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#GetToKnow Angola

The Republic of Angola is located in Southern Africa. It is the seventh-largest country in Africa and the leading producer of oil alongside Nigeria. It is bordered by Namibia to the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north and east, Zambia to the east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west.

Angola is still in the process of rebuilding since the end of the 27 year civil war that ended in 2002. Soon after independence in 1975 Angola plunged into civil war after fighting erupted between the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), led by José Eduardo Dos Santos, and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), led by Jonas Savimbi. Peace seemed imminent in 1992 when Angola held national elections, but fighting picked up again in 1993. Up to 1.5 million lives were lost and 4 million people displaced during the more than a quarter century of fighting and conflict.  Savimbi’s death in 2002 ended UNITA’s insurgency and cemented the MPLA’s hold on power. President Dos Santos has been in power for 37 years and was viewed by many as a beacon of hope for the conflict torn nation, as under his leadership a predominately socialist economy transformed into one of the world’s fastest growing economies.

angola-president-jose-eduardo-dos-santos

The Presidents reign is not without criticism however as his decision in 2010 to push through a new constitution meant there would no longer be the direct election of a president; rather the top candidate of the largest party in parliament would become president – a move leading opposition Party UNITA said was “destroying democracy”.[1] This change effectively led to his appointment as President in the 2013 elections. Dos Santos recently voiced his intention to step down from office in next year presidential elections.

Angola also assumed a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2015-16 term after which they will be replaced by Ethiopia, who will serve alongside fellow African states Senegal and Egypt.

Angola’s immense oil production located in the Cabinda province – where separatist conflict simmers – has allowed for a 15 year economic boom in the country. When global oil prices crashed last year, the flourishing nation – once declared one of the most expensive cities in the world[2]– was hit hard.  Over 45 percent of its GDP relies on the oil and gas sector, prompting the government to cut its budget by 53 percent in 2015[3]; a devastating impact was felt across all sectors.

To date Angola is trying to recover socially and economically with President Dos Santos highlighting how crucial it is to “shift focus from the extractive industry and to invest in other sectors that could make the domestic economy more sustainable”.[4]

Basic Indicators

Independence Day 11 November 1975
President José Eduardo dos Santos
Government Presidential Republic
Capital City Luanda
GDP (2015) [5] US$ 102.64 billion
Population (2015)[6] 24.3 million
Life expectancy[7] 50 years (Men), 53 years (Women)
Religion Christianity (majority)
Currency Angolan Kwanza
Major Languages Portuguese

 

[1] BBC. August 2016. Angola Country Profile. Available at: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-13036732 [Accessed: 10 November 2016].

[2] Reuters. 2014. Import tariffs strain rich-poor gap in ‘madly expensive’ Luanda. Available at: http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-angola-prices-idUKBREA3M09K20140423  [Accessed: 9 November 2016].

[3] The Washington Post. August 2016. An oil boom made it the most expensive city in the world. Now it’s in crisis. Available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/africa/an-oil-boom-made-it-the-most-expensive-city-in-the-world-now-its-in-crisis/2016/08/02/adf777e8-31c2-11e6-ab9d-1da2b0f24f93_story.html [Accessed: 10 November 2016].

[4] n.3

[5] Trading Economics. 2016. Angola GDP 1985-2016. Available at: http://www.tradingeconomics.com/angola/gd [Accessed: 10 November 2016].

[6] n.1

[7] n.2