Angola launches $5 billion sovereign wealth fund

LISBON Wed Oct 17, 2012 12:30pm BST

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LISBON (Reuters) - Angola on Wednesday launched a $5 billion sovereign wealth fund to invest in domestic and overseas assets, funnelling the African country's vast oil wealth into infrastructure, hotels and other high-growth projects.

The Angolan Sovereign Fund (FSA), which will also invest in financial securities, will be headed by President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos' economic affairs secretary, the fund's board said in a statement.

Jose Filomeno dos Santos, one of the president's sons, will also sit on the three-person board, an appointment likely to raise further questions about transparency in Angola's government. Dos Santos, who has led Africa's No.2 oil producer for 33 years, was sworn in for a new five-year term last month.

"The transparency of the fund will be guaranteed by our strict reporting and auditing rules and an investment policy to be announced soon," Filomeno dos Santos told Reuters in a telephone interview.

He said the FSA was not intended as a stabilisation tool in the event of an oil price shock, but was aimed at developing infrastructure, diversifying the economy and creating wealth for future generations.

Oil revenues represent over 95 percent of Angola's export income and around 45 percent of GDP.

The FSA is an adaptation on a fund approved by the president in February 2011 to earmark crude revenues to develop energy and water system infrastructure, Filomeno dos Santos said.

It will grow from further oil revenues transferred by the government and from returns on its investment projects, he added without providing estimates for the fund's growth.

(Reporting by Shrikesh Laxmidas; editing by David Dolan)

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