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Angola, officially the Republic of Angola ( , ; ), is a country in south-central Africa bordered by Namibiamarker on the south, Democratic Republic of the Congomarker on the north, and Zambiamarker on the east; its west coast is on the Atlantic Oceanmarker. The exclave province of Cabindamarker has a border with the Republic of the Congomarker and the Democratic Republic of the Congomarker. Angola was a Portuguese overseas territorymarker from the 16th century to 1975. After independence, Angola was the scene of an intense civil war from 1975 to 2002. The country is the second-largest petroleum and diamond producer in sub-Saharan Africa; however, its life expectancy and infant mortality rates are both among the worst ranked in the world. In August 2006, a peace treaty was signed with a faction of the FLEC, a separatist guerrilla group from the Cabindamarker exclave in the North, which is still active. About 65% of Angola's oil comes from that region.

History

Early migrations

Khoisan hunter-gatherers are some of the earliest known modern human inhabitants of the area. They were largely replaced by Bantu tribes during the Bantu migrations, though small numbers of Khoisans remain in parts of southern Angola to the present day. The Bantu came from the north, probably from somewhere near the present-day Republic of Cameroonmarker. When they reached what is now Angola, they encountered the Khoisans, Bushmen and other groups considerably less advanced than themselves, whom they easily dominated with their superior knowledge of metal-working, ceramics and agriculture. The establishment of the Bantus took many centuries and gave rise to various groups who took on different ethnic characteristics.

The BaKongo kingdoms of Angola established trade routes with other trading cities and civilizations up and down the coast of southwestern and West Africa but engaged in little or no transoceanic trade. This contrasts with the Great Zimbabwemarker Mutapa civilization which traded with India, the Persian Gulf civilizations and China. The BaKongo engaged in limited trading with Great Zimbabwe, exchanging copper and iron for salt, food and raffia textiles across the Kongo River.

Portuguese rule

The geographical areas now designated as Angola first became subject to incursions by the Portuguese in the late 15th century. In 1483, when Portugal established relations with the Kongo State, Ndongo and Lunda existed. The Kongo State stretched from modern Gabonmarker in the north to the Kwanza River in the south. Angola became a link in European trade with India and Southeast Asia. The Portuguesemarker explorer Paulo Dias de Novais founded Luandamarker in 1575 as "São Paulo de Loanda", with a hundred families of settlers and four hundred soldiers. Benguelamarker, a Portuguese fort from 1587 which became a town in 1617, was another important early settlement they founded and ruled. The Portuguese would establish several settlements, forts and trading posts along the coastal strip of current-day Angola, which relied on slave trade, commerce in raw materials, and exchange of goods for survival. The African slave trade provided a large number of black slaves to Europeans and their African agents. For example, in what is now Angola, the Imbangala economy was heavily focused on the slave trade. European traders would export manufactured goods to the coast of Africa where they would be exchanged for slaves. Within the Portuguese Empire, most black African slaves were traded to Portuguese merchants who bought them to sell as cheap labour for use on Brazilian agricultural plantations. This trade would last until the first half of the 1800s.
The Portuguese gradually took control of the coastal strip during the sixteenth century by a series of treaties and wars forming the Portuguese colony of Angola. Taking advantage of the Portuguese Restoration War, the Dutchmarker occupied Luanda from 1641 to 1648, where they allied with local peoples, consolidating their colonial rule against the remaining Portuguese resistance.

In 1648 a fleet under the command of Salvador de Sá retook Luanda for Portugal and initiated a conquest of the lost territories, which restored Portugal to its former possessions by 1650. Treaties regulated relations with Congo in 1649 and Njinga's Kingdom of Matamba and Ndongo in 1656. The conquest of Pungo Andongo in 1671 was the last great Portuguese expansion, as attempts to invade Congo in 1670 and Matamba in 1681 failed. Portugal expanded its territory behind the colony of Benguela in the eighteenth century, and began the attempt to occupy other regions in the mid-nineteenth century. The process resulted in few gains until the 1880s. Development of the hinterland began after the Berlin Conference in 1885 fixed the colony's borders, and British and Portuguese investment fostered mining, railways, and agriculture. Full Portuguese administrative control of the hinterland did not occur until the beginning of the twentieth century. In 1951, the colony was designated as an overseas province, called Overseas Province of Angolamarker. Portugal had a presence in Angola for nearly five hundred years, and the population's initial reaction to calls for independence was mixed. More overtly political organisations first appeared in the 1950s, and began to make organised demands for their rights, especially in international forums such as the Non-Aligned Movement. The Portuguese regimemarker, meanwhile, refused to accede to the nationalist's demands of separatism, provoking an armed conflict that started in 1961 when black guerrillas 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 were the MPLA (Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola), founded in 1956, the FNLA (National Front for the Liberation of Angola), which appeared in 1961, and UNITA (National Union for the Total Independence of Angola), founded in 1966. After many years of conflict, Angola gained its independence on 11 November 1975, after the 1974 coup d'état in the metropole's capital city of Lisbonmarker which overthrew the Portuguese regime headed by Marcelo Caetano. Portugal's new revolutionary leaders began a process of democratic change at home and acceptance of its former colonies' independence abroad. These events prompted a mass exodus of Portuguese citizens from Portugal's African territories (mostly from Portuguese Angolamarker and Mozambiquemarker), creating over a million destitute Portuguese refugees — the retornados.

Independence and civil war

After independence in November 1975, Angola faced a devastating civil war which lasted several decades and claimed millions of lives and refugees. Following negotiations held in Portugal, itself under 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 were fighting each other and the country was well on its way to being divided into zones controlled by rival armed political groups. The superpowers were quickly drawn into the conflict, which became a flash point for the Cold War. The United Statesmarker, Portugalmarker, Brazilmarker and South Africa supported the FNLA and UNITA. The Soviet Unionmarker and Cubamarker supported the MPLA.

Ceasefire with UNITA

On February 22, 2002, Jonas Savimbi, the leader of UNITA, was killed in combat with government troops, and a cease-fire was reached by the two factions. UNITA gave up its armed wing and assumed the role of major opposition party. Although the political situation of the country began to stabilize, President dos Santos has so far refused to institute regular democratic processes. Among Angola's major problems are a serious humanitarian crisis (a result of the prolonged war), the abundance of minefields, and the actions of guerrilla movements fighting for the independence of the northern exclave of Cabindamarker (Frente para a Libertação do Enclave de Cabinda). While most of the internally displaced have now returned home, the general situation for most Angolans remains desperate, and the development facing the government challenging as a consequence.

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 Paulo Kassoma) and the Council of Ministers. For decades, political power has been 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.

Parliamentary elections held on 5 September 2008, announced MPLA as the winning party with 81% of votes. The closest opposition party was UNITA with 10%. These elections were the first since 1992 and were described as only partly free but certainly not as fair. A White Book on the elections in 2008 lists up all irregularities surrounding the Parliamentary elections of 2008.

Angola scored poorly on the 2008 Ibrahim Index of African Governance - it was ranked 44 from 48 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.

Treatment of Environmentalists

Sarah Wykes, a London-based researcher for Global Witness, was arrested in Angola last year and charged with espionage. She was jailed for several days before she was released: The charges leveled against her are still pending.

Administrative divisions

Map of Angola with the provinces numbered


Angola is divided into eighteen provinces (províncias) and 163 municipalities. The provinces are:
  1. Bengomarker
  2. Benguelamarker
  3. Biémarker
  4. Cabindamarker
  5. Cuando Cubangomarker
  6. Cuanza Nortemarker
  7. Cuanza Sulmarker
  8. Cunenemarker
  9. Huambomarker
  1. Huilamarker
  2. Luandamarker
  3. Lunda Nortemarker
  4. Lunda Sul
  5. Malanjemarker
  6. Moxicomarker
  7. Namibemarker
  8. Uígemarker
  9. Zairemarker


Exclave of Cabinda

With an area of approximately , the Northern Angolan province of Cabinda is unique in being separated from the rest of the country by a strip, some wide, of the Democratic Republic of Congomarker (DRC) along the lower Congo rivermarker. Cabinda borders the Congo Republicmarker to the north and north-northeast and the DRC to the east and south. The town of Cabinda is the chief population center. 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. Since Portugalmarker handed over sovereignty of its former overseas province of Angola to the local independentist 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 Cabindan separatists, 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, in a process which although not totally fomented by the Angolan government, is undoubtedly encouraged and duly exploited by it.

Military

The 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. The army is by far the largest of the services with about 100,000 men and women. The Navy numbers about 3,000 and operates several small patrol craft and barges. Air force personnel total about 7,000; its equipment includes Russianmarker-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 FAA personnel are stationed in the Democratic Republic of the Congomarker (Kinshasa) and the Republic of the Congomarker (Brazzaville).

Police

The 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 police operations. The National Police are also developing their criminal investigation and forensic capabilities. The National Police 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 police officers in urban areas.

Geography



At , Angola is the world's twenty-third largest country (after Nigermarker). It is comparable in size to Malimarker and is nearly twice the size of the US state of Texasmarker, or five times the area of the United Kingdommarker.

Angola is bordered by Namibiamarker to the south, Zambiamarker to the east, the Democratic Republic of the Congomarker to the north-east, and the South Atlantic Oceanmarker to the west. The exclave of Cabindamarker also borders the Republic of the Congomarker to the north. Angola's capital, Luandamarker, lies on the Atlantic coast in the north-west of the country. Angola's average temperature on the coast is
in the winter and in the summer.


Economy

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. 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 Fundmarker in the country.

Growth is almost entirely driven by rising oil production which surpassed in late-2005 and was expected to grow to 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. 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's economy has grown since achieving political stability in 2002. However, it faces huge social and economic problems as 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. The oil sector, with its fast-rising earnings has been the main driving force behind 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 centre worth mentioning in the country, however, slums called musseques, stretch for miles beyond Luandamarker's former city limits.

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.

Transport

Transport in Angola consists of:
  • Three separate railway systems totalling 2,761 km
  • 76,626 km of highway of which 19,156 km is paved
  • 1,295 navigable inland waterways
  • Eight major sea ports
  • 243 airports, of which 32 are paved.


Demographics

Ethnic groups of Angola


Angola is composed of Ovimbundu 37%, Mbundu 25%, Bakongo 13%, mestiços (mixed European and native African) 2%, European 1%, and 22% 'other' ethnic groups. The two Mbundu and Ovimbundu nations combined form a majority of the population, at 62%.

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. As of 2008 there were an estimated 400,000 DRCmarker migrant workers, at least 30,000 Portuguese, and at least 20,000 Chinese living in Angola. Prior to independence in 1975, Angola had a community of approximately 500,000 Portuguese.

Languages

Portuguese is spoken as a first language by 60% of the population, and as a second language by another 20%. The dominance of Portuguese over the native Kimbundu and other African languages is due to a strong influence from Portugal, as opposed to in Mozambiquemarker, which being more remote from the Lusosphere, retained a majority of Bantu language speakers.

Religion

Christianity is the major religion in Angola. The World Christian Database states that the Angolan population is 93.5% Christian, 4.7% ethnoreligionist (indigenous), 0.6% Muslim, 0.9% Agnostic and 0.2% non-religious. However, other sources put the percent of Christians at 53% with the remaining population adhering to indigenous beliefs. According to these sources, of Christians in Angola, 72% are Roman Catholic, and 28% are Baptist, Presbyterian, Reformed Evangelical, Pentecostal, Methodists and a few small Christian cults.

In a study assessing nations' levels of religious regulation and persecution with scores ranging from 0-10 where 0 represented low levels of regulation or persecution, Angola was scored 0.8 on Government Regulation of Religion, 4.0 on Social Regulation of Religion, 0 on Government Favoritism of Religion and 0 on Religious Persecution.

The largest Protestant denominations include the Methodists, Baptists, Congregationalists (United Church of Christ), and Assemblies of God. The largest syncretic religious group is the Kimbanguist Church, whose followers believe that a mid-20th century Congolese pastor named Joseph Kimbangu was a prophet. A small portion of the country's rural population practices animism or traditional indigenous religions. There is a small Islamic community based around migrants from West Africa.

In colonial times, the country's coastal populations primarily were Catholic while the Protestant mission groups were active inland. With the massive social displacement caused by 26 years of civil war, this rough division is no longer valid.

Foreign missionaries were very active prior to independence in 1975, although the Portuguese colonial authorities expelled many Protestant missionaries and closed mission stations based on the belief that the missionaries were inciting pro-independence sentiments. Missionaries have been able to return to the country since the early 1990s, although security conditions due to the civil war have prevented them from restoring many of their former inland mission stations.

The Roman Catholic denomination mostly keeps to itself in contrast to the major Protestant denominations which are much more active in trying to win new members. The major Protestant denominations provide help for the poor in the form of crop seeds, farm animals, medical care and education in the English language, math, history and religion..

Health

A 2007 survey concluded that low and deficient niacin status was common in Angola. Epidemics of cholera, malaria, rabies and African hemorrhagic fevers like Marburg hemorrhagic fever, are common diseases in several parts of the country. Many regions in this country have high incidence rates of tuberculosis and high HIV prevalence rates. Dengue, filariasis, leishmaniasis, and onchocerciasis (river blindness) are other diseases carried by insects that also occur in the region. Angola has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world and one of the world's lowest life expectancies.

Education

Although by law, education in Angola is compulsory and free for 8 years, the government reports that a certain percentage of students are not attending school due to a lack of school buildings and teachers. Students are often responsible for paying additional school-related expenses, including fees for books and supplies. In 1999, the gross primary enrollment rate was 74 percent and in 1998, the most recent year for which data are available, the net primary enrollment rate was 61 percent. Gross and net enrollment ratios are based on the number of students formally registered in primary school and therefore do not necessarily reflect actual school attendance. There continue to be significant disparities in enrollment between rural and urban areas. In 1995, 71.2 percent of children ages 7 to 14 years were attending school. It is reported that higher percentages of boys attend school than girls. During the Angolan Civil War (1975-2002), nearly half of all schools were reportedly looted and destroyed, leading to current problems with overcrowding. The Ministry of Education hired 20,000 new teachers in 2005, and continued to implement teacher trainings. Teachers tend to be underpaid, inadequately trained, and overworked (sometimes teaching two or three shifts a day). Teachers also reportedly demand payment or bribes directly from their students. Other factors, such as the presence of landmines, lack of resources and identity papers, and poor health also prevent children from regularly attending school. Although budgetary allocations for education were increased in 2004, the education system in Angola continues to be extremely under-funded. Literacy is quite low, with 67.4% of the population over the age of 15 able to read and write in Portuguese. 82.9% of males and 54.2% of women are literate as of 2001. Since independence from Portugal in 1975, a number of Angolan students continued to be admitted every year at Portuguese high schools, polytechnical institutes, and universities, through bilateral agreements between the Portuguese Government and the Angolan Government; in general these students belong to the Angolan elites.

Culture

Portugalmarker 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 Cubanmarker troops during the Angolan Civil War (1975-2002).

See also



Further reading

  • ANGOLA LIVRO BRANCO SOBRE AS ELEIÇÕES DE 2008. http://www.kas.de/proj/home/pub/8/2/year-2009/dokument_id-17396/index.html
  • Le Billon, P. (2005). "Aid in the Midst of Plenty: Oil Wealth, Misery and Advocacy in Angola." Disasters 29(1): 1-25.
  • Bösl, Anton (2008). Angola´s Parliamentary Elections in 2008. A Country on its Way to One-Party-Democracy, KAS Auslandsinformationen 10/2008. http://www.kas.de/wf/de/33.15186/
  • Cilliers, Jackie and Christian Dietrich, Eds. (2000). Angola's War Economy: The Role of Oil and Diamonds. Pretoria, South Africa, Institute for Security Studies.
  • Global Witness (1999). A Crude Awakening, The Role of Oil and Banking Industries in Angola's Civil War and the Plundering of State Assets. London, UK, Global Witness. http://www.globalwitness.org/media_library_detail.php/93/en/a_crude_awakening
  • Hodges, T. (2004). Angola: The Anatomy of an Oil State. Oxford, UK and Indianapolis, US, The Fridtjol Nansen Institute & The International African Institute in association with James Currey and Indiana University Press.
  • Human Rights Watch (2004). Some Transparency, No Accountability: The Use of Oil Revenues in Angola and Its Impact on Human Rights. New York, Human Rights Watch. http://www.hrw.org/reports/2004/angola0104/
  • Human Rights Watch (2005). Coming Home, Return and Reintegration in Angola. New York, Human Rights Watch. http://hrw.org/reports/2005/angola0305/
  • Kapuściński, Ryszard. Another Day of Life, Penguin, 1975. ISBN 014118678X. A Polish journalist's account of Portuguese withdrawal from Angola and the beginning of the civil war. Ryszard Kapuściński
  • Kevlihan, R. (2003). "Sanctions and humanitarian concerns: Ireland and Angola, 2001-2." Irish Studies in International Affairs 14: 95-106.
  • Lari, A. (2004). Returning home to a normal life? The plight of displaced Angolans. Pretoria, South Africa, Institute for Security Studies. http://www.iss.co.za/pubs/papers/85/Paper85.pdf
  • Lari, A. and R. Kevlihan (2004). "International Human Rights Protection in Situations of Conflict and Post-Conflict, A Case Study of Angola." African Security Review 13(4): 29-41. http://www.iss.co.za/pubs/ASR/13No4/FLari.pdf
  • Le Billon, P. (2001). "Angola’s Political Economy of War: The Role of Oil and Diamonds." African Affairs(100): 55-80.
  • Médecins Sans Frontières (2002). Angola: Sacrifice of a People. Luanda, Angola, MSF. http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/publications/reports/2002/angola1_10-2002.pdf
  • Pinto Escoval (2004): "Staatszerfall im südlichen Afrika. Das Beispiel Angola". Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Berlin
  • Much of the material in these articles comes from the CIA World Factbook 2000 and the 2003 U.S. Department of State website.
  • Pearce, J. (2004). "War, Peace and Diamonds in Angola: Popular perceptions of the diamond industry in the Lundas." 2005.African Security Review 13 (2), 2004, pp 51–64. http://www.iss.co.za/pubs/ASR/13No2/AW.pdf
  • Porto, J. G. (2003). Cabinda: Notes on a soon to be forgotten war. Pretoria, South Africa, Institute for Security Studies. http://www.iss.co.za/pubs/papers/77/Paper77.html
  • Tvedten, I. (1997). Angola, Struggle for Peace and Reconstruction. Boulder, Colorado, Westview Press.
  • Vines, A. (1999). Angola Unravels: The Rise and Fall of the Lusaka Peace Process. New York and London, UK, Human Rights Watch.
  • Godfrey Mwakikagile, Nyerere and Africa: End of an Era, Third Edition, Pretoria, South Africa, 2006, on Angola in Chapter Eleven, "American Involvement in Angola and Southern Africa: Nyerere's Response," pp. 324 – 346, ISBN 978-0980253412.


References

External links

Government
General information
  • Angola from UCB Libraries GovPubs
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