German Chancellor Angela Merkel has promised support in a corruption investigation of the daughter of Angola's former president. The daughter is accused of misappropriating state funds for her business interest.
During her visit in Angola on Friday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel formally backed an international Luanda Leaks corruption investigation into Angolan billionaire Isabel dos Santos, the eldest daughter of former President Jose Eduardo dos Santos.
Isabel dos Santos, reportedly Africa's richest woman, is accused of accumulating billions of dollars in dubious deals while heading a state-run oil company during her father's 38 years in office.
"I can only welcome the fact that there is strong commitment to investigating corruption," Merkel said after meeting with Angolan President Joao Lourenco. "Should German companies or financial institution also play a role through such disclosure, then Germany of course promises to help with clarification in a very transparent way."
Merkel also stressed that fighting against corruption is key for Angola if they want to attract future investment. Angola is a country rich in raw materials, she said, and it must broaden its opportunities in order to offer its young people a future.
Lourenco, who replaced Jose Eduardo dos Santos in 2017, has cracked down on corruption in the southern African nation. On Friday, he came out in support of a worldwide spending freeze of Isabel dos Santos' assets.
"We want the assets to be returned to the country," he said at the joint press conference with Merkel.
Infrastructure investment and navy boats
The German chancellor, who is wrapping up a three-day tour in southern Africa, has also offered broad support in developing the country's infrastructure.
The two countries announced an air transport agreement that includes the expansion of air traffic. The deal, according to Merkel, will help stimulate exchange between the two countries.
Merkel has also considered fulfilling Angola's request for German navy boats, something the country has asked for since the German chancellor's first visit to the country in 2011. Angola has long been battling piracy along its 1,600-kilometer (1,000-mile) coastline.
Negotiations regarding military cooperation have continued, Merkel said, adding that negotiations would be held among the companies concerned rather than by state leaders.
The issue of navy boats, which has caused tension in the past, has not played a roll in overall talks. "But we are not fundamentally opposed to the idea," Merkel said.
Merkel became the first German head of state to visit Angola in 2011. Germany has been reluctant to invest too heavily in the oil-rich nation because of corruption and the lack of rule of law. Only 25 German companies are currently doing business in Angola.
In 2015, the state-owned fund KfW granted Angola a loan of €50 million (then $59.6 million), money that wound up going directly to the dos Santos family through state avenues.
In an interview with DW, Lourenco said he hoped the two sides would intensify their economic relationship.
"German investment is welcome in Angola," he said. "We are doing our part, creating a better business involvement in Angola day after day. One of the measures is precisely fighting corruption. So, foreign investment in Angola is safe. There is a guaranteed return and, if it happens, everyone will win."