Wednesday, September 11, 2013
An economic reform effort was launched in 1998. Angola ranked 160 out of 174 nations in the United Nations Human Development Index of 2000.In April 2000 Angola started an International Monetary Fund (IMF) Staff-Monitored Program (SMP). The program formally lapsed in June 2001, but the IMF remains engaged. In this context the Government of Angola has succeeded in unifying exchange rates and has raised fuel, electricity, and water rates. The Commercial Code, telecommunications law, and Foreign Investment Code are being modernized. A privatization effort, prepared with World Bank assistance, has begun with the BCI bank. Nevertheless, a legacy of fiscal mismanagement and corruption persists. The civil war internally displaced 3.8 million people, 32% of the population, by 2001.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. Angola produced over 3 million carats of diamonds per year in 2003,with its production expected to grow to 10 million carats per year by 2007. In 2004 China's Eximbank approved a $2 billion line of credit to Angola to rebuild infrastructure.The economy grew 18% in 2005 and growth was expected to reach 26% in 2006 and stay above 10% for the rest of the decade. The construction industry is another sector taking advantage of the growing economy, with various housing projects stimulated by the government that created various initiatives for this. Examples are the program Angola Investe and the projects Casa Feliz or Meña. However, not all public construction projects are functional; a case in point is Kilamba Kiaxi where a whole new satellite town of Luanda, consisting in the main of housing faclities for several hundreds of thousands of people, remains practically uninhabited, because of prices that are out of reach even for the middle class. ChevronTexaco started pumping 50 kbbl/d (7.9×103 m3/d) from Block 14 in January 2000, but production has decreased to 57 kbbl/d (9.1×103 m3/d) in 2007 due to the poor quality of the oil. Angola joined the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries on January 1, 2007. Cabinda Gulf Oil Company found Malange-1, an oil reservoir in Block 14, on August 9, 2007.
Monday, September 9, 2013
United Nations Angola Verification Mission III and MONUA spent USD1.5 billion overseeing implementation of the Lusaka Protocol, a 1994 peace accord that ultimately failed to end the civil war. The protocol prohibited UNITA from buying foreign arms, a provision the United Nations largely did not enforce, so both sides continued to build up their stockpile. UNITA purchased weapons in 1996 and 1997 from private sources in Albania and Bulgaria, and from Zaire, South Africa, Republic of the Congo, Zambia, Togo, and Burkina Faso. In October 1997 the UN imposed travel sanctions on UNITA leaders, but the UN waited until July 1998 to limit UNITA's exportation of diamonds and freeze UNITA bank accounts. While the U.S. government gave USD250 million to UNITA between 1986 to 1991, UNITA made USD1.72 billion between 1994 and 1999 exporting diamonds, primarily through Zaire to Europe. At the same time the Angolan government received large amounts of weapons from the governments of Belarus, Brazil, Bulgaria, the China, and South Africa. While no arms shipment to the government violated the protocol, no country informed the U.N. Register on Conventional Weapons as required. Despite the increase in civil warfare in late 1998, the economy grew by an estimated 4% in 1999. The government introduced new currency denominations in 1999, including a 1 and 5 kwanza note.
Sunday, September 8, 2013
Portugal's explorers and settlers founded trading posts and forts along the coast of Africa beginning in the 15th century, and reached the Angolan coast in the 16th century. Portuguese explorer Paulo Dias de Novais founded Luanda in 1575 as "São Paulo de Loanda", and the region developed as a slave trade market with the help of local Imbangala and Mbundu peoples who were notable slave hunters. Trade was mostly with the Portuguese colony of Brazil; Brazilian ships were the most numerous in the ports of Luanda and Benguela. By this time, Angola, a Portuguese colony, was in fact like a colony of Brazil, paradoxically another Portuguese colony. A strong Brazilian influence was also exercised by the Jesuits in religion and education. War gradually gave way to the philosophy of trade. The great trade routes and the agreements that made them possible were the driving force for activities between the different areas; warlike states become states ready to produce and to sell. In the Planalto (the high plains), the most important states were those of Bié and Bailundo, the latter being noted for its production of foodstuffs and rubber. The colonial power, Portugal, becoming ever richer and more powerful, would not tolerate the growth of these neighbouring states and subjugated them one by one, so that by the beginning of this century the Portuguese had complete control over the entire area. During the period of the Iberian Union (1580–1640), Portugal lost influence and power and made new enemies. The Dutch, a major enemy of Castile, invaded many Portuguese overseas possessions, including Luanda. The Dutch ruled Luanda from 1640 to 1648 as Fort Aardenburgh. They were seeking black slaves for use in sugarcane plantations of Northeastern Brazil (Pernambuco, Olinda, Recife) which they had also seized from Portugal. John Maurice, Prince of Nassau-Siegen, conquered the Portuguese possessions of Saint George del Mina, Saint Thomas, and Luanda, Angola, on the west coast of Africa. After the dissolution of the Iberian Union in 1640, Portugal would reestablish its authority over the lost territories of the Portuguese Empire. The Portuguese started to develop townships, trading posts, logging camps and small processing factories. From 1764 onwards, there was a gradual change from a slave-based society to one based on production for domestic consumption and export. Meanwhile, with the independence of Brazil in 1822, the slave trade was abolished in 1836, and in 1844 Angola's ports were opened to foreign shipping. By 1850, Luanda was one of the greatest and most developed Portuguese cities in the vast Portuguese Empire outside Mainland Portugal, full of trading companies, exporting (together with Benguela) palm and peanut oil, wax, copal, timber, ivory, cotton, coffee, and cocoa, among many other products. Maize, tobacco, dried meat and cassava flour also began to be produced locally. The Angolan bourgeoisie was born. From the 1920s to the 1960s, strong economic growth, abundant natural resources and development of infrastruture, led to the arrival of even more Portuguese settlers. The Portuguese discovered petroleum in Angola in 1955. Production began in the Cuanza basin in the 1950s, in the Congo basin in the 1960s, and in the exclave of Cabinda in 1968. The Portuguese government granted operating rights for Block Zero to the Cabinda Gulf Oil Company, a subsidiary of ChevronTexaco, in 1955.Oil production surpassed the exportation of coffee as Angola's largest export in 1973.
The Economy of Angola is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world,with the Economist asserting that for 2001 to 2010, Angolas' Annual average GDP growth was 11.1 percent. It is still recovering from the Angolan Civil War that plagued Angola from independence in 1975 until 2002. Despite extensive oil and gas resources, diamonds, hydroelectric potential, and rich agricultural land, Angola remains poor, and a third of the population relies on subsistence agriculture. Since 2002, when the 27-year civil war ended, the country has worked to repair and improve ravaged infrastructure and weakened political and social institutions. High international oil prices and rising oil production have contributed to the very strong economic growth since 1998, but corruption and public-sector mismanagement remain, particularly in the oil sector, which accounts for over 50 percent of GDP, over 90 percent of export revenue, and over 80 percent of government revenue.