Having been a diplomat for many years and with successful missions as Ambassador in Mexico, Indonesia, and Qatar, Ambassador Ewa Polano was more than ready to take on the position in Angola. She left Doha and came straight to Luanda mid-September, where she has now served for four months. As the Portuguese market is a good steppingstone to lusophone countries, she reached out to initiate some constructive cooperation between the Embassy of Sweden in Luanda and the Câmara de Comércio Luso-Sueca in Portugal. After spending a week in Ponte de Lima in July at an intense course in Portuguese, her taste for Portugal, its rich culture, beautiful landscapes, and its amazing food, was reawakened after earlier vacations in Portugal, and she found a new favorite pastry in the famous Pastel de Nata.
In the following dialogue, she reaches out to the Swedish industry and professionals on the Portuguese market in an extended Team Sweden collaboration on the Angolan market.
Ewa Polano, who is an enthusiastic person and a dynamic Ambassador, was happy to be invited to this month’s Newsletter. Leading the Embassy of Sweden in Luanda, one of Sweden´s smallest Embassies, with one sent-out Diplomat (herself) and three local employees Ewa herself calls it a “micro-Embassy”, and adds that you need to be rather experienced at such Embassies, and be a multi-task diplomat, handling what to tell the President, support Swedish companies, meet ministers and pay the invoices for example. Even being a “micro” Embassy, Angola has been for several years one of the 26 focus countries for the Swedish Government’s foreign trade strategy and therefore there is constantly a high workload for the promotion of Sweden and Swedish-Angolan trade.
What are the opportunities for increased Swedish-Angolan trade and business relations, from your point of view as Ambassador?
Angola and Sweden have longstanding relations and we celebrate 50 years of cooperation this year 2020. Sweden has a very good name in Angola and the Embassy used to be one of the biggest. However, after phasing out the big development cooperation program ten years ago with Angola, we are now focusing on trade relations. Angola is eager to diversify its economy, away from oil and diamonds only, into a knowledge-based and structural system. The challenges are many, but the potential is now growing again, especially after President Lourenço took office in late 2017.
The fight against corruption has given concrete results, especially after Transparency International‘s new ranking was published now in January 2020 and Angola jumped from 165 to 146, which is despite the low level, still an impressive improvement.
How could the Swedish-Portuguese Chamber of Commerce (the CLS) and its readers contribute to an increased awareness of the changes that Angola is going through?
I have already seen the strong possibilities of working with President Jennifer Ekström of the CLS in an incoming ICT telecom delegation. We are in the final preparation phases and they are coming in mid-February. There is a very natural link through the CLS in Portugal to Angola – the historic relations and the language but also the Swedish companies in Portugal, who are not yet represented in Angola or who cover Angola from Portugal, are very interesting for the Swedish Embassy in Luanda to reach out to. The synergies are obvious and I hope to work closely together with the Chamber in the coming years.
Where are the main opportunities for the Swedish industry 2020-2021?
Angola needs further development in ICT, telecom, they need better health care, they are eager to work on the waste management potential and environmental technology, in general, has strong potential, and of course transportation, vehicles, and equipment to the mining industry.
And, tell us more about the MoU signed between Angola and Sweden during 2019 – how can this support the increased collaboration in the development of the ICT sector between both countries?
Sweden was part of the development of Angola's first national strategy for ICT and Telecom development about 15-20 years back. During recent years, when the Angolan White Book in ICT was developed, Swedish and Angolan Ministries of IT and Telecom worked on a Memorandum of Understanding - cooperation in the field of Telecommunications and Information Technologies. The MoU developed and signed by both countries in 2019, serves as a base and platform to facilitate the business and bilateral trade between Angola and Sweden upon:
The Embassy of Sweden is also working with the Analyses of the Angolan ICT white book that was made by CLS President Jennifer Ekström, early 2019 and that now serves as a great document for the Swedish companies increased insights about the Angolan ICT market. This, together with the MoU are also the backgrounds to our upcoming delegation and I want to see more Swedish digital and ICT solutions being part of the continuous collaboration under the MoU with potential to establish on the Angolan market.
Finally, do you have any special words to the CLS community?
I look forward to very close cooperation between the Embassy of Sweden with the CLS in Portugal. I see a strong potential for creative energy leading to synergies and more trade with win-win results when merging our interests at the Embassy and the CLS’s interest. I welcome contact and visits during the coming years!
VACANCY AT EMBASSY OF SWEDEN IN LUANDA
THE EMBASSY OF SWEDEN IN LUANDA IS LOOKING FOR A NEW TEAM MEMBER
- ARE YOU DYNAMIC, ORGANISED AND INTERESTED OF SWEDISH TRADE- AND CULTURAL PROMOTION? AS WELL AS HAS A DRIVE FOR THE PORTUGUESE SPEAKING AFRICA?
SEND YOUR APPLICATION UNTIL JANUARY 31ST!