Luanda leaks show Dutch Export credit insurer Atradius involved in serious Angola human rights violations

(Guardian, Luanda, 20 January 2020) Until the summer of 2013, Areia Branca, a fishing village just outside Luanda, the capital of Angola, was home to a thriving fishing community of 3,000 families. Now there is no trace of their houses, only sand, a pile of gravel, egrets, a bulldozer and a police post, bulldozed to make way for the Marginal da Corimba project, a multibillion-dollar real estate and highway development along Luanda’s coastline led by Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of Angola’s former president José Eduardo dos Santos. The Luanda Leaks investigation based on a huge cache of financial records belonging to dos Santos, Africa's richest woman, suggest her company stood to benefit from redevelopment of the vacated land. Many of Areia Branca’s former residents have moved to the other side of the lagoon, packed on to a tiny patch of land, known as Povoado. Previously a waste dump through which two sewage channels flowed, it has become home to 500 families sharing tiny shacks made of corrugated tin. Children play among piles of rotting rubbish. Infectious diseases – malaria, tuberculosis, meningitis – are rife. Documents released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists suggest dos Santos’ Urbinveste received at least $12 million from the Angolan government for work on the project. British architects Broadway Malyan and Dutch dredging company Van Oord claim not to have been aware of the forced evictions on behalf of the dos Santos real estate and construction company Urbinveste. Following revelations in the Dutch business press, a Both ENDS opinion piece in the Dutch business newspaper FD notes that the official export credit insurer Atradius DSB has not complied with OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. It appears that the Dutch ECA failed to do sufficient due diligence on environmental and human rights impacts and bribery risks before issuing an insurance to facilitate Van Oord and the Dutch ING bank's involvement in this project.