Accepted paper:

Building Angola: a political economy of infrastructure contractors in post-war Angola


Carlos Oya (SOAS)
Fernandes Wanda (SOAS, University of London)
Borja Monreal (SIC4Change / FAO)

Paper short abstract:

We analyse the configuration and segmentation of the infrastructure constrution market in post-2002 Angola, by comparing national and international contractors, organised around distinct segments by origin of contractors, finance and type of projects.

Paper long abstract:

In a context of post conflict reconstruction a key opportunity for economic development is the accelerated growth of the sector of construction companies with capacities to build large-scale infrastructure and where both rent-seeking opportunities and development outcomes are significant. The Angolan case was also particular because the post-conflict reconstruction period coincided with the oil price boom, thereby generating additional volume of rents and more potential for different kinds of public works and an expansion of the construction sector. This led not only to massive contract opportunities to well established international contractors, especially from Portugal and Brazil, but also to two new sets of players: • Chinese SOEs, on the back of large credit lines linking oil rents and infrastructure projects • Angolan ventures, associated with the emerging business elite linked to the MPLA and the Dos Santos business/political networks We argue that, during the years of bonanza, the volume of rents, combined with massive infrastructure needs and a political appetite to deliver 'development' led to the crafting of different market spaces for these different sets of contractors. Different 'segments' were therefore gradually produced, which have survived to this day. The post 2015 crisis has presented a new scenario where contractors scramble for contracts and suffer from finance and forex shortages. How they responded to the crisis also reflects the different constraints and incentives these segments confront.

panel Econ28
Building and connecting Africa: Infrastructure construction and economic development in the XXIst century