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Wed, 28 Dec 2016 18:29 - Updated Wed, 28 Dec 2016 18:28

Caála Industrial Estate: ready for economy diversification

Huambo - Central Huambo province was in the colonial era the country’s major industrial estate, only second to Luanda, at a time it was called “Nova Lisboa”. Almost everything was produced here, from footwear, beer, soft drink and there were also several agricultural products processing plants.

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Caála Industrial Development Estate manager Paulino de Carvalho

Photo: Tarcisio Vilela

Young worker busy manufacturing school desks

Photo: Tarcisio Vilela

By  Adriano Chisselele

“We used to have everything here. In the past, people would hardly travel to Luanda for shopping. People would rarely go to the capital to buy tomato sauce. All was made in Huambo,” recalled Paulino de Carvalho, manager of the Caála Industrial Development Estate.

Caála municipality that lies a few kilometres of Huambo city, the capital of Huambo province, was part of the industrial prestige of this highlands region of Angola.  This has prompted the Angop team of reporters to enquire into the state of implementation of the Caála Industrial Development Estate and the functioning of the Gove dam.

Currently,  Caála is gaining a new momentum. One can feel the “vibration” from residents moving up and down, on foot or by car, in the frenzy of their daily activity.

The Caála Industrial Development Estate that covers an area of 1,877 hectares is, along with the Gove Hydroelectric Dam, the “pearl” of the municipality.

The project, which is the responsibility of the Government through the Ministry of Industry, is comprised of two phases of implementation, the first of which covering 595 hectares of space for the setting up of plants and 492 hectares in the second phase.
"Right now, we have 102 applications. Of this number, 45 applications have been  awarded and we have a covered area of 98 hectares," said Paulino de Carvalho, adding  that the project is going by phases in view of the trends followed by investors.

The manager indicated that this year the project got a credit from China to start building infrastructure, which is crucial to the business activity, before a new stage is begun.

"We were to start with the Chinese credit line. This line unfortunately was not possible for us, because this package has been awarded to the logistical platforms to fully secure the industrial centres," he said.

In view of this, according to Paulino de Carvalho, the Ministry of Industry has adopted another policy, that of enabling the economic agents from around the country’s 18 provinces to contribute to the implementation of the industrial estate projects spread throughout Angola.

The official assured that, as for the Caála Estate, a private entity had been found interested to put up the essential infrastructure, such as water, drainage and electricity, only pending the completion of a few contractual aspects.
“As far as I am concerned, there is no industrial estates without the basis infrastructures,” the source explained.

Paulino de Carvalho predicts that in the first quarter of 2017, the construction of the infrastructure in question might reach an advanced stage.

In addition to these water, power and drainage services, the estate will have police, medical and other services for the full assurance of the investors, as primary incentives to investment.

Five to six plants already operate in  the state. This is the case of metal profiles and structures, water reservoirs, fuel supplies, and zinc sheets and school desks.

Although basic infrastructures are not yet available and faced with all the constraints that may occur, these entrepreneurs are getting deployed and producing.

"They are working. This is worth praising, because, despite the crisis facing the country, they are getting deployed, in order to facilitate their everyday task," he acknowledged, adding that there is currently a workforce of 2,902 workers in operation in the state.

According to Paulino de Carvalho, industrial investors generally focus on food, chemicals, manufacturing and other basic services and the Caála Industrial Development Estate follows the pattern.

One such example is the LSCG-Construções, which is manufacturing a product with an impact not only on Huambo province, but also on other parts of the country.

This factory has a production capacity for 2,000 school desks a month, which makes to 24,000 a year.

"As time goes, this production will help meet the country’s schools needs.

Most of the factory workers are young. They are 45 Angolans and four Chinese expatriates. The Chinese provide the technical support, as both the raw material (iron and woodwork) and the machines come from China.
According to Paulino de Carvalho, the Caála Estate intends to reach a manpower of 6,000 workers in its first phase of implementation and four 4,000 in the second. This will lead to 10,000 employees.

Access to employment is one of the reasons for the efforts being made by the Government and partners to diversify the national economy.
The Caála Industrial Development Estate is situated in an area adjacent to the Benguela Railways. The location, according to the manager, is an added value, since many investors, especially foreigners, can transport the raw materials and other goods from Lobito Port, in central Benguela province, to Huambo, in very short time.

With the establishment of several plants in the industrial centres, it will be possible to substantially cut down on import of goods that can be produced locally. With this, the citizens, the economic agents and the State will be the winners.

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