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Angola - some basic facts.

James

I just thought tonight as I drove home that we have started talking about Angola but have provided no basic facts about the place. Until I realised that God was asking us to go and help Ruth Hadley I could barely have told you where Angola was.

To inform our readers I thought it worthwhile just to give a very brief summary about the country.

Population – 16.94m
Religions - 53% nominal Christian, 47% Indigenous
Official Language – Portuguese
Prime Minister – Paulo Kassoma
Drive – on the right.
Average life span – 37.6
Capital - Luanda

The undernoted picture is of the capital.

Angola, officially the Republic of 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. Angola was a Portuguese overseas territory from the 16th century to 1975. The country is the second-largest petroleum and diamond producer in sub-Saharan Africa. According to the I.M.F, 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 a faction of the FLEC, a separatist guerrilla from the Cabina exclave in the North, which is still active. About 65% of Angola's oil comes from that region.

 

The Economy 
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 IMF in the country.

Growth is almost entirely driven by rising oil production which surpassed 1.4 million barrels per day in late-2005. It has grown significantly since this date. 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. 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 the Heritage Foundation, a conservative American think tank, oil from Angola has increased so significantly that Angola now is China's biggest supplier of oil.

Health
 A 2007 survey concluded that low and deficient niacin status was common in Angola.Epidemics of cholera, malaria, rabies and African hemorrhagic fevers, are common diseases in several parts of the country. Many regions in this country have high incidence rates of TB and high HIV prevalence rates. Angola has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world.

Culture  
Portugal ruled over Angola for 400 years and both countries share cultural aspects: language and main religion. 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.

Hopefully this will provide a bit more information. It certainly has helped me.