The economy of the Angola was severely affected by the civil war that lasted for 27 years: the destruction of farms, plants and communication infrastructures was very serious, while the exodus of the Portuguese community, if it gave the country the theoretical possibility of self-determining its own growth strategy, deprived him of the technical and entrepreneurial cadres. The resources appear huge, but their use will depend heavily on future internal political stability and the ability of the ruling class to fight corruption and form a competent ruling class.
Agriculture traditionally associated subsistence crops (cassava, corn) with plantation crops (coffee, bananas, sugar, cotton, sisal). The postcolonial regime had set itself the goal of transferring 30% of the land to the black population, but by the beginning of the first decade of the current century only 3% had been redistributed. 75% of arable land was therefore still in the hands of about 60,000 agricultural entrepreneurs, almost exclusively white, while almost 10 million residents continued to live confined to the old reserves, in which only a tiny minority (3%) lived on agriculture., while the vast majority were in a state of extreme poverty, surviving only on pensions or income from jobs in the cities.
According to ANIMALERTS, the resources on which the hopes of recovery of the Angolan economy are based are above all oil and diamonds. Equipped with constantly growing oil reserves (1.7 billion barrels in 1983, but 8.9 in 2003, equal to 12.6% of the total African reserves), since the early years of the 21st century. the country is among the world’s largest producers, and is the object of attention from the most powerful multinational exploration-production companies, which have an interest in diversifying the geographical origin of their supplies. The sharp increase in oil prices on world markets automatically had repercussions on the growth of the Angolan economy, which in 2005 was estimated at 19.1%. Now oil extraction, largely concentrated in the submarine fields off the coast of Cabinda, it contributes to forming more than 50% of the gross domestic product, and ensures more than 90% of the state’s revenues. The other main wealth of the Angola is represented by diamonds. The extraction sites are essentially located in Catoca, in the province of Luanda Sul, in the north-east of the country. Diamonds have long been the crux of contention between the two rival parties, the Movement for the Liberation of Angola and the National Unity for the Independence of Angola. The mining activity is headed by a state organization and produces 7 million carats per year, with revenues estimated at 850 billion dollars. Exports are mainly intended for Israel and Belgium. Illegal exploitation by clandestine excavators from the Republic of Congo and West African countries causes the state losses estimated at 1 billion dollars a day.
To take full advantage of its rich endowment of natural resources (which also include goldfields, forests, rich sea beds and a large yet untapped hydroelectric potential), the Angolan government has embarked on a reform program recommended by the International Monetary Fund. and has launched some large public infrastructure reconstruction projects. The improvement in the situation is confirmed by the gradual reduction in inflation and the positive trend in the trade balance. However, these encouraging signs of development are matched by a persisting critical situation in the social field: unemployment still affects 60% of the residents, who survive only thanks to international aid; 70% of the population lives below the poverty line, and only 38% have access to drinking water. Much of the capital has no waste water collection system, so much so that in 2006 the slums of Luanda were the epicenter of one of the worst cholera epidemics in Africa in recent decades.
The communications, heavily damaged by the civil war, still reveal the typical colonial structure: penetration trunks (including the railway that from the port of Benguela reaches the Shaba) not connected to each other, so it can be said that it does not exist in the territory as a whole, an organic system of relationships. The port of greatest movement is Lobito, followed by Luanda and the Namibe mineral port, joined by a new road. The main airport is that of the capital.
The kwanza currency unit replaced the Angolan escudo.