How do you take from a sad past to create a bearable, even attractive future? Angola may have the idea as a new company makes new steel from old guns years after the devastation wrought by a 27 year-long civil war which non participants can only truly guess at.
As the 33 year-long serving President, Jose Eduardo dos Santos readies to vacate the office and wonder lingers on the question of who exactly will take his place, an enterprising steel company in the capital Luanda is set to be the source of more direct good news. Unlike the news of President Santos’ ‘retirement’, which can only insist on a little trepidation as questions of stability of the nation invade the mind, this steel company delivers more light-hearted hope as it converts the remnants of the 27 year conflict to good use.
Using guns and other abandoned weapons, they are generating raw materials for the steel mill. Basically, the guns and weapons which still littered the capital city in rusting piles will now be pressed back into use for more productive purposes. The project is the work of a French business man, Georges Choucair, who is the chairman of K2L Capital, he has worked in Angola since 1992 and over time became the country’s main steel importer.
This project means that he is now producing his own steel and Angola which is facing an economic crisis due to falling oil revenues will see a glimmer of hope. With oil accounting for 95% of Angola’s export and their continued importation of many essentials including; steel, rice and flour, cost of living is becoming increasingly expensive. The oil crisis has also led to social problems like unemployment, poverty and a worsening health crisis and the company still maintains it’s reputation of having one of the worst inequality problems (the opulent way of living of some privileged few is in sharp contrast to the rest of the citizens) in the world.
With all this in view, Choucair’s steel mill does provide the start of a solution to some of the problems facing the oil-dependent nation, but unless the government joins forces to support the growth of industry, Angola should consider itself far off from being out of the woods.