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For other uses, see Angola (disambiguation).
|Republic of Angola
República de Angola (Portuguese)
|Anthem: Angola Avante! (Portuguese)
Location of Angola (dark blue)
in the African Union (light blue)
and largest city
|Recognised national languages|
|Ethnic groups (2000)|
|Government||Unitary presidential republic|
|-||President||José Eduardo dos Santos|
|-||Vice President||Manuel Vicente|
|-||from Portugal||11 November 1975|
|-||Total||1,246,700 km2 (23rd)
481,354 sq mi
|GDP (PPP)||2014 estimate|
|-||Total||$139.059 billion (64th)|
|-||Per capita||$6,484 (107th)|
|GDP (nominal)||2014 estimate|
|-||Total||$129.785 billion (61st)|
|-||Per capita||$6,052 (91st)|
|HDI (2013)|| 0.526
low · 149th
|Time zone||WAT (UTC+1)|
|-||Summer (DST)||not observed (UTC+1)|
|Drives on the||right|
|ISO 3166 code||AO|
Although its territory has been inhabited since the Paleolithic Era, modern Angola originates in Portuguese colonization, which began with, and was for centuries limited to, coastal settlements and trading posts established from the 16th century onwards. In the 19th century, European settlers slowly and hesitantly began to establish themselves in the interior. As a Portuguese colony, Angola did not encompass its present borders until the early 20th century, following resistance by groups such as the Cuamato, the Kwanyama and the Mbunda. Independence was achieved in 1975 after a protracted liberation war. That same year, Angola descended into an intense civil war that lasted until 2002. It has since become a relatively stable unitary presidential republic.
Angola has vast mineral and petroleum reserves, and its economy is among the fastest growing in the world, especially since the end of the civil war. In spite of this, the standard of living remains low for the majority of the population, and life expectancy and infant mortality rates in Angola are among the worst in the world. Angola's economic growth is highly uneven, with the majority of the nation's wealth concentrated in a disproportionately small sector of the population.
Angola is a member state of the United Nations, OPEC, African Union, the Community of Portuguese Language Countries, the Latin Union and the Southern African Development Community. A highly multiethnic country, Angola's 24.3 million people span various tribal groups, customs, and traditions. Angolan culture reflects centuries of Portuguese rule, namely in the predominance of the Portuguese language and Roman Catholicism, combined with diverse indigenous influences.
EtymologyThe name Angola comes from the Portuguese colonial name Reino de Angola (Kingdom of Angola), appearing as early as Dias de Novais's 1571 charter. The toponym was derived by the Portuguese from the title ngola held by the kings of Ndongo. Ndongo was a kingdom in the highlands, between the Kwanza and Lukala Rivers, nominally tributary to the king of Kongo but which was seeking greater independence during the 16th century.
Main article: History of Angola
Early migrations and political units
During this time, the Bantu established a number of political units ("kingdoms", "empires") in most parts of what today is Angola. The best known of these is the Kingdom of the Kongo that had its centre in the northwest of contemporary Angola, but included important regions in the west of present-day Democratic Republic and Republic of Congo and in southern Gabon. It established trade routes with other trading cities and civilisations up and down the coast of southwestern and West Africa and even with the Great Zimbabwe Mutapa Empire, but engaged in little or no transoceanic trade. To its south lay the Kingdom of Ndongo, from which the area of the later Portuguese colony was sometimes known as Dongo.
The Portuguese established other several settlements, forts, and trading posts along the Angolan coast, principally trading in Angolan slaves for Brazilian plantations. Local slave dealers provided a large number of slaves for the Portuguese Empire, usually sold in exchange for manufactured goods from Europe. This part of the Atlantic slave trade continued until after Brazil's independence in the 1820s.
Despite Portugal's nominal claims, as late as the 19th century, their control over the interior country of Angola was minimal, but the 16th century saw them gain control of the coast through a series of treaties and wars. Life for European colonists was difficult and progress slow. Iliffe notes that "Portuguese records of Angola from the 16th century show that a great famine occurred on average every seventy years; accompanied by epidemic disease, it might kill one-third or one-half of the population, destroying the demographic growth of a generation and forcing colonists back into the river valleys".
Amid the Portuguese Restoration War, the Dutch occupied Luanda in 1641, using alliances with local peoples against Portuguese holdings elsewhere. A fleet under Salvador de Sá retook Luanda for Portugal in 1648; reconquest of the rest of the territory was completed by 1650. New treaties with Kongo were signed in 1649; others with Njinga's Kingdom of Matamba and Ndongo followed in 1656. The conquest of Pungo Andongo in 1671 was the last major Portuguese expansion from Luanda, as attempts to invade Kongo in 1670 and Matamba in 1681 failed. Portugal also expanded inward from Benguela, but until the late 19th century the inroads from Luanda and Benguela were very limited. Portugal had neither the intention nor the means to carry out a large scale territorial occupation and colonization.
The Portuguese regime, meanwhile, refused to accede to the demands for independence, provoking an armed conflict that started in 1961 when freedom fighters attacked both white and black civilians in cross-border operations in northeastern Angola. The war came to be known as the Colonial War. In this struggle, the principal protagonists included, the People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), founded in 1956, the National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA), which appeared in 1961 and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), founded in 1966.
After many years of conflict that led to the weakening of all the insurgent parties, Angola gained its independence on 11 November 1975, after the 1974 coup d'état in Lisbon, Portugal, which overthrew the Portuguese regime headed by Marcelo Caetano.
Portugal's new revolutionary leaders began in 1974 a process of political change at home and accepted independence for its former colonies abroad. In Angola a fight for dominance broke out immediately between the three nationalist movements. The events prompted a mass exodus of Portuguese citizens, creating up to 300 000 destitute Portuguese refugees—the retornados. The new Portuguese government tried to mediate an understanding between the three competing movements, and succeeded in getting them to agree, on paper, to form a common government. But in the end none of the African parties respected the commitments made, and military force resolved the issue.
Independence and civil war
Following negotiations held in Portugal, itself experiencing severe social and political turmoil and uncertainty due to the April 1974 revolution, Angola's three main guerrilla groups agreed to establish a transitional government in January 1975. Within two months, however, the FNLA, MPLA and UNITA had started fighting each other and the country began splitting into zones controlled by rival armed political groups. The MPLA gained control of the capital Luanda and much of the rest of the country. With the support of the United States, Zaïre and South Africa intervened militarily in favour of the FNLA and UNITA with the intention of taking Luanda before the declaration of independence. In response, Cuba intervened in favor of the MPLA (see: Cuba in Angola), which became a flash point for the Cold War.
With Cuban support, the MPLA held Luanda and declared independence on 11 November 1975, with Agostinho Neto becoming the first president, though the civil war continued. At this time, most of the half-million Portuguese who lived in Angola – and who had accounted for the majority of the skilled work in the public administration, agriculture, industries and trade – fled the country, leaving its once prosperous and growing economy in a state of bankruptcy.
For most of 1975–1990, the MPLA organised and maintained a socialist régime. In 1990, when the Cold War ended, MPLA abandoned its ties to the Marxist–Leninist ideology and declared social democracy to be its official ideology, going on to win the 1992 general election. However, eight opposition parties rejected the elections as rigged, sparking the Halloween massacre.
Ceasefire with UNITA
Main article: 2000s in AngolaOn 22 March 2002, Jonas Savimbi, the leader of UNITA, was killed in combat with government troops. A cease-fire was reached by the two factions shortly afterwards. UNITA gave up its armed wing and assumed the role of major opposition party, although in the knowledge that in the present regime a legitimate democratic election was impossible. Although the political situation of the country began to stabilize, regular democratic processes were not established before the Elections in Angola in 2008 and 2012 and the adoption of a new Constitution of Angola in 2010, all of which strengthened the prevailing Dominant-party system. MPLA head officials continue e.g. to be given senior positions in top level companies or other fields, although a few outstanding UNITA figures are given some shares in the economic as well as in the military share.
Among Angola's major problems are a serious humanitarian crisis (a result of the prolonged war), the abundance of minefields, the continuation of the political, and to a much lesser degree, military activities in favour of the independence of the northern exclave of Cabinda, carried out in the context of the protracted Cabinda Conflict by the Frente para a Libertação do Enclave de Cabinda, but most of all, the dilapidation of the country's rich mineral resources by the regime. While most of the internally displaced have now settled around the capital, in the so-called "Musseques", the general situation for Angolans remains desperate.
Main article: Geography of AngolaAt 1,246,620 km2 (481,321 sq mi), Angola is the world's twenty-third largest country. It is comparable in size to Mali, or twice the size of France or Texas. It lies mostly between latitudes 4° and 18°S, and longitudes 12° and 24°E.
Angola is bordered by Namibia to the south, Zambia to the east, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north-east, and the South Atlantic Ocean to the west. The coastal exclave of Cabinda in the north, borders the Republic of the Congo to the north, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the south. Angola's capital, Luanda, lies on the Atlantic coast in the northwest of the country.
Main article: Climate of Angola
Main article: Politics of Angola
See also: Elections in Angola, Constitution of Angola, List of political parties in Angola, Foreign relations of Angola and List of diplomatic missions of Angola
The Constitution of 2010 establishes the broad outlines of government structure and delineates the rights and duties of citizens. The legal system is based on Portuguese and customary law but is weak and fragmented, and courts operate in only 12 of more than 140 municipalities. A Supreme Court serves as the appellate tribunal; a Constitutional Court holds the powers of judicial review. Governors of the 18 provinces are appointed by the president.
After the end of the Civil War the regime came under pressure from within as well as from the international environment, to become more democratic and less authoritarian. Its reaction was to operate a number of changes without substantially changing its character.
Angola is classified as 'not free' by Freedom House in the Freedom in the World 2014 report. The report noted that the August 2012 parliamentary elections, in which the ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola won more than 70% of the vote, suffered from serious flaws, including outdated and inaccurate voter rolls. Voter turnout dropped from 80% in 2008 to 60%.
Angola scored poorly on the 2013 Ibrahim Index of African Governance. It was ranked 39 out of 52 sub-Saharan African countries, scoring particularly badly in the areas of Participation and Human Rights, Sustainable Economic Opportunity and Human Development. The Ibrahim Index uses a number of different variables to compile its list which reflects the state of governance in Africa.
The new constitution, adopted in 2010, further sharpened the authoritarian character of the regime. In the future, there will be no presidential elections: the president and the vice-president of the political party which comes out strongest in the parliamentary elections become automatically president and vice-president of Angola. Through a variety of mechanisms, the state president controls all the other organs of the state, so that the principle of the division of power is not maintained. As a consequence, Angola no longer has a presidential system in the sense of the systems existing, e.g., in the USA or in France. In terms of the classifications used in constitutional law, its regime is considered one of several authoritarian regimes in Africa.
On 16 October 2014, Angola was elected for the second time as non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, with 190 favourable votes out of 193. The mandate begins on 1 January 2015 and lasts for two years.
Also in that month, the country took on the leadership of the Group of African Ministers and Governors at the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, following the debates at the annual meetings of both entities.
Since January 2014 the Republic of Angola holds the presidency of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR). In 2015, the executive secretary of ICGLR, Ntumba Luaba, said that Angola is the example to be followed by members of the organization, because of the significant progress made over the 12 years of peace, particularly in terms of socio-economic and political-military stability.
Main article: Angolan Armed ForcesThe Angolan Armed Forces (AAF) is headed by a Chief of Staff who reports to the Minister of Defense. There are three divisions—the Army (Exército), Navy (Marinha de Guerra, MGA), and National Air Force (Força Aérea Nacional, FAN). Total manpower is about 110,000. Its equipment includes Russian-manufactured fighters, bombers, and transport planes. There are also Brazilian-made EMB-312 Tucano for training role, Czech-made L-39 for training and bombing role, Czech Zlin for training role and a variety of western made aircraft such as C-212\Aviocar, Sud Aviation Alouette III, etc. A small number of AAF personnel are stationed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa) and the Republic of the Congo (Brazzaville).
PoliceThe National Police departments are Public Order, Criminal Investigation, Traffic and Transport, Investigation and Inspection of Economic Activities, Taxation and Frontier Supervision, Riot Police and the Rapid Intervention Police. The National Police are in the process of standing up an air wing, which will provide helicopter support for operations. The National Police are developing their criminal investigation and forensic capabilities. The force has an estimated 6,000 patrol officers, 2,500 taxation and frontier supervision officers, 182 criminal investigators and 100 financial crimes detectives and around 90 economic activity inspectors.
The National Police have implemented a modernization and development plan to increase the capabilities and efficiency of the total force. In addition to administrative reorganization, modernization projects include procurement of new vehicles, aircraft and equipment, construction of new police stations and forensic laboratories, restructured training programs and the replacement of AKM rifles with 9 mm Uzis for officers in urban areas.
JusticeIn 2014, it is expected to enter into effect a new Penal Code in Angola. The classification of the money laundering crime is one of the novelties in the new legislation.
Exclave of Cabinda
According to a 1995 census, Cabinda had an estimated population of 600,000, approximately 400,000 of whom live in neighboring countries. Population estimates are, however, highly unreliable. Consisting largely of tropical forest, Cabinda produces hardwoods, coffee, cocoa, crude rubber and palm oil. The product for which it is best known, however, is its oil, which has given it the nickname, "the Kuwait of Africa". Cabinda's petroleum production from its considerable offshore reserves now accounts for more than half of Angola's output. Most of the oil along its coast was discovered under Portuguese rule by the Cabinda Gulf Oil Company (CABGOC) from 1968 onwards.
Ever since Portugal handed over sovereignty of its former overseas province of Angola to the local independence groups (MPLA, UNITA, and FNLA), the territory of Cabinda has been a focus of separatist guerrilla actions opposing the Government of Angola (which has employed its military forces, the FAA—Forças Armadas Angolanas) and Cabindan separatists. The Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda-Armed Forces of Cabinda (FLEC-FAC) announced a virtual Federal Republic of Cabinda under the Presidency of N'Zita Henriques Tiago. One of the characteristics of the Cabindan independence movement is its constant fragmentation, into smaller and smaller factions.
Main article: Economy of Angola
Overall, Angola's economy has undergone a period of transformation in recent years, moving from the disarray caused by a quarter century of civil war to being the fastest growing economy in Africa and one of the fastest in the world, with an average GDP growth of 20 percent between 2005 and 2007. In the period 2001–10, Angola had the world's highest annual average GDP growth, at 11.1 percent. In 2004, China's Eximbank approved a $2 billion line of credit to Angola. The loan is being used to rebuild Angola's infrastructure, and has also limited the influence of the International Monetary Fund in the country. China is Angola's biggest trade partner and export destination as well as the fourth-largest importer. Bilateral trade reached $27.67 billion in 2011, up 11.5 percent year-on-year. China's imports, mainly crude oil and diamonds, increased 9.1 percent to $24.89 billion while China's exports, including mechanical and electrical products, machinery parts and construction materials, surged 38.8 percent. The overabundance of oil led to a local unleaded gasoline "pricetag" of £0.37 per gallon.
The Economist reported in 2008 that diamonds and oil make up 60 percent of Angola's economy, almost all of the country's revenue and are its dominant exports. Growth is almost entirely driven by rising oil production which surpassed 1.4 million barrels per day (220,000 m3/d) in late 2005 and was expected to grow to 2 million barrels per day (320,000 m3/d) by 2007. Control of the oil industry is consolidated in Sonangol Group, a conglomerate which is owned by the Angolan government. In December 2006, Angola was admitted as a member of OPEC. However, operations in diamond mines include partnerships between state-run Endiama and mining companies such as ALROSA which continue operations in Angola. The economy grew 18% in 2005, 26% in 2006 and 17.6% in 2007. However, due to the global recession the economy contracted an estimated −0.3% in 2009. The security brought about by the 2002 peace settlement has led to the resettlement of 4 million displaced persons, thus resulting in large-scale increases in agriculture production.
Although the country's economy has developed significantly since achieving political stability in 2002, mainly thanks to the fast-rising earnings of the oil sector, Angola faces huge social and economic problems. These are in part a result of the almost continual state of conflict from 1961 onwards, although the highest level of destruction and socio-economic damage took place after the 1975 independence, during the long years of civil war. However, high poverty rates and blatant social inequality are chiefly the outcome of a combination of a persistent political authoritarianism, of "neo-patrimonial" practices at all levels of the political, administrative, military, and economic apparatuses, and of a pervasive corruption. The main beneficiary of this situation is a social segment constituted since 1975, but mainly during the last decades, around the political, administrative, economic, and military power holders, which has accumulated (and continues accumulating) enormous wealth. "Secondary beneficiaries" are the middle strata which are about to become social classes. However, overall almost half the population has to be considered as poor, but in this respect there are dramatic differences between the countryside and the cities (where by now slightly more than 50% of the people live).
An inquiry carried out in 2008 by the Angolan Instituto Nacional de Estatística has it that in the rural areas roughly 58% must be classified as "poor", according to UN norms, but in the urban areas only 19%, while the overall rate is 37%. In the cities, a majority of families, well beyond those officially classified as poor, have to adopt a variety of survival strategies. At the same time, in urban areas social inequality is most evident, and assumes extreme forms in the capital, Luanda. In the Human Development Index Angola constantly ranks in the bottom group.
According to The Heritage Foundation, a conservative American think tank, oil production from Angola has increased so significantly that Angola now is China's biggest supplier of oil. Growing oil revenues have also created opportunities for corruption: according to a recent Human Rights Watch report, 32 billion US dollars disappeared from government accounts from 2007 to 2010.
Before independence in 1975, Angola was a breadbasket of southern Africa and a major exporter of bananas, coffee and sisal, but three decades of civil war (1975–2002) destroyed the fertile countryside, leaving it littered with landmines and driving millions into the cities. The country now depends on expensive food imports, mainly from South Africa and Portugal, while more than 90 percent of farming is done at family and subsistence level. Thousands of Angolan small-scale farmers are trapped in poverty.
The enormous differences between the regions pose a serious structural problem in the Angolan economy. This is best illustrated by the fact that about one third of the economic activities is concentrated in Luanda and the neighbouring Bengo province, while several areas of the interior are characterized by stagnation and even regression.
One of the economic consequences of the social and regional disparities is a sharp increase in Angolan private investments abroad. The small fringe of Angolan society where most of the accumulation takes place seeks to spread its assets, for reasons of security and profit. For the time being, the biggest share of these investments is concentrated in Portugal where the Angolan presence (including that of the family of the state president) in banks as well as in the domains of energy, telecommunications, and mass media has become notable, as has the acquisition of vineyards and orchards as well as of touristic enterprises.
Sub-Saharan Africa nations are globally achieving impressive improvements in well-being, according to a report by Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative and The Boston Consulting Group. Angola has upgraded critical infrastructure, an investment made possible by funds from the nation's development of oil resources. According to this report, just slightly more than ten years after the end of the civil war Angola's standard of living has overall greatly improved. Life expectancy, which was just 46 years in 2002, reached 51 in 2011. Mortality rates for children fell from 25 percent in 2001 to 19 percent in 2010 and the number of students enrolled in primary school has tripled since 2001. However, at the same time the social and economic inequality that has characterised the country since long has not diminished, but on the contrary deepened in all respects.
With a stock of assets corresponding to 70 billion USD (6.8 billion Kz), Angola is now the third largest financial market in sub-Saharan Africa, surpassed only by Nigeria and South Africa. According to the Angolan Minister of Economy, Abraão Gourgel, the financial market of the country grew modestly from 2002 and now lies in third place at the level of sub-Saharan Africa.
Angola's economy is expected to grow by 3.9 percent in 2014 said the International Monetary Fund (IMF). According to the Fund, robust growth in the nonoil economy, mainly driven by a very good performance in the agricultural sector, is expected to offset a temporary drop in oil production.
Angola's financial system is maintained by the National Bank of Angola and managed by governor Jose de Lima Massano. According to a study on the banking sector, carried out by Deloitte, the monetary policy led by Banco Nacional de Angola (BNA), the Angolan national bank, allowed a decrease in the inflation rate put at 7.96% in December 2013, which contributed to the sector's growth trend. According to estimates released by Angola's central bank, the country's economy should grow at an annual average rate of 5 percent over the next four years, boosted by the increasing participation of the private sector.
On 19 December 2014, the Capital Market in Angola started. BODIVA (Angola Securities and Debt Stock Exchange, in English) received the secondary public debt market, and it is expected to start the corporate debt market by 2015, but the stock market should only be a reality in 2016.
Main article: Transport in Angola
- Three separate railway systems totalling 2,761 km (1,715 mi)
- 76,626 km (47,613 mi) of highway of which 19,156 km (11,903 mi) is paved
- 1,295 navigable inland waterways
- Eight major sea ports
- 243 airports, of which 32 are paved.
TelecommunicationsThe telecommunications industry is considered one of the main strategic sectors in Angola.
In October 2014, the building of the first optic fiber underwater cable in the Southern Hemisphere was announced. This project aims to turn Angola into a continental hub, thus improving Internet connections both nationally and internationally.
On 11 March 2015, the First Angolan Forum of Telecommunications and Information Technology was held, in Luanda under the motto "The challenges of telecommunications in the current context of Angola". The purpose of this forum was to promote the debate on topical issues on telecommunications in Angola and worldwide. A study about this sector was also presented at this forum, and some of its conclusions were: Angola had the first telecommunications operator in Africa to test the High Speed Internet technology (LTE-Advanced with speeds up to 400Mbit/s); It has a mobile penetration rate of about 75%; There are about 3.5 million smartphones in the Angolan market; There are about 25,000 kilometers of optical fiber installed in the country.
The first Angolan satellite, AngoSat-1, will be ready for launch into orbit in 2016 and it will ensure telecommunications throughout the country. According to Aristides Safeca, Secretary of State for Telecommunications, the satellite will provide telecommunications services, TV, internet and e-government and will remain into orbit "at best" for 18 years.
TechnologyThe management of the domain '.ao' on web pages, will go from Portugal to Angola in 2015, following the approval of a new legislation by the Angolan Government. The joint decree of the minister of Telecommunications and Information Technologies, José Carvalho da Rocha, and the minister of Science and Technology, Maria Cândida Pereira Teixeira, states that "under the massification" of that Angolan domain, "conditions are created for the transfer of the domain root '.ao' of Portugal to Angola".
Main article: Demographics of AngolaAngola has a population of 24,383,301 inhabitants according to the preliminary results of its 2014 census, the first one conducted or carried out since 15 December 1970. It is composed of Ovimbundu (language Umbundu) 37%, Ambundu (language Kimbundu) 25%, Bakongo 13%, and 32% other ethnic groups (including the Chokwe, the Ovambo, the Ganguela and the Xindonga) as well as about 2% mestiços (mixed European and African), 1.4% Chinese and 1% European. The Ambundu and Ovimbundu nations combined form a majority of the population, at 62%. The population is forecast to grow to over 60 million people to 2050, 2.7 times the 2014 population.
It is estimated that Angola was host to 12,100 refugees and 2,900 asylum seekers by the end of 2007. 11,400 of those refugees were originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, who arrived in the 1970s. As of 2008 there were an estimated 400,000 Democratic Republic of the Congo migrant workers, at least 30,000 Portuguese, and about 259,000 Chinese living in Angola.
Since 2003, more than 400,000 Congolese migrants have been expelled from Angola. Prior to independence in 1975, Angola had a community of approximately 350,000 Portuguese, but the vast majority left after independence and the ensuing civil war. However, Angola has recovered its Portuguese minority in recent years; currently, there are about 200,000 registered with the consulates, and increasing due to the debt crisis in Portugal and the relative prosperity in Angola. The Chinese population stands at 258,920, mostly composed of temporary migrants. Also, there is a small Brazilian community of about 5,000 people.
The total fertility rate of Angola is 5.54 children born per woman (2012 estimates), the 11th highest in the world.