Africa

Pompeo touts US investment as alternative to Chinese loans on Africa trip

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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo denounced corruption and touted American business on Monday during the second leg of an African tour in Angola, where the government is seeking to claw back billions of dollars looted from state coffers.

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Pompeo is aiming to promote U.S. investment as an alternative to Chinese loans while assuaging concerns over a planned U.S military withdrawal and the expansion of visa restrictions targeting four African countries.

In Angolas capital Luanda, Pompeo met with President Joao Lourenco, who took office in 2017 promising wide-ranging economic reforms and a crackdown on the endemic graft that marked his predecessor Jose Eduardo dos Santos four-decade rule.

“Here in Angola, damage from corruption is pretty clear,” he told a group of businessmen following that meeting. “This reform agenda that the president put in place has to stick.”

Portugals public prosecutor has ordered the seizure of bank accounts belonging to Isabel dos Santos, the former presidents billionaire daughter, who is a suspect in an Angolan fraud investigation.

Reputedly the richest woman in Africa, she has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

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Africas second-largest oil producer

Angola, with sub-Saharan Africas third-largest economy and its second-largest oil producer is ranked as one of the worlds most corrupt nations, in 165th place on a list of 180 countries, according to anti-corruption group Transparency International.

U.S. oil majors Exxon Mobil and Chevron have significant stakes in Angolan oil fields.

Last year, Chevron signed onto a consortium to develop Angolas natural gas assets alongside Italys Eni, Frances Total, BP and Angolan state oil company Sonangol.

“Weve got a group of energy companies that have put more than $2 billion in a natural gas project. That will rebound to the benefit of the American businesses for sure, but to the Angolan people for sure as well,” Pompeo said.

Despite U.S. investments, the bulk of Angolas oil production is destined for China, which holds the lions share of Angolan foreign debt.

The Trump administration has accused China of predatory lending in Africa, where Beijing has loaned governments billions of dollars for infrastructure projects in exchange for access to naturalRead More – Source