grow the economy from grassroots level through to corporate enterprise.
A solid economic framework is now in place to tap into the rich oil industry on the continent, by developing the local workforce to meet these exigent needs. Beyond oil, Angola is also rich in minerals, and corporate leaders are already working hard to develop this burgeoning sector to drive empowerment through education, skills acquisition, and technological innovation.
Renewable energy opportunities are helping to fast track the process of upliftment for the disparate communities across the country. Outside of the capital city and the urban areas, a lack of development has led to a disproportionate wealth distribution paradigm. The Gini coefficient (measuring wealth distribution around the mean) in Angola has steadily been improving over the years, but remains high at the last measured observation of 42.7 in 2018.
This means much work needs to be done by business leaders and government to even out these economic disparities. Renewable energy development and the employment opportunities it provides can certainly assist. It can foster social integration, build communication networks, facilitate educational initiatives and build business enterprise.
The Rise of African Stars
There are many rising stars in the business world who are deeply committed to building the renewable energy networks in Angola. Foremost among them is Isabel Dos Santos. Her Angolan enterprises include, Unitel, ZAP, CANDANDO, SODIBA and EFACEC. These companies employ thousands of people across Angola, with multiple empowerment and development initiatives supported.
For example, EFACEC power solutions is a major player in mobility, engineering and energy. It is a global leader in the development of electric vehicles. Dos Santos is one of those visionary leaders with an eye to empowerment for the next generation of African people. Her strong educational background in engineering has facilitated forward-thinking companies with a strong focus on employment, education and corporate social responsibility.
Isabel’s personal goals dovetail with her business goals of empowerment of women throughout Africa. Her companies do this through social entrepreneurship initiatives where people are given the opportunity to improve their communities and attain their business objectives simultaneously.
Her tireless efforts in Angola, and beyond are having a marked impact on society.
Isabel is regarded as an innovative entrepreneur; a woman who is passionate about business growth, the future of electric mobility, and developing ‘women power’ in the workforce. As a symbol of African innovation, Isabel is taking her brand of social empowerment to the people and working with them to cultivate a climate of innovation, prosperity, and gender equality.