Angola's Eduardo Dos Santos offers help to Portugal

Angola's President Jose Eduardo Dos Santo, photographed in August 2011 The family of President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos controls a large chunk of Angola's economy

Angola is prepared to help its former colonial power Portugal cope with its financial crisis, the oil-rich nation's President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos said.

After meeting visiting Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho, he said solutions needed to be found.

They should be "advantageous for both countries" and "in a spirit of solidarity and mutual help", he said.

Analysts say Portugal's economy is expected to contract by 2.8% next year and Angola's to grow by 12%.

'Trump cards'

The IMF has agreed to give Portugal a $107bn bailout on condition that it introduces a wide range of economic reforms - including privatisation.

Analysts say Angola could buy stakes in some of the privatised companies.

Angola's investments in Portugal have risen sharply in recent years.

The figure in 2009 stood at $156m (£99m), compared to $2.1m in 2002, according to the Portuguese Institute of International Relations and Security (IPRIS), a Lisbon-based think-tank.

Angolan companies own the equivalent of 3.8% of companies listed on Portugal's stock exchange, from banks to telecoms and energy, it says.

Ex-colonial brothers in business

Angola

  • Population: 18.9 million
  • Area: 1.25m sq km (481.354 sq miles)
  • GNI per capita: $3,490
  • Expected to grow by 12% in 2012
  • Investments in Portugal: $156m in 2009; $2m in 2002
  • President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos in power since 1979

Portugal

  • Population: 10.7 million
  • Area: 92,345 sq km (35,655 sq miles)
  • GNI per capita: $20,940
  • Expected to shrink by 2.8% in 2012
  • Biggest trading partner outside EU: Angola
  • Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho in power since June 2011

"We're aware of the difficulties the Portuguese people have faced recently and in such difficult times we must use our trump cards," Angola's state news agency Angop quoted Mr Dos Santos as saying.

He did not elaborate during the joint press conference with the Portuguese prime minister in the capital, Luanda, what these trump cards were.

Portuguese companies expected to be privatised include national airline TAP, utilities company Energias de Portugal and national grid operator Redes Energeticas Nacionais.

"We should take advantage of this moment of financial and economic crisis to strengthen our bilateral relations in the different sectors of our respective countries," Mr Passos Coelho is quoted by the AFP news agency as saying.

Former BBC Angola correspondent Louise Redvers say Mr Passos Coelho's visit has highlighted the reversal of former colonial roles, with cash-strapped Portugal considering selling shares in state-owned companies to Angola.

The family of Mr Dos Santos - who has been in power for 32 years - controls a large chunk of Angola's economy, while most Angolans live in poverty.

Mr Dos Santos' daughter Isabel is known to have a large Portuguese portfolio, as does the state oil firm Sonangol, our former correspondent says.

It was Mr Passos Coelho's first visit to Angola since he was elected to office in June. He grew up in Angola, where his father was a doctor during the colonial era.

Angola, which is recovering from a long brutal civil war which ended in 2002, gained independence from Portugal in 1975.

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