British oil and gas major BP on Wednesday announced that it will donate $4.9 million towards the demining effort in the Benguela province. This is in addition to the $1.2 million the company agreed to in May 2019.
BP is combining efforts with the British charity HALO Trust and will support the Angola 100 Women in Demining project. Launched in 2017, the initiative aims to clear minefields while also empowering women in rural, mine-affected areas by providing them with education, training and job opportunities.
BP’s support will allow for the creation of 129 new jobs, of which at least 85 will be occupied by women, to clear the equivalent of 191 football fields of land with the goal of completely ridding Benguela of landmines by 2023. Once cleared, the land will be returned to the local communities. Over 10 000 people now living in the vicinity of minefields can benefit from this project in Benguela.
“This initiative with the HALO trust, supported by the ANPG (National Petroleum Agency) and MIREMPET (Ministry of Mineral and Petroleum Resources), will make it possible to clear Benguela of landmines and we hope it will inspire further efforts to achieve the same aim in every province in Angola BP Angola’s regional President Stephen Willis said.
The HALO trust has been working to demine Angola since 1994, well before the civil war ended in 2002. The charity says it has cleared 880 minefields and 97,000 landmines in its 26 years in the country. It estimates that 1,200 minefields may still be covering 23,000 acres of land across Angola. Halo Trust’s project, funded by BP and backed by the ANPG, intends to help Angola fulfil its obligations to the Ottawa Landmine Treaty to be mine-impact free by 2025.
BP has a strong history of social work in Angola, having invested over $100 million in social projects ranging from education, to health and the environment, benefiting dozens of thousands of people across the country.