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History 8A

28 November 2011

Africa Research Project: Fact Finding

Population: 19 million

Main Languages: Portuguese (60%), Umbundu (23%), Mbundu (18%), Luvale (2.7%), Chokwe (2.7%)
Population Density: 39.5 people/square mile

Main Religions: Christianity (94%), Ethnic Religions (4.7%)

Population Growth Rate: 2.66% per year

Main Ethnic Groups: Ovimbundu (37%), Kimbundu (25%), Other (22%), Bakongo (13%), Mestico (2%), European (1%)

Unemployment Rate: Data not provided

Median Age: 18 years

Current President/Leader: Jose Eduardo dos Santos

Area: 481,354 square miles

Neighboring Countries: Democratic Republic of Congo, Namibia, Republic of the Congo, Zambia

Capital City: Luanda

Other Major Cities: Huambo, Lobito, Benguela, Kuito, Bie

Gross Domestic Product (GPD): $35 billion per year

Rate of Inflation: +14.47% per year

Currency Name: Kz1 (Angolan kwanza)

Response Questions

1. Describe the climate and geography of this country. Be sure to include all significant geographic features.

The climate in Angola is very predictable and reliable. The temperature ranges from the high 70’s and 80’s in the hot, rainy season, November to April, and the 60’s to the low 70’s in the cool, dry season, May to October. The lowest point in Angola is the Atlantic Ocean, zero feet, and the highest point is Morro de Moco, 7329 feet. Morro de Moco is the largest mountain in Angola and it lies in Provincia do Huambo.

2. Describe the natural resources that this country possesses. Are there any other countries involved in the mining/harvesting/exploitation of these resources?

Angola is one of the richest natural resource bearing countries in Africa. It possesses petroleum, diamonds, iron ore, phosphates, copper, feldspar, gold, bauxite, and uranium. Angola is now one of the largest exporters of petroleum in the sub-Saharan Africa, and its production has almost tripled since independence. But because Angola was not a member of OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) until recent times, the country was not exposed to any restrictive “quotas” on its exports. Therefore management of the oil business was left in foreign hands. Hydrocarbons take up the largest proportion of exports; over half goes to the United States and China where low-sulfur crude oil is wanted. Small amounts of diamonds are also exported. Imports to Angola such as consumer goods, capital goods, and transport equipment come from South Korea, Portugal, and the United States.

3. Describe any environmental issues affecting this country and what, if anything is being done to address them.

Angola suffers from a suffiect amount of environmental issues due to the 30 year war that happened there. The main problems here are land abuse, desertification, loss of forests, and impure water. The productivity of the land is jeopardized by drought and soil erosion, contributing to water pollution and depositing silt in rivers and dams. The forests and woodlands declined 3.1% between 1983 and 1993, and a reported 0.2% in 1999-2000. In 2003, about 6.6% of the total land area was protected; therefore improved water sources were available to 70% of the urban population and 40% of rural dwellers. The endangered species in Angola are the black-faced impala, the green, olive ridley, and leatherback turtle, the giant sable antelope, the African slender-snouted crocodile, the African elephant, Vernay's climbing monkey, and the black rhinoceros. According to a report in 2007 made by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), the numbers of threatened species are 13 types of mammals, 18 species of birds, 4 types of reptiles, 22 species of fish, 4 types of mollusks, and 26 species of plants.

4. Describe the government in this country. Who is in power? How are elections chosen?

In Angola, Jose Eduardo dos Santos is the current president in charge. He has been acting for almost 33 years. The government revolves around a Presidential Republic, where the people of the country vote for the President. There are 18 provinces, and each is lead by a governor appointed by the central government. The provinces are then divided into councils, communes, circles, neighborhoods, and villages. The judiciary system is similar to America’s consisting of municipal and provincial courts, and the highest being the Supreme Court. Although with Santos in charge for more than 30 years, I suspect some tension between the government and the people of Angola due to the recent events in Tunisia and Libya. The country recently ended a Civil War but another could abrupt at any given time.

5. Is there or has there been any conflict in this country? If so please describe it. If not, please explain why you think the country has remained peaceful.

Angola recently ended a Civil War that lasted from February 4, 1961 to 1994. The Angolans were frustrated with the dehumanizing laws the Portuguese made when they colonized them in 1910. The urban partisans of the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) began the war with an armed guerrilla attack on São Paulo fortress and the police headquarters in Luanda. Within six weeks, the war spread to the north with the rural guerrillas of another organization (the Union of Angolan Peoples), which later became the National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA). The FNLA, lead by Holden Roberto, created a revolutionary government-in-exile in Zaire on 3 April 1962. A thrird movement group, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) evolved as the consequence of a split in the government-in-exile. The three movements were separated by ideology, ethnic considerations, and personal rivalries; therefore when the Portuguese agreed to give up power and give Angola full independence, the coalition government fell apart and mediation attempts by other African countries failed. At the peak of independence each of three organizations had its own army and influence. The FNLA, based in Zaire, received financial support mainly from China and the United States and represented the Kongo people. The UNITA and the FNLA joined together and established the Popular Democratic Republic of Angola. It was sustained with US funds, South African troops, and some white mercenaries. Ovimbundu, the largest ethnic group in Angola, supported UNITA. The MPLA had social support from mestiços in Luanda and other urban areas and the Mbundu. It received military and financial help from the USSR and 15,000 Cuban soldiers. In October 1991, war broke out and more than 1,000 were killed in a week. UNITA gained 75% control over the country. The death of Savimbi in February 2002 during an attack in southeastern Angola changed views for peace. In March 2002 UNITA commanders joined forces with the Angolan army (FAA) confirming an ending of hostilities; a peace accord between the government and UNITA followed in April.

5 Key Events of Angola Timeline

2. The death of Savimbi in February 2002 during an attack in southeastern Angola…...

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