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China funded car plant opens in Angola

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Angola plans to begin producing cars next month through a venture funded by a Chinese fund and based on technology from Japan’s Nissan Motor Co, the deputy general manager of the China International Fund said.

CSG Automovel-Angola will be the country’s first car plant. The $30 million investment will produce pick-ups, SUVs, compact cars and buses at a factory on the outskirts of Luanda, Kelvin Kwan told journalists on Wednesday.

Initial annual capacity will be 10,000 vehicles but output is expected to rise to 30 000 in three years.

“We have done our market research and expect the plant to be producing (cars) at full capacity by 2012,” said Kwan, adding that the vehicles will be powered by Nissan engines.

Rebuilding after a devastating 27-year civil war that ended in 2002, Angola is keen to beef up its industrial sector as part of an effort to create jobs for its 16,5 million people and diversify oil-and-diamond dependent economy.

The southwestern African nation rivals Nigeria as Africa’s largest oil producer and is one of the world’s top diamond exporters.

Most of the estimated 1.1 million cars used in Angola are imported by sea from Asia and the United States; or by land via Angola’s southern border with Namibia.

The car factory at Viana, about 30 kilometres east of Luanda, is a sign of energy-hungry China’s growing presence and influence in Africa.

China’s trade with Africa has shot up 10-fold since 2000, soaring 45 percent to nearly $107 billion last year alone.

China has also granted over $5 billion in oil-backed loans to Angola since the end of the civil war to help rebuild roads, bridges and ailing communications.

Source: Reuters

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