Angola sovereign fund head named finance minister

The chairman of oil-rich Angola's $5-billion dollar sovereign wealth fund, Armando Manuel, was named finance minister late Monday in a first cabinet reshuffle after elections last year.

Manuel, economic advisor to President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, replaces Carlos Alberto Lopes, the president's office announced in a statement.

No information was available on whether he would remain at the head of the sovereign fund, though he gives up his advisor post.

Manuel's new job clears the way for the president's son Jose Filomeno de Sousa dos Santos to take over the fund chairmanship, according local media reports.

Dos Santos junior is one of a three-man board of directors which has run the fund since its inception last October.

The third director is former Standard Bank executive Hugo Goncalves.

Opposition parties and civil society groups had criticised the appointment of the president's son to the board as nepotism and said it posed a corruption risk.

In another cabinet shuffle Waldemar Pires Alexandre was named construction minister, replacing Fernando Alberto de Lemos Soares da Fonseca.

Manuel da Cruz Neto was named secretary general in the president's office.

No reasons were given for the government reshuffle, the first since general elections August last year gave Dos Santos another five years in power.

He has ruled for 33 years.

Angola, an OPEC member, is Africa's second oil producer after Nigeria, producing around 1.6 million barrels per day.

The oil is helping power its post-war economic boom, but the gains have mostly benefited the country's elite, while most Angolans still live in grinding poverty.