January 2016 marks the start of operations at Angola’s first ever steel mill, ADA Steel, which will turn scrap metal from Angola’s 27-year civil war into rebar to contribute to the country’s reconstruction, and help it move away from its reliance on steel imports.
ADA Steel, built by K2L Capital, one of the largest private investors in Angola, represents an investment of $300m, one of the largest foreign investments in the country’s history. It is projected to create 600 direct and more than 3000 indirect jobs, as well as provide healthcare, water and local infrastructure to thousands of residents in the surrounding area. “The mill will do a lot of good to the region – when we got there, there was absolutely nothing. There was no infrastructure, and people had to walk several kilometers just to fetch water,” said Sanga de Almeida, vice-president at K2L Capital. “It’s a project we are very proud of as a company because it is going to do a lot of good in many ways.”
“Economically speaking, because of the oil crisis, we have a shortage of currency in the country,” said Ms de Almeida. "When we start fully working [in January], we’re going to save $300m in currency for the country.”
Crucially, the investment also represents a complete end to Angola’s reliance on steel imports, according to K2L Capital. The scrap metal left over from destroyed tanks, vehicles and weaponry from nearly three decades of war will be turned to rebar for the manufacturing of reinforced concrete. The ADA mill will also be the first to mass produce western quality steel in central and western Africa, according to the company.
Angola fell into civil war immediately following its independence from Portugal in 1975. The conflict only ended in 2002, and resulted in the loss of half a million lives.
Oil production and its supporting activities accounts for about 45% of Angola’s gross domestic product, which means it is currently struggling under the weight of falling oil prices. It also relies heavily on imports for building and industrial materials. This project is expected to help the country toward economic diversification, decrease its import requirements, and save hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign currency reserves.