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Angola offers help to struggling Portugal

Angola offers help to struggling Portugal

Eurocasualty Portugal may get a helping hand from an unexpected source, it’s oil-rich former colony Angola:

Angola is prepared to help its former colonial power Portugal cope with its financial crisis, the oil-rich nation’s President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos said. After meeting visiting Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho, he said solutions needed to be found. They should be "advantageous for both countries" and "in a spirit of solidarity and mutual help", he said.

Analysts say Portugal’s economy is expected to contract by 2.8% next year and Angola’s to grow by 12%.

The IMF has agreed to give Portugal a $107bn bailout on condition that it introduces a wide range of economic reforms – including privatisation.

Analysts say Angola could buy stakes in some of the privatised companies.

Angola’s investments in Portugal have risen sharply in recent years. The figure in 2009 stood at $156m (£99m), compared to $2.1m in 2002, according to the Portuguese Institute of International Relations and Security (IPRIS), a Lisbon-based think-tank.

Angolan companies own the equivalent of 3.8% of companies listed on Portugal’s stock exchange, from banks to telecoms and energy, it says.

This may ultimately turn out to be a good deal for the Angolan government. Though given that 40 percent of the country lives in poverty and it has the world’s highest infant mortality rate, Angolans might reasonably wonder where all that oil and investment wealth is going.

On the Portuguese side, despite a dark and bloody colonial history, the country now seems relatively lucky to have some of the fastest growing economies in the developing world — Brazil, Angola, Mozambique — connected to it by history and language. (Passos Coelho actually grew up in Angola.)

Italy’s former colonial empire — comprised of the territories that are now Libya, Somalia, Ethiopia, and Eritrea — is likely to be in a far less generous mood.