Angola: Chinese companies in country ‘set to lose up to US$500 mln due to pandemic

Chinese companies in Angola have suffered losses of more than $350 million (€323 million) and could lose as much as $500 million due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the vice-president of the Angola-China Chamber of Commerce told the Jornal de Angola, a national daily newspaper.

In an interview published in Tuesday’s edition of the paper, Francisco Shen said that last year the turnover of these companies totalled $2.86 billion and that they invested some $206 million.

“The sudden outbreak of the pandemic is becoming unbearable,” Shen said. “The economic situation of Chinese companies in Angola is getting worse. If the situation does not improve, these losses will exceed five hundred million dollars.”

He added that the first quarter of 2020 saw losses on the part of all Chinese-owned companies present in Angola, both state and non-state.

Currently there are around 50,000 Chinese nationals in Angola, including business people, compared with the 200,000 registered at the end of 2019, he said.

“The vertiginous fall in the price of oil has led to the paralysis of infrastructure construction projects,” he noted, adding that many companies have chosen to withdraw from the market or transform their activities.

The chamber vice-president also said that last year the value of bilateral trade between China and Angola was $25.71 billion, down 8.35% from 2018. Chinese exports to Angola in 2019 totalled $2.056 billion. down 8.78%, while imports totalled $23.654 billion, down 8.31%.

In relation to restrictions on companies’ business hours due to the current state of emergency in Angola, Shen said that Chinese firms have strictly complied with the measures, mostly entirely closing down businesses for the duration.

“All personnel are quarantined at home,” he said, citing as examples two shopping centres, China City and Kilamba Shopping. “We all make use of masks, hand-washing, use of disinfectants and temperature measurement.”

Angola currently has 27 positive cases of infection by the new coronavirus that causes Covid-19, with the disease claiming two lives so far in the country.

Worldwide the pandemic has so far caused more than 211,000 deaths, with more than 3 million people in 193 countries and territories having been infected.