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Mercedes fleet arrives in time for Angola’s president

LEIPZIG: November 01, 2017. Volga-Dnepr Airlines used a two-tier racking system developed for its AN-124-100 freighter fleet to deliver 30 Mercedes on a recent flight to Luanda for the inauguration ceremony of Angola's new president, Joao Lourenco.

VD ANGOLAThe 110-tonne payload flew from Leipzig on behalf of the Angolan embassy and included 25 luxury sedans, three police cars and two heavily armored G-class vehicles.

Volga-Dnepr originally designed and built its two-tier racking system in 1996 to support the Paris to Beijing Car Rally.

On September 26, 2017 Lourenco was sworn in as the third president since Angola gained its independence from Portugal in 1975. He takes over from Jose Eduardo dos Santos who ruled the oil-rich nation for 38 years.

Lourenco, a veteran politician and lifelong member of the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola, campaigned on a promise to tackle corruption in the country.

At his inauguration Lourenco declared: "No one is so rich and powerful that they cannot be punished, and no one is so poor that they cannot be protected."

The historic handover of power comes as Angola experiences its worst economic crisis since the end of the country's civil war in 2002. Last year the inflation rate hit 42 percent leading the World Bank to demote the country from "upper-middle income" to "lower-middle income" status in 2017.

According to Soren Kirk Jensen, Chatham House associate fellow of its Africa Program, while oil revenue will remain an important contributor to the Angolan economy, more of it will need to be saved "for a rainy day" which will require other economic reforms including strengthening nonoil sectors; reducing the reliance on imports; introducing a more progressive tax system to capture some of the wealth accumulated during the economic boom; making public spending more efficient; and reducing the rapidly escalating levels of public debt.

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