Angola – Gateway of wealth

After surviving more than a dozen assassination attempts, and having been reported dead at least 15 times, Jonas Malheiro Savimbi was killed on 22 February 2002, in a battle with Angolan government troops along riverbanks in the province of Moxico, his birthplace. Savimbi was an anti-communist and anti-colonialist Angolan political and military leader who founded and led the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA). Today, just the thought of Savimbi brings chills to all Africans, as UNITA first waged a guerrilla war against Portuguese colonial rule, 1966–1974, then confronted the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), a civil war which lasted almost three decades, which ended in 2002.

The Republic of Angola, a former Portuguese Colony, got its independence in 1975 with a current estimated population of 31 Million (2018) and a GDP of approximately $106 Billion. The capital, Luanda, is one of the most expensive cities in the world, known as the “Paris of Africa,” a title it gets from the city’s sophisticated cultur.

Angola has been characherised by years of civil war, draught from erratic rainfall and inadequate infrastructure to support economic growth thus the reliance on Oil which contributes about 47% of total GDP and 90% of exports. The decline of oil prices in 2014 destroyed the Angolan economy due to its dependency on oil exports. Its revenues declined by 50% from 2014 to 2017. The shortage of foreign currency reduced growth in non-oil sectors. The recession led to the foreign exchange depreciation of more than 40%, inflation increased to 31.7% in 2017.Despite significant progress on macroeconomic stability and structural reforms, Angola is still suffering the effects of lower oil prices and production levels, with an estimated GDP contraction around 1.5% in 2018. Economic growth is expected to remain subdued in 2019 because of a lower oil price forecast and  production limitations set by OPEC.

The country is fighting poverty which can be seen in the declining poverty incidence, from 68% in 2000 to 37% in 2018 (AFDB). The President Mr João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço, who came into office in 2017 has embraced reforms on several fronts to achieve macroeconomic stability and create a favorable environment for economic growth. Two new laws that are essential to enhance private sector-led growth and competitiveness have been approved: the private investment law and the antitrust law, followed by the creation of a competition authority. This has been welcomed by foreign Investors allowing them repatriation of capital.

Like many African countries, Angola could benefit from more inclusive development policies which can assist in reducing its dependency on oil and diversifying the economy; rebuilding its infrastructure; and improving institutional capacity, governance, public financial management systems, human development indicators, and the living conditions of the population.

On the Neil economic scale, a can of coke cost 600 kwanza (R25.38) and the price of a litre or petrol is 162 Kwanza (R6.38) , so in essence petrol is cheaper than a can of coke, acceptable to a country that produces nearly 1.8 million barrels of oil a day, only second to Nigeria on the African continent.

In conclusion Angola with it’s unkind history of war and strife, has now released itself from a past ruling legacy of the Da Santos era. A new leadership with new ideals of democracy and development is hoped for. This nation of oil, gold, diamonds and agriculture wealth must settle and be what it’s potential dictates and then maybe it will be Africa’s “ Gateway of Wealth “