Africa is nowadays the continent with highest economic growth, with it even being compared to China 20 years ago. What is the importance of Africa to the world’s economic growth, especially in this period of recession that Europe and the USA are currently facing?
I believe that it is a new chance for Africa, and all African countries, to have this same opportunity that Angola has in seeing their country grow. For many years Angola was a colonized country, as well as most of Africa. Angola was one of the last countries that became independent here, and that made it harder to invest in its development as the country was at war for almost 40 years.
Angolans wanted to develop their country and show the world what we are capable of. The proof of that is the development we have achieved in just 11 years and we will continue to grow. Angola is one of the five sub-Saharan countries that have maintained an annual growth rate above 6.7%.
Angola is showing that it has the possibility to continue growing. We are growing thanks to the support of the international communities, some friends of Angola, even when we were at war.
The international community promised to put together a round table to support us, which unfortunately did not happen. We then made strategic partnerships that allowed us to achieve Angola's development so far. And we believe that we cannot be the only ones to grow, so we need to take a look around us.
We have a project of regional integration that helps other neighboring countries also to grow, following South Africa, which is Africa's leader; but we do not want to be behind them. We want to grow and we want to be at the same level as South Africa. We are sure that Angola will have larger economic and social growth. Therefore, it is not enough to only develop our economy but we must improve our people’s lives.
One of our mottos is “To produce more to give more” because we know that Angola is growing but it still needs to distribute the revenues better. If we compare our life expectancy with average incomes per capita, we can show that Angola's revenues are not those of a poor country, however do we have a healthcare system of an underdeveloped country.
Angola had grown by 10% in the year after the war. What were the main actions that allowed Angola to be rebuilt and to start growing like that?
Angolans’ willpower, and we also have a good leader. Our Government knew how to find solutions to difficult situations when they were needed. We had many problems. Angola was completely destroyed, but we had enlightened people and organizations that found a way out of these problems. We knew how to find financial resources when it was necessary; we knew how to find human resources when we needed them.
We have a very high illiteracy rate and we know that we cannot develop a country with people who don’t know how to write or read. People say that we have a young country, which is very important for development, but we cannot develop a country with young illiterates.
The access to schooling has improved very much. In 10 years we came from 20,000 students to 150,000 students at university, we multiplied the number of universities, and all this contributes to Angola, which is an underdeveloped country.
Angola is well known for its natural resources and its human resources. How does Angola intend to balance these two areas, since the Government's main goal is to diversify the economy? How can the oil sector help other economic areas to grow?
That is already happening here. The oil sector it is already helping to improve citizens’ lives in many different areas. A concrete example is the new areas of Quilamba where houses are being built in some of the communities to minimize the current housing problems we have in that region.
We can see the same happening with some schools and healthcare centres that are receiving the oil's sector support. In recent years, it is possible to see bigger growth in other areas compared to with the oil sector, which is stable now. Because of that we have the chance of achieving economic diversification. We are lucky because it is the oil that allows us to invest in other areas and our executives are working to achieve that.
One of the President's main goals is to solve the problem with human resources, as he mentioned in one of his speeches.
Exactly. And from that our President set up a strategy for training professionals, which became the National Training Plan and runs from 2013 to 2020. The plan aims to fill the gaps that Angola has in terms of human resources. We carried out research that showed some professions have low and high demand. This project aims to stabilize these areas, such as engineering, which is an area with a deficit of qualified professionals, and we so want to train people in necessary fields.
We have an excess of qualified professionals in the fields of economy, psychology, and some other areas. These professionals might be unemployed after they finish school, therefore this project is to establish a balance between what we have available in Angola and what we can bring from outside the country, with partnerships, to qualify people in other countries.
However, the main goal is that our students will get a Master’s degree without leaving Angola. This is our concept, to do at least part of the training here in Angola. We want students who are doing their credits in a foreign country to be able to come back and work with Angola's reality. In addition we want graduates here to have the opportunity to go abroad as exchange students to learn how things work all over the world.
What role is ENAD playing in this National Training Plan?
is part of one of the projects, Program 6, that has set out to qualify public employees as its main goal. This program deals with civil employees at the mid-to-mid-executive level. Our plan is to qualify about 51,000 public employees; joining the 20,000 that it already has are another 30,000 that will start courses until the end of 2020.
To accomplish that we need to qualify around 5,000 employees per year. In 2013 we hope to train about 3,500 people, which is a huge challenge. The largest number we have had so far is 1,500 students, in workshops, seminars, etc. In this current year, including all these activities, we want to train 3,500 employees and according to our books we will achieve that.
ENAD is only five years old. What have been the challenges and successes during this time?
We have had over 10,000 students during that time, entailing classroom training, workshops, lectures, etc. We had a few challenges at the beginning of our activities: we had a few partnerships and we still have some of them, but we want to work with our own capability.
We won't give up on the partnerships we have with foreign countries, however the biggest challenge is the qualification scholarships. As you can see our facilities are really good, and other challenges we might have will be resolved by this project. We want to bring our staff to the schools, and from this year on all public employees will have to be trained, therefore they will need to come and study at ENAD to be qualified to the job.
We also have some financial problems, mostly with our customers, but we are finding ways to resolve that also. Basically, as a result to attract we need to assure people of the quality of our staff.
How do students come to study at ENAD? Is there a scholarship program to attract students to ENAD?
Actually, the company pays for the courses. For example, I am a healthcare employee and I will attend a course in this area, so the healthcare administration will pay the course for me. We work out a training project every year and make it available to all the institutions, visiting them and contacting their managers so they are aware of what we offer and then send their staff to us.
There is a staff regulation book that stipulates that the employees’ qualifications must be paid for by the institution.
How does ENAD differentiate itself from other schools?
We are the only government-owned school, however we have private schools competing with us. They also offer employees training in these sectors. Our biggest competition is from international schools because most of the employees prefer to graduate abroad for several reasons. They are our strongest competitors.
There is a plan to ensure continuous graduation, which is mandatory, and only ENAD and IFAL will be able to certify these professionals and the training done abroad will not be valid anymore. We have program that qualifies national CEOs to be the department heads and this training has to be done here. For example, a candidate that applies to be a national CEO will have to be certified here. And the professionals that do not have experience in the area will also have to come to ENAD.
How can ENAD work jointly with foreign institutions to exchange know-how, to bring teachers, etc.
We are open to the whole world, mainly with schools that work like ENAD around the world. Recently, we had a Spanish institution here called INAP to exchange knowledge, so we are open to every possibility. We have a lack in this area and we need to learn with other countries and with other institutions. We have a center for studies and research that also needs to exchange knowledge and needs financial aid to carryout research and investigations, so we want many partnerships.
CINFOTEC demonstrates a real exchange of know-how between Angola and Germany and this is the priority for both countries. Do you believe that ENAD is prepared to receive all this know-how?
The plan above foresees these partnerships, at a national and international level, as well as anticipating that we must be prepared to certify other institutions that want to enter into the public training sector.
ENAD and IFAL would have to be responsible for certifying these employees, to prevent the proliferation of schools in the same area – as has happened with Angolan universities where there were many institutions but the quality was very low. We need to be supported and we are prepared to receive this support.
What is the most important thing for a country to grow: health or education?
Both of them. If we don't have education we will hardly have health; if we do not have education we are stuck with cultural aspects and we do not understand basic needs. But also, even though we may be highly educated, without health we are nothing.
I am a demographics professor and I say to my students: development and demographics are processes that work hand in hand. We cannot think about development without people and vice versa.
What was your occupation before coming to ENAD?
I was a high school teacher for 18 years. Afterwards, I was managing some institutions for 15 years. Later, I worked at the Ministry for Planning in Luanda. I have been at UILA to put an office together. Later I was in Brazil to study and when I came back I began to work at the United Nations Population Fund. In 2011 I came to ENAD.
I was coordinating the research center until February 2013 and now I am ENAD’s general director. I graduated in economics with a Masters and doctorate at UFMG, an excellent public university in Brazil.
What is your motivation to teach?
My motivation comes from my first job. You don’t make a lot of money in this area but you get a lot of knowledge instead. It is rewarding when a student comes and says that he or she was my student in some institution.
What message you would like to leave the readers?
To give them the incentive to come to Angola, to know our people, who is very friendly, and ask to them to come and help us to overcome our difficulties. We are not asking for humanitarian aid any more, we are asking for partners to leave underdevelopment behind and to transform Angola into a country worth living.