Angola by Rob Staeger

By Rob Staeger

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Angola is blessed with valuable natural resources, including diamonds and oil. Increased oil production has helped the country’s economy expand by 12 percent in 2004 and 19 percent in 2005. Despite this, poverty remains a widespread problem, with an estimated 70 percent of the population earning less than one dollar a day. 45 46 Angola Oil Drilling The petroleum sector is the most important part of Angola’s economy, contributing more than half of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). The Angolan government relies on profits from petroleum for 75 percent of its funding.

In The Government of Angola August 2002, six months after Jonas Savimbi was killed in an ambush, the rebel group officially gave up its armed opposition to the government. UNITA rebels turned over their weapons and participated in an amnesty program sponsored by the government. Since then, UNITA leaders have worked on improving their party’s appeal to Angolans. In 2003, Isaias Samakuva was elected president of UNITA; he remains the party’s leader. Other political parties in Angola include the Social Renewal Party (PRS), which holds six seats in the National Assembly; the National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA), with five Assembly seats; and the Liberal Democratic Party (PLD), which holds three seats.

Perhaps most importantly, the country does not have enough useable schools. During the war more than 4,000 classrooms were destroyed, and many of the school buildings that remain do not have adequate sanitation or clean water. As a result of these problems, approximately 44 percent of Angolan children did not attend school in 2003, the most recent year for which figures are available. According to Angolan law, all children between the ages of six and nine are supposed to be enrolled in government-provided primary schools.

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