Only once in 2009 did Angola reach the headlines in the world’s media. It was during the African Cup of Football when the Togolese national team was shot on the border of the Angolan province of Cabinda. A successful event at new billion stadiums should create the impression of a peaceful and progressive country, but the attack prevented it. In the middle of the football tournament, the new constitution was also passed in a hurry.

Apparently, it was FLEC’s rebel movement that claimed responsibility for the attack. FLEC has demanded independence for the Cabinda enclave, but has little support in the general population, although the claim for greater autonomy for Cabinda is probably supported by the majority in the small but oil-rich province. Despite the emergence in Cabinda – which is the exception that confirms the rule – it can still be said that peace lasts in Angola, eight years after the peace agreement between Unita and the government in 2002.

New constitution

Far more important to summarize last year in Angola was nevertheless the new constitution passed by parliament in February 2010. MPLA, the governing party that got 82 percent of the votes in the 2008 parliamentary elections, used its absolute majority to pass the constitution – against the largest opposition party Unitas protest: They marched out of parliament. Not surprisingly, the Constitution guarantees the entire arsenal of liberal civil and political rights. But what everyone was expecting was: When and how should the president be elected?

The answer came as something of a surprise. There will be no presidential election! From now on, the list will become the largest party in the parliamentary elections of the President of the Republic. He nevertheless gains tremendous authority, and can, as before, appoint andset aside all the government members, the powerful provincial governors, the police and army leadership, the intelligence, the Attorney General, the Governor of the Central Bank and the ambassadors. In addition, he may appoint (but not set aside) the judges of the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court, the National Audit Office and the Military Tribunal. The president can declare the state of emergency and print decrees which are difficult for parliament to stop, because he can also veto parliament’s laws. It is noteworthy that the president can be removed through national law, under certain conditions and procedures – but since the president himself appoints those who may have to convict him, the chances of such a case are reduced.

Dos Santos: 1979 -?

It is the incumbent president who also prints elections. So much is said here about José Eduardo dos Santos, who has been in power since 1979. Admittedly, he got 49.5 percent of the vote in the only presidential election in 1992, but because of a new outbreak of war, the second round of elections was never conducted. Dos Santos is still the “spider” in the MPLA party system. In addition to the state apparatus, the party network controls the business sector in Angola – not least the state oil company Sonangol – and most of the MPLA peaks go very rich.

With the right to two more periods, if, for example, he writes elections in 2013, dos Santos can sit for two five years, that is, until 2023. Is it then 44 years in power? It seems beyond doubt that the new constitution was written with a view to dos Santo’s personal and political interests. It may therefore be that he envisions sitting as long as possible, or that he wants an earlier departure on his own terms. Dos Santos has long been vague, cryptic or contradictory in the question of his own future. Much of Angola’s policy in the years to come will be about dos Santos and his possible follow-up. Both the leader of Sonangol and dos Santos own children have been mentioned as possible heirs.

Against corruption?

Before dos Santos was re-elected as a new MPLA party leader in December 2009, he went hard on “forces” in the party and state apparatus for both incompetence and abuse of power. It was widely acknowledged that he declared “zero tolerance” for corruption, while his long tenure in power indicates that he must bear much of the responsibility for the state of the state. Therefore, few Angola experts expect real course changes.

In Angola, many claim that dos Santos creates stability for the country, while others criticize the plea that so much power is concentrated in his person. In his nearly 31 years at the top, he has served an ever-richer elite, but there is little to point to what may be said to have been measures to reduce inequality – even after the end of the war eight years ago. According to the UNDP, the country is one of the five countries in the world with the greatest income inequality. Nowhere is the inequality practically illustrated in Luanda, where one of Africa’s largest slums with approx. 4 million people circle a city center where prosperity appears in modern skyscrapers and astronomical housing prices. Luanda has been ranked as the world’s most expensive city for business people!

In 2007, economic growth was above 20 per cent, in 2008 around 13 per cent, and in 2009 growth is expected to be negative. The financial crisis also hit Angola, but the downturn seems to have slowed down. Oil production and oil prices are expected to pick up in 2010, and Angola’s economic growth is expected to increase. About 60-70 percent of Angola’s revenues came from the oil in 2007, and the fall in the oil price in 2008-2009 significantly reduced the state’s revenues. Although gross domestic product (GDP) growth has slowed down, average income per Angolan is still relatively high, and Angola is classified as a middle-income country.

Oil dependency

Angola takes on Nigeria, and is Africa’s second largest oil producer. About 60 percent of GDP comes from the off-shore oil sector, but this sector has little impact on the rest of the economy. Only 0.2 percent of the working population is employed in the oil sector, while the vast majority of the population work in the informal sector, still mainly with small farms. Although Angola has rich deposits of natural resources such as oil, gas and diamonds, a very uneven distribution of income has led to the regular Angolans not paying much attention to the country’s resources: It is estimated that about 60 percent of the country’s population lives on less than a dollar. during the day.

A number of countries have given Angola major credit lines: China, Brazil, Spain, Germany and Portugal. Click here to see history and economy of Angola. These lines of credit are mainly linked to export credit, which means that companies from these countries work with Angolan authorities to obtain contracts, especially for infrastructure projects. With better economic prospects in the world economy, these lines of credit are expected to increase. Angola has signed a $ 1.4 billion deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which will focus on strengthening the financial sector and stabilizing the exchange rate.

Angola remains important to Norway

Angola is Norway’s largest economic partner in Africa. Norwegian companies such as Yara, Hydro Statoil, Aker Solutions and FMC are heavily involved in the Angolan economy. Hydro wants to build hydropower plants, aluminum plant and port facilities, Yara plans fertilizer plant and Statoil wants operator responsibility when new deepwater blocks are to be distributed. When Foreign Minister Støre was in Angola in 2009, he focused on the fact that Norwegian oil companies pay more in taxes to the Angolan state than the total Norwegian aid to all of Africa.

Country facts:

Area: 1.24 million km2 (7th largest)

Population: 18 million

Population density: 15 per km2

Urban population: 56 percent

Largest city: Luanda – approx. 4 million

GDP per capita: 1942 USD

Economic growth: 14.8 percent

HDI Position: 143