By Roy Lie Atjam
Theme: Angolans, Hand in Hand to the Future
The Ambassador of the Republic of Angola in the Netherlands H.E. Ambassador Maria Isabel Gomes de Resende Encoge, organized a reception in The Hague on 14th November 2022 to celebrate her country’s 47th anniversary of Independence.
Guests were received by the sound of live drumming and dance and given a glimpse of the rich Angolan cultural legacy; one they probably have never seen before in The Hague.
Ambassador Maria Isabel Gomes de Resende Encoge was outfitted in gorgeous Angolan attire and flanked by her spouse, consul and the vice-consuls.
The master of ceremonies gave some background information on the significance of 11th November, and the national anthems of Angola (Angola Avante) and the Netherlands were played.
Further features on the program: the cutting of the cake, proposing of toasts, screening of a video, the captivating live music by vocalist Don Silas moved guests to take to the floor, further a dance demonstrations by the Kizomba Dance Company. The evening concluded with networking and a double buffet, Angolan and continental.
Subsequently, H.E. Ambassador Maria Isabel de Resende Encoge delivered her welcome address.
“Our National Independence Day is being held under the guidance of His Excellency João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço, President of the Republic of Angola. This celebration time has special importance, it eventuates at the same year that we celebrate the Centenary anniversary of Dr. António Agostinho Neto, Founder and First President of the Angolan Nation.”
The Nation’s founder Dr. António Agostinho Neto declared Angolan independent on 11 November 1975.
“The year’s National Independence Day Celebration slogan is “Angolans, Hand in Hand to the Future”, declared Ambassador Gomes “is a slogan that summarizes the past, present, and future of Angola. The Celebration of the Centenary Anniversary of Dr Antonio Agostinho Neto, which was considered for all ephemeris during 2022, demonstrates the strategic vision of the country that we have been building over the years.
Angola is not alone in this, as we have partners who are in solidarity with our cause for development. One of those partners are the Kingdom of the Netherlands, with bilateral relations with Angola dating back to 1976 when this friendly state became recognized the Republic of Angola as an independent and Sovereign State.
We have witnessed the continuous growth of bilateral relations since then in the Economic Sector, in the fields of specialized Services, in the Oil Sector and Liquefied Natural Gas Industry, in the Agriculture and Logistics fields, and there is still plenty to achieve in the field of bilateral cooperation.
The Angolan Government counts with the Kingdom of the Netherlands for this new phase, the attraction of foreign investment, in addition to the oil sector, is crucial for the economic and social development of our country. Furthermore, I would like to acknowledge the Angolan community in the Kingdom of the Netherlands which continues to play an important role in strengthening our countries’ relations. We continue to count on the commitment, dedication, and contribution of each member of the Angolan community to enhance these relations, regardless of creed, race, religion, or political affiliation.
At the Multilateral level, Angola is a Member State of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) since 2015 and has been committed to contribute to further enhance the capabilities of the OPCW as a global leader in the efforts to rid the world of chemical weapons. Additionally, Angola is also a State Member of the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC) since January 1986 and aims to strengthen the cooperation with the intent to advance the process of economic diversification highlighted in Angola’s National Development Plan 2023-2027.
The Ambassador finalized her speech in Portuguese, “Gostaria de enviar uma saudação especial e calorosa aos representantes da comunidade angolana que foram tão amáveis em honrar o seu país, a sua pátria, a sua nação, estando presentes nesta cerimónia.”
The second speaker at the reception was Mr Huub von Frijtag Drabbe, Head of Section East and Southern Africa of the sub-Sahara Africa department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. In part this what Drabbe said: “Angola and the Netherlands are old friends. Our formal bilateral relations go back more than 40 years. Over the years, our bilateral relationship has progressed substantially. One of the key elements of our cooperation today is the promotion of trade and investment between our two countries.“ And specifically on some current programs:
“A cornerstone of our cooperation is in the agriculture sector. Our efforts align closely with one of the Angolan government’s main priorities for the next years, namely economic diversification. The development of fruit export from Angola to the Netherlands, for instance, has been an area of cooperation and shows significant potential for both Angolan and Dutch businesses.’
Angola independence day celebration 2022. What an excellent ambience, guests left the venue with the rhythmic sounds of live drums still playing in their heads.
Angolans, Hand in Hand towards the Future!