(Bloomberg) -- Angolan President Joao Lourenco has pledged to erect big infrastructure projects, including multi-billion dollar solar parks, if he gets re-elected at the helm of Africa’s second-biggest oil producer.
The southwest African country, which faces chronic power outages, will connect its dams to the national grid and build photo-voltaic parks to help meet its energy needs, Lourenco said in an interview with Portuguese broadcaster RTP. The government will also complete the construction of its national road network, a deep-water port and a long-delayed new airport in the capital Luanda, he said.
“We started the diversification of the economy, it was the goal of our previous mandate,” the president, who faces a general election on Aug. 24, said. “The country depends less on oil revenue because we are able to attract private investment to other sectors of the economy.”
Angola, which relies on oil for more than 95% of export revenue, has vast potential in terms of renewable energy. Twice the size of France, it has numerous large rivers and a desert in its southern border with Namibia. Last year, Lourenco said his government planned to increase the nation’s renewable capacity to 70% of the energy mix by 2025, from 62% currently.
President Joe Biden on June 26 said that the US agreed to back a partnership between Angola and two American firms to invest $2 billion to build new solar projects in the African country.
Also read: Angola Set to Vote on Aug. 24 in Key Test for President Lourenco
Lourenco, a former defense minister, said he was working to ensure that the ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola, or MPLA, wins the upcoming vote. In 2017, the party secured 61% support, and the National Union for the Total Liberation of Angola 27%. This year’s election is expected to be tighter, with a increasingly united opposition seen posing a stiffer challenge.
“I spend all my weekends outside Luanda working to secure my party’s victory,” he said. “We want to make sure there are no surprises.”
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