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Second life for Angola’s war scrap

Africa – A major initiative is under way in Angola to make something productive out of war scrap. An abundance of metal scrap litters the country as a legacy of the civil wars that ended in 2002 but now, Aceria de Angola SA will collect ‘a significant amount of that scrap’ and recycle it into ‘much-needed steel rebar for the construction industry’.

The project involves a US$ 70 million investment facilitated by the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), which is part of the World Bank and promotes foreign investments into developing countries to help support economic growth and to reduce poverty.

Angola currently imports nearly all of its steel, with local production limited to small-scale enterprises. Aceria de Angola is nearing completion of a greenfield steel recycling plant in Bengo province, 40 kilometres north east of the capital Luanda.

The facility will have the capacity to process some 250 000 tonnes of scrap per year, thus meeting a ‘significant’ proportion of the country’s demand for steel rebar. Aceria de Angola expects the facility to be ‘100%’ supplied with locally-procured scrap for three to four years and intends to use a mix of local and imported scrap from that point onwards.

The scrap will be sourced primarily from military discards, abandoned railroad networks, boats, cars and mining equipment. The scrap recycling project is expected to generate ‘huge environmental benefits’ through clean-up of the countryside and will create potentially more than 2500 jobs.

According to MIGA, the initiative is one of the first large-scale industrial projects in Angola outside of the oil sector – which accounts for roughly half of the country’s GDP – and will contribute to its goal of economic diversification.

Angola has experienced substantial growth in recent years, but investment outside of the oil sector has been minimal and risk perceptions remain elevated – especially for large investments.

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