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Cash cows: Chad repays $100-mln Angola debt with cattle

The landlocked central African country, impoverished despite its oil revenues, contracted a $100 million (92-million-euro) debt with Angola in 2017.

FILE: President of the Republic of Chad Idriss Deby Itno. Picture: United Nations Photo.

LUANDA - Angola has received a herd of more than 1,000 cattle from Chad, a government official said on Monday, the latest shipment of an unusual debt repayment deal.

The landlocked central African country, impoverished despite its oil revenues, contracted a $100 million (92-million-euro) debt with Angola in 2017.

As repayment, Angola agreed to take 75,000 cattle, for delivery over five years from 2020, to help it develop its beef industry.

"This consignment comprises 1,176 head of cattle. They have been placed in quarantine in the town of Quiminha, from where they will be transported to their final destination after inspection," Ditutala Lucas Simao, veterinary services chief in the agriculture ministry, told AFP.

Since the first batch arrived a month ago, Angola has taken delivery of 4,500 cattle, said Simao.

After oil, livestock is Chad's second-largest source of export earnings.

The deal works well for Angola, which is keen to revive its livestock farming sector as part of efforts to diversify the oil-dependent economy.

The second-largest crude producer in sub-Saharan Africa spends $350 million each year to import meat for its 30 million people.

"The Angolan government has launched a programme to turn the Camabatela plateau (straddling three provinces in the north of the country) into a cattle-breeding and meat-production belt," said Simao.

Angola is in the throes of a deep economic crisis since the 2014 drop in oil prices.

The coronavirus has only added to its woes. The economy is expected to contract by 1.4% this year, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).