The decision to this regard was taken during the first Foreign Office Consultations between the two countries in Luanda
Indicating growing bilateral relations between India and Angola, the two countries on Friday held inaugural Foreign Office Consultations in Luanda and carried out a comprehensive review of ongoing cooperation in trade and economic relations, defence, energy, agriculture, development partnership, health and pharmaceuticals, science and technology, culture and people-to-people ties.

According to the Ministry of External Affairs, the two sides also exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual interest, including cooperation in the UN and other multilateral fora, climate change, International Solar Alliance (ISA) and sustainable development.

India and Angola have traditionally enjoyed warm and friendly relations, which are based on shared values and common vision. The high-level engagements between India and Angola have helped to further strengthen the bilateral relations of the two countries.

In September 2020, the Foreign Ministers of the two countries co-chaired the First Joint Commission Meeting, giving a fresh impetus to the bilateral relations of the two countries.

Held through video conferencing, the Joint Commission Meeting was co-chaired by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Angola’s Minister of External Relations Ambassador Tete Antonio.

During the meeting, the Indian side offered to share India's expertise to support the Angolan Government's economic diversification plans through capacity building, infrastructure development in key areas of health, education, solar electrification, mining, agriculture, fisheries, food processing etc, while also leveraging Angola's strengths in the petroleum and diamonds sector, the MEA said.

At the FOC, while the Indian side was led by Sevala Naik Mude, Additional Secretary (Central &West Africa Division of the MEA, the Angolan side was headed by Ambassador Esmeralda Bravo Conde Da Silva Mendonca, the African country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Secretary of State.

There was detailed talk on available opportunities for enhanced cooperation in the fields of rough diamonds trade, agriculture, food processing and defence cooperation including the government of India’s offer of an LOC of US$ 100 million to Angola for defence procurement. Both sides exchanged views on diversification of the trade basket for mutual benefit.

India-Angola trade and economic relations

India is the 3rd largest trading partner of Angola sharing about 10% of Angola’s external trade. India’s import from Angola is primarily driven by crude oil which is 3% of our global oil import.

The balance of trade is in Angola’s favour, with India as the 2nd largest oil importer of Angola, which accounts for 90% of our bilateral trade.

India’s trade relationship has long remained driven by oil partnership and there is a need to diversify our trade into other areas. In 2020-21, the bilateral trade stood at US$ 2.1 billion; while the total imports stood at US$ 1879.74 million whereas the exports from India was US$ 259.60 million.

In 2021-22, the bilateral trade increased to US$ 3.2 billion (48% increase over previous FY), with the exports during the period being US$ 452 million and imports being US$ 2725 million. The two-way trade--from April 2022 to October 2022—stood at US$2.337 billion. During this period, while India imported US$ 1943 worth of goods, it exported US$394 worth of goods.

In fact, the bilateral trade between India and Angola has shown a healthy growth trend during the last three years and has increased from US$ 2.14 billion during 2020-21 to US$ 4.22 billion in 2022-23.

India’s export basket for Angola consists of pharmaceutical products, machinery and mechanical appliances, vehicles, food, electrical machinery and equipment and ceramic products. On the other hand, imports from Angola consist of mineral fuels and oil, precious stones like diamonds, machinery and mechanical appliances and aluminium.

Training and capacity building

Each year, India provides 12 slots for Angola under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation programme (ITEC) and 30 slots under the ICCR scholarship programme.

30 ICCR slots have been granted to Angola in 2022-23, whereas 40 scholarships were granted in the year 2021-22 for Angolan students who are doing their Under-Graduation / Post Graduation in variety of courses in various Universities across India. Six officials from the Angolan government participated in the Special PCFD course in FSI from May 06-18, 2019.

Indian community

The Indian community in Angola is around 4000 persons, mainly in business and professionals in offshore oil fields and workers in the establishments of Indian owners mostly engaged in catering, supermarkets, trading, and other services; in industries dealing in plastics, metal, steel, garments.

In the non-oil sector, a number of projects are being undertaken by Indian companies in retail, hospitality, agriculture plastics, and scrap metal, steel, trading, and other services.