Information about Angola: Angola, officially the Republic of Angola is a country in Southern Africa. It is the seventh-largest country in Africa, bordered by Namibia to the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Zambia to the east, and the Atlantic Ocean to west. The exclave province of Cabinda borders the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The capital & largest city of Angola is Luanda with a population of approx. 2,6 million (2020). Read More...

Facts


Population:30.81 million (2018)
Area: 1.247 million km²


Although inhabited since the Paleolithic Era, what is now Angola was molded by Portuguese colonisation. It began with, and was for centuries limited to, coastal settlements and trading posts established starting in the 16th century. In the 19th century, European settlers slowly and hesitantly began to establish themselves in the interior. The Portuguese colony, that became Angola did not have its present borders until the early 20th century, because of resistance by groups such as the Cuamato, the Kwanyama and the Mbunda.
After a protracted anti-colonial struggle, independence was achieved in 1975 as the Marxist-Leninist People’s Republic of Angola, a one-party state supported by the Soviet Union and Cuba. The civil war between the ruling People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) and the insurgent anti-communist National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), supported by the United States and apartheid South Africa, lasted until 2002. It has since become a relatively stable unitary presidential republic. Angola has vast mineral and petroleum reserves, and its economy is among the fastest-growing in the world, especially since the end of the civil war. But the standard of living remains low for most of the population, and life expectancy in Angola is among the lowest in the world, while infant mortality is among the highest. Angola’s economic growth is highly uneven, with most of the nation’s wealth concentrated in a disproportionately small sector of the population.
Angola is a member state of the United Nations, OPEC, African Union, the Community of Portuguese Language Countries, and the Southern African Development Community. A highly multiethnic country, Angola’s 25.8 million people span tribal groups, customs, and traditions. Angolan culture reflects centuries of Portuguese rule, in the predominance of the Portuguese language and of the Catholic Church.

Currency


The Angolan Kwanza is the currency in Angola (AO, AGO). The symbol for AOA can be written Kz. The Angolan Kwanza is divided into 100 lwei

Climate

Angola is a large African country in the southern hemisphere, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, and its climate is tempered, by a cool sea current along the coast, and by altitude in the plateau which is found in the interior. The result is a sub-tropical climate almost everywhere, with a cool and dry season from May to August (called Cacimbo), and a hot and rainy season, which runs from mid-September to April in the north-east, from mid-October to April in the centre, from November to March in the south, and from February to April in Luanda, while it’s almost non-existent on the southern coastline (which, therefore, is desert).
The cool sea current that flows along the coast, the Benguela Current, makes the climate mild and dry, at least in the central and southern part; in the southernmost stretch of the coast the climate is even desert. In inland areas, the rains are generally more abundant than on the coast, but even here they are more abundant in the centre and north, because of the greater proximity to the equator.


Languages


The languages in Angola are those originally spoken by the different ethnic groups and Portuguese, introduced during the Portuguese colonial era. The most widely spoken indigenous languages are Umbundu, Kimbundu and Kikongo, in that order. Portuguese is the official language of the country.


Economy

Angola has diamonds, oil, gold, copper and a rich wildlife (dramatically impoverished during the civil war), forest and fossil fuels. Since independence, oil and diamonds have been the most important economic resource. Smallholder and plantation agriculture dramatically dropped in the Angolan Civil War, but began to recover after 2002. The transformation industry of the late colonial period collapsed at independence, because of the exodus of most of the ethnic Portuguese population, but it has begun to re-emerge with updated technologies, partly because of an influx of new Portuguese entrepreneurs. Similar developments have taken place in the service sector.
Angola’s economy has in recent years moved on from the disarray caused by a quarter-century of Angolan civil war to become the fastest-growing economy in Africa and one of the fastest-growing in the world, with an average GDP growth of 20% between 2005 and 2007. In the period 2001–10, Angola had the world’s highest annual average GDP growth, at 11.1%.
Angola’s financial system is maintained by the National Bank of Angola and managed by governor Jose de Lima Massano. According to a study on the banking sector, carried out by Deloitte, the monetary policy led by Banco Nacional de Angola (BNA), the Angolan national bank, allowed a decrease in the inflation rate put at 7.96% in December 2013, which contributed to the sector’s growth trend. Estimates released by Angola’s central bank, said country’s economy should grow at an annual average rate of 5 percent over the next four years, boosted by the increasing participation of the private sector
On 19 December 2014, the Capital Market in Angola started. BODIVA (Angola Securities and Debt Stock Exchange, in English) received the secondary public debt market, and it is expected to start the corporate debt market by 2015, but the stock market should be a reality only in 2016.

Education

Although by law education in Angola is compulsory and free for eight years, the government reports that a percentage of pupils are not attending due to a lack of school buildings and teachers. Pupils are often responsible for paying additional school-related expenses, including fees for books and supplies.
In 1999, the gross primary enrollment rate was 74 percent and in 1998, the most recent year for which data are available, the net primary enrollment rate was 61 percent. Gross and net enrollment ratios are based on the number of pupils formally registered in primary school and therefore do not necessarily reflect actual school attendance. There continue to be significant disparities in enrollment between rural and urban areas. In 1995, 71.2 percent of children ages 7 to 14 years were attending school. It is reported that higher percentages of boys attend school than girls. During the Angolan Civil War (1975–2002), nearly half of all schools were reportedly looted and destroyed, leading to current problems with overcrowding.
The Ministry of Education recruited 20,000 new teachers in 2005 and continued to implement teacher trainings. Teachers tend to be underpaid, inadequately trained and overworked (sometimes teaching two or three shifts a day). Some teachers may reportedly demand payment or bribes directly from their pupils. Other factors, such as the presence of landmines, lack of resources and identity papers, and poor health prevent children from regularly attending school. Although budgetary allocations for education were increased in 2004, the education system in Angola continues to be extremely under-funded.
According to estimates by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, the adult literacy rate in 2011 was 70.4%. By 2015, this had increased to 71.1%. 82.9% of males and 54.2% of women are literate as of 2001. Since independence from Portugal in 1975, a number of Angolan students continued to be admitted every year at high schools, polytechnical institutes and universities in Portugal, Brazil and Cuba through bilateral agreements; in general, these students belong to the elites.
In September 2014, the Angolan Ministry of Education announced an investment of 16 million Euros in the computerisation of over 300 classrooms across the country. The project also includes training teachers at a national level, “as a way to introduce and use new information technologies in primary schools, thus reflecting an improvement in the quality of teaching.”
In 2010, the Angolan government started building the Angolan Media Libraries Network, distributed throughout several provinces in the country to facilitate the people’s access to information and knowledge. Each site has a bibliographic archive, multimedia resources and computers with Internet access, as well as areas for reading, researching and socialising. The plan envisages the establishment of one media library in each Angolan province by 2017. The project also includes the implementation of several media libraries, in order to provide the several contents available in the fixed media libraries to the most isolated populations in the country. At this time, the mobile media libraries are already operating in the provinces of Luanda, Malanje, Uíge, Cabinda and Lunda South. As for REMA, the provinces of Luanda, Benguela, Lubango and Soyo have currently working media libraries.

Religion


There are about 1,000 religious communities, mostly Christian, in Angola. While reliable statistics are nonexistent, estimates have it that more than half of the population are Catholics, while about a quarter adhere to the Protestant churches introduced during the colonial period: the Congregationalists mainly among the Ovimbundu of the Central Highlands and the coastal region to its west, the Methodists concentrating on the Kimbundu speaking strip from Luanda to Malanje, the Baptists almost exclusively among the Bakongo of the north-west (now present in Luanda as well) and dispersed Adventists, Reformed and Lutherans. In Luanda and region there subsists a nucleus of the “syncretic” Tocoists and in the north-west a sprinkling of Kimbanguism can be found, spreading from the Congo/Zaïre. Since independence, hundreds of Pentecostal and similar communities have sprung up in the cities, where by now about 50% of the population is living; several of these communities/churches are of Brazilian origin.
As of 2008 the U.S. Department of State estimates the Muslim population at 80,000–90,000, less than 1% of the population, while the Islamic Community of Angola puts the figure closer to 500,000. Muslims consist largely of migrants from West Africa and the Middle East (especially Lebanon), although some are local converts. The Angolan government does not legally recognize any Muslim organizations and often shuts down mosques or prevents their construction.
In a study assessing nations’ levels of religious regulation and persecution with scores ranging from 0 to 10 where 0 represented low levels of regulation or persecution, Angola was scored 0.8 on Government Regulation of Religion, 4.0 on Social Regulation of Religion, 0 on Government Favoritism of Religion and 0 on Religious Persecution.
Foreign missionaries were very active prior to independence in 1975, although since the beginning of the anti-colonial fight in 1961 the Portuguese colonial authorities expelled a series of Protestant missionaries and closed mission stations based on the belief that the missionaries were inciting pro-independence sentiments. Missionaries have been able to return to the country since the early 1990s, although security conditions due to the civil war have prevented them until 2002 from restoring many of their former inland mission stations.
The Catholic Church and some major Protestant denominations mostly keep to themselves in contrast to the “New Churches” which actively proselytize. Catholics, as well as some major Protestant denominations, provide help for the poor in the form of crop seeds, farm animals, medical care and education.


Culture

The substrate of Angolan culture is African, predominantly Bantu, while Portuguese culture has had a significant impact, specifically in terms of language and religion. The diverse ethnic communities – the Ovimbundu, Ambundu, Bakongo, Chokwe, Mbunda and other peoples – to varying degrees maintain their own cultural traits, traditions and languages, but in the cities, where slightly more than half of the population now lives, a mixed culture has been emerging since colonial times; in Luanda, since its foundation in the 16th century. In this urban culture, the Portuguese heritage has become more and more dominant. African roots are evident in music and dance, and is moulding the way in which Portuguese is spoken. This process is well reflected in contemporary Angolan literature, especially in the works of Angolan authors.
In 2014, Angola resumed the National Festival of Angolan Culture after a 25-year break. The festival took place in all the provincial capitals and lasted for 20 days, with the theme Culture as a Factor of Peace and Development.


Health

Epidemics of cholera, malaria, rabies and African hemorrhagic fevers like Marburg hemorrhagic fever, are common diseases in several parts of the country. Many regions in this country have high incidence rates of tuberculosis and high HIV prevalence rates. Dengue, filariasis, leishmaniasis and onchocerciasis (river blindness) are other diseases carried by insects that also occur in the region. Angola has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world and one of the world’s lowest life expectancies. A 2007 survey concluded that low and deficient niacin status was common in Angola. Demographic and Health Surveys is currently conducting several surveys in Angola on malaria, domestic violence and more.
In September 2014, the Angolan Institute for Cancer Control (IACC) was created by presidential decree, and it will integrate the National Health Service in Angola. The purpose of this new centre is to ensure health and medical care in oncology, policy implementation, programmes and plans for prevention and specialised treatment. This cancer institute will be assumed as a reference institution in the central and southern regions of Africa.
In 2014, Angola launched a national campaign of vaccination against measles, extended to every child under ten years old and aiming to go to all 18 provinces in the country. The measure is part of the Strategic Plan for the Elimination of Measles 2014–2020 created by the Angolan Ministry of Health which includes strengthening routine immunisation, a proper dealing with measles cases, national campaigns, introducing a second dose of vaccination in the national routine vaccination calendar and active epidemiological surveillance for measles. This campaign took place together with the vaccination against polio and vitamin A supplementation.
A yellow fever outbreak, the worst in the country in three decades began in December 2015. By August 2016, when the outbreak began to subside, nearly 4,000 people were suspected of being infected. As many as 369 may have died. The outbreak began in the capital, Luanda, and spread to at least 16 of the 18 provinces.

Sports
Angola hosted the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations. Angola is the top basketball team of FIBA Africa, and a regular competitor at the Summer Olympic Games and the FIBA World Cup. The Angola national football team qualified for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, as this was their first appearance on the World Cup finals stage. They were eliminated after one defeat and two draws in the group stage. They won 3 COSAFA Cups and finished runner up in 2011 African Nations Championship. Angola has participated in the World Women’s Handball Championship for several years. The country has also appeared in the Summer Olympics for seven years and both regularly competes in and once has hosted the FIRS Roller Hockey World Cup, where the best finish is sixth. Angola is also often believed to have historic roots in the martial art “Capoeira Angola” and “Batuque” which were practiced by enslaved African Angolans transported as part of the Atlantic slave trade.


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