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      AFRICA
      You are here: Africa >Angola


      Angola

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      General background information including politics, international relations and economic overview.

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      Angola
      Luanda

      Rep鷅lica de Angola
      Republic of Angola

      Flag of Angola

      Coat of arms of Angola

      Flag

      Coat of arms

      Location of Angola

      For more detailed maps, click here.

      Capital  

      Luanda
      8°50′S, 13 °20′E

      Largest city  

      Luanda

      Official language  

      Portuguese

      Government  

      Republic

      Area

       Total  

      1,246,700 km² (23rd)
      481,354 sq mi

       Water (%)  

      negligible

      Population

       2005 estimate  

      15,941,000 (61st)

       1970 census  

      5,646,177

       Density  

      13/km² (199th)
      34 /sq mi

      GDP (nominal)  

      2005 estimate

       Total  

      $43,362 billion (82nd)

       Per capita  

      $2,813 (126th)

      Human Development Index  (2007)  

      0.446 (low) (162nd)

      Currency  

      Kwanza (AOA)

      Hours ahead (+) or behind (-) SA:  

      -1

      Internet TLD  

      .ao

      Calling code  

      +244

      ISO code  

      AO

       

      Background

      Angola, officially the Republic of Angola (Portuguese: Rep鷅lica de Angola, is a country in south-central Africa bordering Namibia to the south, Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, and Zambia to the east, and with a west coast along the Atlantic Ocean. The exclave province Cabinda has a border with the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Angola was a Portuguese colony from the 16th century to 1975. The country is the second-largest petroleum and diamond producer in sub-Saharan Africa, yet its people are among the continent's poorest. According to the International Monetary Fund, more than $4 billion in oil receipts have disappeared from Angola's treasury in the 2000s. In August 2006, a peace deal was signed with separatist rebels from the Cabinda exclave in the North. About 65% of Angola's oil comes from that region.

      Politics

      Angola's motto is Virtus Unita Fortior, a Latin phrase meaning "Virtue is stronger when united." The executive branch of the government is composed of the President, the Prime Minister (currently Fernando da Piedade Dias dos Santos) and Council of Ministers. Currently, political power is concentrated in the Presidency. The Council of Ministers, composed of all government ministers and vice ministers, meets regularly to discuss policy issues. Governors of the 18 provinces are appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the president. The Constitutional Law of 1992 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 twelve of more than 140 municipalities. A Supreme Court serves as the appellate tribunal; a Constitutional Court with powers of judicial review has never been constituted despite statutory authorization.

      The current government has announced an intention to hold elections in 2008. These elections would be the first since 1992 and would serve to elect both a new president and a new National Assembly.

      Provinces and districts

      Angola is divided into eighteen provinces (províncias) and 163 municipalities. The provinces are:

      1. Bengo
      2. Benguela
      3. Bié
      4. Cabinda
      5. Cuando Cubango
      6. Cuanza Norte
      7. Cuanza Sul
      8. Cunene
      9. Huambo
      10. Huila
      11. Luanda
      12. Lunda Norte
      13. Lunda Sul
      14. Malanje
      15. Moxico
      16. Namibe
      17. Uíge
      18. Zaire
      Angolan provinces

      Economic overview

      Angola's economy has undergone a period of transformation in recent years, moving from the disarray caused by a quarter century of war to being the second fastest growing economy in Africa and one of the fastest in the world. 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.

      Growth is almost entirely driven by rising oil production which surpassed 1.4 million barrels (220,000 m? per day in late-2005 and which is expected to grow to 2 million barrels (320,000 m? per day 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.[12] The economy grew 18% in 2005, 26% in 2006 and 17.6% in 2007 and it's expected to stay above 10% for the rest of the decade. 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.

      The country has developed its economy since political stability arose in 2002. However, it faces huge social and economic problems as a result of an almost continual state of conflict since 1961, although the highest level of destruction and socio-economic damage was reached after the 1975 independence, during the long years of civil war. Rapidly rising production and revenues from the oil sector have been the main driving forces behind the improvements in overall economic activity - nevertheless, poverty remains widespread. Anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International rated Angola one of the 10 most corrupt countries in the world in 2005. The capital city is the most developed and the only large economic center worth mentioning in the country, however, slums called musseques, stretch for miles beyond Luanda's former city limits.

      According to an American think tank, oil from Angola has increased so significantly that Angola now is China's biggest supplier of oil.

      Demographics

      Angola is composed of Ovimbundu 37%, Kimbundu 25%, Bakongo 13%, mesti鏾s (mixed European and native African) 2%, European 1%, and 22% 'other' ethnic groups.

      Angola is a majority Christian country, with 53% of citizens professing the religion. Most Angolan Christians are Roman Catholic, 38%, or Protestant, 15%. 46.8% of Angolans practice indigenous beliefs.

      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 (Congo-Kinshasa) who arrived in the 1970s.

      Culture

      Portugal ruled over Angola for 400 years and both countries share cultural aspects: language (Portuguese) and main religion (Roman Catholic Christianity). The Angolan culture is mostly native Bantu which was mixed with Portuguese culture. In the Moxico province more than 10,000 persons are Spanish-speaking (ca. 4.34% of the population of this province) due to the presence of Cuban troops during the civil war.

      This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Metasyntactic variable".

       

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