Angola's economy is overwhelmingly driven by its oil sector. Oil production and its supporting activities contribute about 50% of GDP, more than 70% of government revenue, and more than 90% of the country's exports. Diamonds contribute an additional 5% to exports while subsistence agriculture provides the main livelihood for most of the people.
Angola, more than three times the size of California, extends for more than 1,000 mi (1,609 km) along the South Atlantic in southwest Africa. The Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of Congo are to the north and east, Zambia is to the east, and Namibia is to the south. A plateau averaging 6,000 ft (1,829 m) above sea level rises abruptly from the coastal lowlands. Nearly all the land is desert or savanna, with hardwood forests in the northeast.
The Angolan economy - the third largest in sub-Saharan Africa - is dominated by the oil and gas industry, which accounts for about 50% of its GDP and is the primary source of revenue for the country (more than 70% of government revenue and 90% of Angola's exports come from oil activities). Angola is Africa's second largest oil producer. The country is also the third largest producer of diamonds in the continent by quantity and value, surpassed only by Botswana and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Other minerals produced include gold, granite, gypsum, marble, and salt, while undeveloped minerals with potential for extraction include beryllium, clay, copper, iron-ore, lead, lignite, manganese, mica, nickel, peat, phosphate rock, quartz, silver, tungsten, uranium, vanadium, and zinc. The industrial sector accounts for nearly two thirds of the GDP and a little less than 40% of the employment.
The fauna is typical of the savanna lands of Africa. Carnivores include leopards, lions, and hyenas, while the plant-eating animals are represented chiefly by elephants, hippopotamuses, giraffes, zebras, buffaloes, gnu (wildebeests) and various other antelopes, and monkeys. Angola is rich in bird species and has a wide variety of reptiles, including crocodiles.
Angola and the Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa
GDSA is keen to support the government of Angola in the conservation and sustainable development of the critical Okavango Basin through natural capital accounting and sustainable tourism, as part of regional cooperation involving Namibia and Botswana, GDSA will also provide a platform for cooperation amongst the three countries. GDSA’s suggested pilot or start-up activity will be to do a natural capital mapping exercise of the Okavango Basin.
National Strategies and Poverty Eradication
Angola has made substantial economic and political progress since the end of the war in 2002. However, the country continues to face massive development challenges, which include reducing its dependency on oil and diversifying the economy; rebuilding its infrastructure; and improving institutional capacity, governance, public financial management systems, human development indicators, and the living conditions of the population. Taking into account Angola’s high population growth rate and existing income and service access disparity across different regions and population groups, there is a clear need for a more inclusive development policy and shared prosperity.
The National Development Plan operationalizes the Vision 2025 and aims at improving the life quality of all Angolans, reducing hunger and extreme poverty, expanding youth employment, and diversifying the economy. The Plan underlines the role of the private sector as a driver of economic growth and the need to better use Angola’s abundant human and natural resources. Various policies are outlined to facilitate access.
to credit, assist emerging economic activities, support the informal economy, and encourage companies to integrate themselves into the business clusters. The Strategy to Combat Poverty also embodies the priorities identified in the Vision 2025. Elaborated through a wide consultation with the communities, it presents the key priorities specific to nine of the 18 provinces as formulated by the communities in the areas of (i) agriculture and food security; (ii) economy, markets, and commerce; (iii) health and education; (iv) public works; and (v) public administration and justice.
The strategy sets out ambitious goals to reduce poverty and hunger further by half; achieve full completion rates for boys and girls in primary school; eliminate gender disparity at all levels of education; reduce under-5 child mortality by 2/3rd; reduce by half the number of households without access to safe water; arrest and reverse HIV/AIDS and malaria/communicable disease trends; prevent damage to natural environment; create quality jobs for youth; and create a non-discriminatory, open, rules-based commercial and financial systems.
Natural Capital Accounting
Angola is rich in natural resources across its geography. Oil, its major export commodity, is found in the north and west regions, and the western and central parts of Angola contain most of the country’s mineral resources. Angola is the third-largest diamond producer in the world and has abundant untapped natural resources such as gold, copper, barite, iron, copper, cobalt, and marble. The country’s interior has an ideal climate for agriculture, although less than 30% of the arable land is currently used for agriculture, suggesting untapped potential in this sector as well. Additionally, Angola has a long coastline that could support the fishing industry; however, most of the current fishing is small-scale.
Private Sector Partnerships
In January 2011 the Angolan Parliament approved the Public-Private Partnerships’ (PPPs) Law (Law no. 2/11). This law aims at establishing the general guidelines that allow the State to be involved in a public-private partnership, allowing it to benefit from the management capacity of the private sector, and in this way enhancing the quality of the services provided by the State, contributing to the creation of savings and to a more rational utilization of public resources.
In order to achieve this, the Government is working on the implementation of the PPP process, which aims to serve as a source of financing for infrastructure and to improve the delivery and efficiency of services, as well as the quality of public goods. The implementation of PPPs is based on four fundamental objectives, namely, optimization and acceleration of the execution or operation of public investments; capturing skills and knowledge that are scarce in the public sector; maintaining strict financial control and promoting the development of the private sector of the economy.
Image credits, top to bottom: © Russell A. Mittermeier; © Government of Angola