Sobhi BOU OBEID, Country Manager, Angola of DOW CHEMICAL

We look forward to the new PND [National Development Plan], and to the diversification chapter.

Sobhi BOU OBEID Country Manager - Angola DOW CHEMICAL

Downstream and chemicals in Angola

December 31, 2018

Sobhi Bou Obeid, Dow Chemical’s Angola country manager, talks to TOGY about the development of the Angolan market, green and brownfield projects in the country and the outlook for downstream and chemicals in the African region. Dow Chemical, the second-largest chemical producer in the world, produces 6,000 products including plastics, chemicals and agricultural products.

• On oil and gas:Angola‘s oil industry is the backbone of the Angolan economy. It represents about 90% of their exports and roughly 75% of fiscal revenue. It is critical for the country to focus on this industry and to carefully manage their petroleum revenue.”

• On imports: “Most of the chemicals and plastics are imported. Sometimes, these elements are critical for a manufacturing units to remain operational. The imports of those components must be treated as equally important.”

• On development: “Angola, as a young nation, has a chance to do the right things right at the beginning.”

Most TOGY interviews are published exclusively on our business intelligence platform TOGYiN, but you can find an abridged version of our interview with Sobhi Bou Obeid below.

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How do you view the Angolan market?
Most of the chemicals and plastics are imported. Sometimes, these elements are critical for a manufacturing units to remain operational. The imports of those components must be treated as equally important. Angola, as a young nation, has a chance to do the right things right at the beginning.

What is the outlook for both green and brownfield operations in Angola?
Angola’s oil industry is the backbone of the Angolan economy. It represents about 90% of their exports and roughly 75% of fiscal revenue. It is critical for the country to focus on this industry and to carefully manage their petroleum revenue. We welcome the opportunity to find new fields, albeit challenging as investors are focused on other regions of the globe. At the same time, we look forward to the new PND [National Development Plan], and to the diversification chapter, so to understand better the vision of Angola for the next few years. Once again, getting it right from the beginning is a great opportunity very few nations have; and at Dow, we are ready to engage in constructive dialogues to turn challenges into opportunities for collaboration and growth with stakeholders, agencies, governments and other institutions.

With the forex challenges of Angola, how do you import all your chemicals?
We have different mechanisms to protect our accounts receivable. For us, the most important is seeing a fit between our solutions and the local needs. Then the forex, logistics and related matters come second, and to which we bring or create solutions or key enablers in our business model.

Is Africa an upcoming market?
We are present in the largest African economies, namely Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Angola. Angola is a mini-Brazil. It has oil, gas and minerals. There are about 6 million-8 million hectares [60,000-80,000 square kilometres] of arable land. You have a young and growing population. The urbanisation is ongoing. You have a coastline as long as Portugal’s for tourism. Angola is also potentially a gateway to inland countries, specifically the DRC. These features offer great potential development for industrialisation. If you match those with our product and solutions offerings, it was interesting for us to move forward and to position Angola as a strategic country in southern Africa.
We are convinced that despite the headwinds and uncertainty on the continent, Africa can fulfil its potential through the collaboration of business, government and civil society to drive solutions.

For more information on downstream projects in the Angolan market, see our business intelligence platform, TOGYiN.
TOGYiN features profiles on companies and institutions active in Angola’s oil and gas industry, and provides access to all our coverage and content, including our interviews with key players and industry leaders.
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