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Angola’s Finance Minister Change Boosts Fund, Control Risks Says

The appointment of Armando Manuel as Angola’s finance minister boosts the legitimacy of the southern African nation’s $5 billion sovereign wealth fund, Markus Weimer of Control Risks Group said.

Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos replaced Finance Minister Carlos Alberto Lopes yesterday in a cabinet shuffle and appointed Waldemar Pires Alexandre construction minister.

“The appointment of Manuel brings greater legitimacy and prominence to the sovereign wealth fund, which is going to be an important part of Angola’s development going forward,” Weimer, a senior analyst for Control Risks in London, said by telephone today.

The fund was created in October to spend the oil money generated by Africa’s second-largest producing nation. The main goal is rebuilding infrastructure after a 27-year civil war that ended in 2002 and saving for the future via investment.

Angola’s economy is expected to grow by 7.1 percent in 2013, while inflation rose to 9.11 percent in March from 9.04 percent a month earlier. The country pumped 1.8 million barrels a day in April from mostly offshore fields operated by companies such as Chevron Corp., Total SA and Exxon Mobil Corp.

The change in the construction ministry “may have been because of corruption” or because of a failure to deliver projects on time may have “generated negative publicity,” Weimer said.

Dos Santos’s Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola won 72 percent of the August vote and the party extended his 33-year rule by five years.

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