Angola is a country in south-central Africa bordered by Namibia on the south, Democratic Republic of the Congo on the north, and Zambia on the east; its west coast is on the Atlantic Ocean with Luanda as its capital city. The exclave province of Cabinda has a border with the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Angola was a Portuguese overseas territory from the 16th century to 1975. After independence, Angola was the scene of an intense civil war from 1975 to 2002. The country has vast mineral and petroleum reserves; however, its life expectancy and infant mortality rates are both among the worst-ranked in the world.
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 organizations first appeared in the 1950s, and began to make organized demands for their rights.
The Portuguese regime, meanwhile, refused to accede to the nationalists’ demands for independence, provoking an armed conflict that started in 1961 when black guerrillas attacked both white and black civilians in cross-border operations in northeastern Angola.
After many years of conflict, Angola gained its independence on 11 November 1975, after the 1974 coup d’état in Lisbon, Portugal, which overthrew the Portuguese regime headed by Marcelo Caetano.
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. 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.
The executive branch of the government is composed of the President, the Vice-Presidents and the Council of Ministers. For decades, political power has been concentrated in the Presidency.
Angola is divided into eighteen provinces and 163 municipalities. The provinces are: Bengo, Benguela, Bié, Cabinda, Cuando Cubango, Cuanza Norte, Cuanza Sul, Cunene, Huambo, Huila, Luanda, Lunda Norte, Lunda Sul, Malanje, Moxico, Namibe, Uíge e Zaire.
With an area of approximately 7,283 square kilometres (2,812 sq mi), the northern angolan province of Cabinda is unique in being separated from the rest of the country by a strip, some 60 kilometres (37 mi) wide, of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) along the lower Congo river. Cabinda borders the Congo Republic to the north and north-northeast and the DRC to the east and south. The town of Cabinda is the chief population center.
At 1,246,620 km2 (481,321 square miles), Angola is the world’s twenty-third largest country (after Niger). It is comparable in size to Mali and is nearly twice the size of the US state of Texas, or five times the area of the United Kingdom. It lies mostly between latitudes 4° and 18°S, and longitudes 12° and 24°E.
Angola is bordered by Namibia to the south, Zambia to the east, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north-east, and the South Atlantic Ocean to the west. The exclave of Cabinda also borders the Republic of the Congo to the north. Angola’s capital, Luanda, lies on the Atlantic coast in the northwest of the country.
Angola’s average temperature on the coast is 60 °F (16 °C) in the winter and 70 °F (21 °C) in the summer. It has two seasons; dry season (May to October) and hot rainy season (November to April) Angola has a Tropical Wet climate.
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, with an average GDP growth of 20 percent between 2005 and 2007. During 2001-2010 Angola has the world’s biggest annual average GDP growth with 11.1 percent. In 2004, China’s Eximbank approved several lines of credit to Angola. The loans are being used to rebuild Angola’s infrastructure.
Official language: Portuguese
Government – Presidential republic
Area 1,246,700 km2 (481,354 sq mi)
Currency: Kwanza (AOA)
Time zone: WAT (UTC+1)
ISO code: AO
Calling code: +244
Government website: http://www.governo.gov.ao/
Gross Domestic Product (10^9 USD)
Real Growth Rate (%)
Gross National Income per capita (USD) in PPP
Inflation – annual average (%)
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Imports (10^6 USD)
Exports (10^6 USD)
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External help per capita (USD)
Sources: World Bank
Jornal de Economia
Jornal de Angola
Rádio Nacional de Angola
Industry and Commerce Chamber of Angola
Câmara de Comércio e Indústria Portugal-Angola