|Full name||Republic of Angola (Republica de Angola)|
|Location||Southern Africa, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Namibia and Democratic Republic of the Congo|
|Geographic coordinates||12 30 S, 18 30 E|
|Currency||Angolan Kwanza (KZR)|
|Internet code||.ao||Industry||Petroleum, diamonds, iron ore, phosphates, feldspar, bauxite, uranium, gold|
|Agriculture||Bananas, sugarcane, coffee, sisal, livestock, forest products, fish|
|Exports||Crude oil, diamonds, refined petroleum products, gas|
|Geographic note||The province of Cabinda is an exclave, separated from the rest of the country by the Democratic Republic of the Congo|
Angola is an eye-opener – in more ways than one. Untouched by foreign visitors since the early 1970s, the country remains unexplored, with very few outsiders privy to its wondrous geographic highlights and vast cultural riches.
Advancements in infrastructure has dramatically improved the security situation in the country. However, travelling in Angola remains the preserve of adventurers, or those on flexible budgets. With the transport network gradually recovering and wildlife being shipped in to repopulate national parks, the signs of recovery from war are more than just a mirage.
The attractions are manifold. From chilling out on expansive beaches, sampling the solitude in virgin wildlife parks or sifting through the ruins of Portuguese colonialism, Angola is the place for souls with an adventurous spirit.
Source: Lonely Planet
Angola’s natural resource wealth helped attract direct foreign investment and ensured strong economic growth over the past decade. Growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is projected to remain subdued, at 3.3% in 2016 and 3.5% in 2017. Growth of the oil sector will average 4%. The non-oil sector is expected to show some improvement, growing by 3.4%, driven mainly by a strong recovery in agriculture.
In January 2016, the government adopted a strategy for mitigation of the oil crisis aimed at finding substitutes for oil as a major source of revenue. Agriculture is expected to play a key role in boosting the country’s exports and generating foreign currency earnings. The strategy also envisages investments in infrastructure, gradual reduction of imports, deepening of financial sector reforms, skills development, and improvement of the business environment.
Angola is perceived as highly urbanised, with 62.3% of the population living in urban areas. The country has a National Urbanisation and Housing Programme, a 2015-2030 Metropolitan Plan for Luanda, and several ongoing urbanisation projects in other areas. Rural to urban migration has been a major driver of urbanisation especially during the 27 years of armed conflict that followed independence in 1975.
Source: African Economic Outlook
Angola celebrated 14 years of peace after the signing of the Luena Agreement in 2002. In August 2012, the country held its second legislative elections since the end of the war and the first under the new constitution, with no longer direct election of the President. By and large, it was considered better organised than the 2008 elections.
The MPLA secured 71.8% of the vote (81% in 2008) and the opposition parties increased the number of seats by 45. A new political party created from dissidents of UNITA and the MPLA made significant gains. In keeping with the new Constitution, the leader of the majority party in the National Assembly, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, was declared President of the Republic. He was sworn in as the ‘legitimate’ president after 33 years in power.
The theme for the MPLA political programme for the next five years is “more growth, better distribution”. The new government is developing a five year development plan to deliver on this promise with a focus on diversification of the economy, investment in the social sector, and agricultural development.