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Interviews

Interviews .

SPIEF 2019 .

By Isabel dos Santos .

Education is the most innovative sector

Sputnik followed a Russian-African business session carried out under the International Economic Forum in St Petersburg (SPIEF) and spoke with the Angolan businesswoman Isabel dos Santos about the prospects for Russian-Angolan economic cooperation.

In April, Angolan President João Lourenço made an official visit to Moscow, where he declared the importance of expanding economic cooperation with Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin has stated in turn that Moscow hopes to promote bilateral relations with Luanda in various levels.

As part of Lourenço’s visit to Russia, the Russian-Angolan Economic Forum was attended by around 130 Angolan businessmen and more than 400 Russian businessmen, who showed their interest in cooperating with Angola and in investing in the economy of the African country.

The businesswoman and head of the board of the Angolan operator Unitel, Isabel dos Santos, gave her opinion on prospects for cooperation between Russia and Angola.

“I believe there is a great potential in the relations between Russia and Angola, especially since in the past some Russian companies have already invested in Angola. We have examples of success, such as Alrosa [Russian giant of the diamond sector] that has a very important mining project in Angola, a great project worldwide “, she told to Sputnik Brazil.

Isabel dos Santos stressed that, although Angola is looking for foreign investments, the country needs long-term cooperation with its partners, which should be mutually advantageous.

“We really need investments, but above all we need to exchange sustainable investments. These investments make sense for partners, for Russian companies, but also for investors and Angolan partners. I think we can find a balance that really counts points of interest on both sides and on top of that business interest we can build a stronger and more solid economic cooperation between the two countries, “said the businesswoman

Today, most Russian investments in the Angolan economy are channelled towards the energy sector and to the mining industry. However, the modern economic situation requires cooperation in the most innovative sectors. For Isabel dos Santos, in the case of Russia, it could be investments from Russian companies in the Angolan education sector.

“For me, the most innovative sector is the area of education. Maybe this answer sounds a bit strange, but I believe we have to innovate a lot the training area. I’m not talking about literacy; I’m actually talking about education, for example computers, people who dominate technical sectors, because without staff it is very difficult to move towards the fourth industrial revolution, towards the digitization. Russia, in turn, has strong software development companies in the IT sector and there can be strong cooperation and investments from Russian companies, but also from Angolan businessmen in the sector, “she said.

The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) took place from 6 to 8 June. The event, held annually, has become one of the largest spaces for communication between entrepreneurs and for discussion of the main global economic challenges.