Luanda — ANGOLA, Southern African Development Community (SADC) region's largest producer of the commodity, has failed to make the most of its vast oil reserves after years of alleged corruption and the global drop in oil prices.
Despite its "black gold" wealth, the country remains largely impoverished.
The political elite, particularly during decades of the presidency of Jose Eduardo dos Santos, has benefitted while the majority populace languished in abject poverty.
However, a new era beckons following the adoption of reforms and transparency of tenders in the oil and gas sector by the new administration of President João Lourenço, in power since 2017.
Experts believe the oil and gas sector has grown immensely and opportunities await for businesses in all sectors who are keen to increase their exports into new markets.
The Africa Energy Chamber has endorsed the reforms and projects that these benefit all Angolans and increase the ability of employers to generate more opportunities for citizens (jobs), investors and the region.
"Under the leadership of President João Lourenço's, Angola is undergoing structural reforms politically, economically and socially, which if successful, will transform Angola away from its reliance from oil," said Executive Chairman of the chamber, NJ Ayuk.
He was speaking ahead of key sector conference set for the capital Luanda in June.
Angola, Africa's second largest oil producer after Nigeria, is a prime investment destination due to its reserves.
With about 9,9 billion barrels of proven reserves, it holds some of the world's most promising oil deposits.
"This is a great opportunity for new explorers and service companies as well, Ayuk said.
Production levels in Angola are expected to soar by 2020 following the country's restructuring, including the reorganization of the state oil company, Sonangol.
In addition to a drastic revision of Angola's legislation related to oil and gas, the government's intent is to spur growth in the sector, encouraging exploration in development areas, improving operation efficiencies, reducing taxes, empowering the private sector, and attracting investors.
"Since 2017, we have seen the passing of landmark regulations for the sector, including gas regulations, marginal fields regulations, and a complete new oil licensing strategy up until 2025," said Sergio Pugliese, the African Energy Chamber President for Angola.
Lourenço, reaffirmed the role of oil and gas as a key driver in attracting domestic and foreign private investment into Angola.
"In recent times we have changed our policy of managing energy resources, such as oil and gas, to better serve the interests of our country and investors," president Lourenço said.
He is mindful that oil is the key driver of economic activity throughout the Southern African country and the entire SADC region.
"This new era in oil and gas is the result of Angola having adopted a totally transparent management of tenders," Lourenço said.