Angola -- Geography --
Official Name: Angola
Capital City: Luanda
Official Currency: Kwanza (AOA)
Religions: Indigenous beliefs, Protestant, Catholic
Population: 12,799,293 (2009 est.)
Land Area: 1,246,700 sq km
Landforms: Angola has three principal natural regions: the coastal lowland, characterized by low plains and terraces; hills and mountains, rising inland from the coast into a great escarpment; and an area of high plains, called the high plateau, which extends eastward from the escarpment. The highest point in Angola is Morro de Môco, at 2,620 m.
Land Divisions: Angola is divided into 18 provinces and 164 municipalities. One of the provinces, Cabinda, is an exclave of the country.
Angola -- History --
- In 1482 a Portuguese expedition finds the shores of today's Angola.
- In 1576 the "São Paulo de Loanda" fort is established. It will later become the capital of Angola. Until the middle of the 19th century the main politics of Portuguese in Angola is slave trading. According to historical data aver 5 mln people have been traded for 300 years.
- In 1885 - 1894 Portugal, Belgium, angmany and England conclude a series of treaties which outline the borders of today's Angola.
- In 1951 the Portugal colony is designated as an overseas province with the name of Overseas Province of Angola.
- In the 1950s appear the first rebellion groups, fighting for independence of Angola.
- In 1961 starts an armed conflict against Portuguese rule known as the Colonial War. Its leader is Holdenom Roberto(leader of the UPA group and later of the FNLA group). The war lasts for 15 years.
- In 1962 is formed a temporary government in exile of the Republic of Angola. Its leader again is Holdenom Roberto.
- In 1966 is executed the first armed action of UNITA.
- In 1974 a coup d'état in Portugal overthrows the fachist regime. Portugal gives independence to all its colonies.
- On 11.11.1975 Angola gains its independence. The first president of the country is the leader of the pro - Soviet group MPLA - Agostinho Neto. His troops seize Luandu - the administrative center of Angola. A civil war starts between the pro - Soviet group MPLA and the pro - American group UNITA.
- In 1975 the pro - Soviet government goes into an inner conflict with the Cuban Army. Meanwhile, UNITA seeks help from the SAR.
- In 1979 José Eduardo dos Santos becomes president of Angola. He is the new leader of MPLA.
- In 1992 MPLA loses its support from the decayed USSR and it changes its political direction to the USA.
- In 2002 a ceasefire is called for the civil war in Angola (1975 - 2002).
Angola -- 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.Growth is almost entirely driven by rising oil production which surpassed 1.4 million barrels per day (220,000 m3/d) in late-2005 and was expected to grow to 2 million barrels per day (320,000 m3/d) 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 stretch for miles beyond Luanda'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 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.
Angola -- Culture --
Portugal 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. The diverse ethnic communities with their own cultural traits, traditions and native languages or dialects include the Ovimbundu, Mbundu, Bakongo, Chokwe, and other peoples.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 Angolan Civil War (1975-2002).
Angola -- Political system, law and government --
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.