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Cablegate: World Bank Angola Bridging Two Worlds

VZCZCXRO6933
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHLU #1270/01 3541818
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 201818Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY LUANDA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4502
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 LUANDA 001270

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

FOR AF/S
NSC FOR PITTMAN AND LEO

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EFIN EAID ECON AO
SUBJECT: WORLD BANK ANGOLA BRIDGING TWO WORLDS

1. (SBU) Summary. World Bank Country Representative -
Angola Alberto Chueca is decidedly more upbeat about
prospects for successful Bank engagement in Angola than he
was only three weeks ago, when he last met the Ambassador.
His new-found optimism is founded on several recent
developments: final agreement with the GRA on a $102 million
project to provide water and feeder roads to rural Angola;
break in a logjam that had blocked a project for USD 50
million to provide technical assistance to the Ministry of
Agriculture and Rural Development (MINADER); improved
prospects to convince the Bank to shift Angola from the
concessional IDA window to a &blend8 program that would
enable the Bank to make considerably larger loans to the GRA
and thus raise the Bank,s profile here as well as
demonstrate the Bank,s confidence in Angola
credit-worthiness; and emerging engagement with the Tribunal
de Contas (Audit Court, the GRA's version of a national
inspector general), which has asked the Bank to help improve
its oversight of GRA procurement activities, a fertile
breeding ground for corruption. End Summary.

2. (SBU) Surprisingly upbeat, World Bank Country
Representative in Angola Alberto Chueca, shared with the
Ambassador December 18, 2007 recent improvements in the
Bank's operations in Angola. Chueca believes the Bank will
classify Angola as a blended country, thereby permitting
significantly larger lending programs, potentially reaching
over $800 million. This development will signal to the GRA
the Bank,s increasing faith in Angolan credit-worthiness,
which will be well received by the GRA and which will help
get the Bank a better seat at the table on future engagement
with the Angolans. On the Angolan side, the GRA recently
approved two WB programs after a contentious year of
negotiations, complicated by arcane Angolan legal
requirements. These projects include the 102 million for
rural water and roads and the 50 million for technical
assistance to MINADER.

Tribunal de Contas
-------------------

3. (SBU) Chueca was particularly pleased with his budding
relationship with the Tribunal de Contas (equivalent of a
national inspector general), which has requested the Bank,s
assistance in bringing greater transparency to the GRA,s
procurement processes, which are ripe for corruption. Chueca
said he is organizing a workshop for the first quarter of
2008 to train managers from the Tribunal de Contas on
government procurement, budget management, and evaluating the
recurring cost of programs. According to Chueca,
strengthening an institution like the Tribunal de Contas,
which seems genuine in pursuit of its monitoring role, could
be an important step in bringing greater sunshine to Angola's
public finances. Chueca said a recent meeting with Tribunal
President Juliao Antonio left him convinced that Antonio (a
retired senior judge) genuinely wants improvements in public
financial management; as Chueca put it, &the auditors are
starting to grow some teeth.8 He said the President is
supporting Antonio,s endeavors. (Note: The Tribunal is
responsible for auditing GRA execution of Angola's budget as
well as for trying cases of official corruption. A review of
its website makes clear that Antonio has far to go in
achieving his objective as the website posts only a single
decision against official corruption and no audit of any
ministry. End note.)

Understanding the GRA psyche
--------------------

4. (SBU) Chueca spoke at length on his perspective as to
why the Bank, other International Financial Institutions, and
many western countries are frustrated in their endeavors to
engage the Angolans. The key to understanding GRA
leadership, he asserted, is to appreciate their
self-perception as the winners, the party that defeated the
Portuguese, the South Africans, the Zairois and the
Americans. As such, President Dos Santos asserts his
independence, sees himself as a global statesman, and does
not want to be seen as bowing to the West. Citing an example
to support his point, Chueca said he recently was told by a
senior GRA official that the President, when informed that
Angola was only &a few cosmetic changes away8 from
qualifying for participation in the Extractive Industries
Transparency Initiative, personally had blocked Angola,s
seeking EITI membership, declaring that he himself would do
what needs to be done without bowing to the West. Chueca
cited this incident as an example of Angola,s taking a

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decision against its own interests, all in the name of
independence.

5. (SBU) Expanding on the theme, Chueca said Angola,s
leaders have ) literally ) been fighting all their lives,
so even now after peace has arrived, they continue to fight,
now against the Bank, IMF and the West &just to show who has
the power.8 Chueca added that outsiders need to accept
these realities, and seek to engage the Angolans on their
terms in a fashion that shows how we can help the Angolans
achieve their own agenda. He advocated letting Angolans
think through issues own their own and participate in
designing programs, so they then see their own ideas and
support the programs. This low-key approach would also
reduce friction when donors work with civil society, the
private sector, the media, and political partners.

6. (SBU) Comment. Although business in Angola for Chueca
and the Bank has often been frustrating, to put it mildly,
Chueca has learned some valuable insights into how to have an
impact in this challenging environment. These insights have
enabled the Bank to remain engaged here, while its sister
instititution the IMF has essentially had to pack its bags.
We, too, see value in Chueca,s insights and will factor them
into our own assessments of how best to advance our agenda
here.
MOZENA

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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