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Angola

General information

General information

Луанда

Official name of the country: Republic of Angola
President: Jose Eduardo Dos Santos
President of the National Assembly: Fernando da Piedade Dias dos Santos
Premier: Antоnio Paulo Cassoma
Political system: multiparty democracy combined with a semi-presidential power system, formed by the following state power bodies: President of the Republic, National Assembly, Government and courts
Party in power: MPLA
Main oppositional party: UNITA
Political and administrative division of the country: 18 provinces with 163 municipalities.
Ethnic origin of the nation: mainly Bantu peoples
Political origin of the country: Portugal’s colony (for 500 years).
Date of declaration of independence: 11 November 1975, after 14 years of armed national liberation struggle.
First government: MPLA.
First President: Agostinho Antonio Neto (1975-1979)
First arrival of the Portuguese: 1482 (Diogo Cao)
Foundation of the first town (Luanda): 1605
Formation of the MPLA: 1956
Beginning of the armed struggle: 1961
Day of National Independence: 11 November 1975
Death of Agostinho Antonio Neto: September 10, 1979
Presidential inauguration of Jose Eduardo Dos Santos: September 21, 1979
Signing of the New York Agreement: September 22, 1988
Signing of the Gbadolite Agreement: June 22, 1989
Signing of the «Protocol of Bessassi»: May 31, 1991
First national elections: September 29-30, 1992
Signing of the «Protocol of Lusaka»: November 20, 1994
Assumption of office by the Unity and National Reconciliation Government: April 11, 1997
Signing of the Memorandum on mutual understanding (Peace Agreement), as a supplement to the Protocol of Lusaka: April 4, 2002

Angola today

ЛуандаIt is really hard to explain how it could have happened that in this potentially richest African territory provided with petroleum, diamonds, minerals of strategic importance, precious types of wood, fish, fruitful lands with tropical and moderate climate, water resources and much more, almost 70% of the population still live below the poverty line, while earning such incomes that cannot even ensure their physical survival.
At present Angola has managed to achieve what can be called its most important accomplishment – the country has been able to uphold its independence and territorial integrity, to lay down the foundations of a democratic state, and to ensure the unity of Angolan people in solving the problem of creating a united national state, despite all acts of aggression and all actions aimed at destabilizing the country's internal situation for the last 25 years.

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Historical information

ИсторияThe territory of the country was inhabited even in pre-historical times, which can be scientifically confirmed by archaeological finds discovered in Lunda, the Congo and Namib Desert. The first people who appeared here were bushmen, skillful pygmy hunters with light-brown skin. Early in the 6th century B. C. some peoples that had reached a higher stage in their development and were using technological achievements of the Iron Age, started one of the greatest migrations in human history. They were Bantu people from the north, probably from the area that is now called The Republic of Cameroon. When the Bantu reached Angola, they met the bushmen, and other ethnic groups that were even more primitive, and acquainted them with the Bantu technologies in the field of metallurgy, production of ceramics and agriculture.
Historically, the first sociopolitical entity that appeared on this territory came to be known as The Congo Kingdom. It was formed in the 13th century and extended from Gabon in the north to the Cuanza River in the south; from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Cuango River in the east. The basis of the country's economy was formed by its agriculture. The power was in the hands of the local aristocrats – mani – who occupied the key administrative posts and were subordinate only to the king of the Congo. The Kingdom was subdivided into territorial units called m’banza, and each such unit was controlled by a mani. The capital city was M’banza Congo, with a population of over 50 thousand people.

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Geography

Пустыня

Land surface area: 1 246 700 km2. 60% of the land’s territory is occupied by an inland plateau with an altitude of 1 000 meters to 2 000 meters above sea level, the plateau having a vast network of rivers and lakes.
Climate: tropical, with two seasons - Cassimbo (dry winter season) that lasts from May to September, and a rainy season (summer) lasting from September to May.
Average annual air temperature: 27о C (maximum) and 17о C (minimum).
Geographic location: southwestern coast of Africa.
The country borders in the west on the Atlantic Ocean; in the north on the Republic of the Congo (Brazzaville) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa); in the east on the Republic of Zambia and in the south on the Republic of Namibia.
Length of borders: on the sea – 1 600 km; on land – 4 837 km.
Population: 12 000 000 (49.3% are male citizens, and 50.7% are female).
Capital city: Luanda - 3 000 000 inhabitants (their average age is 19 years).
Other major towns: Cabinda, Benguela, Lobito, Lubango, Namibe.
Main rivers: Cuanza, Cunene and Cubango.
Highest terrain point: Mount Moco (Serra do Moco) (2 620 м) in the Huambo province.
Official language: Portuguese.
Main local languages: Umbundu, Kimbundu, Kikongo and Chokwe.
Religions: Catholic (51%); Protestant (17%); Traditional Animistic Religion (30%); other religions (2%)

Policy

Президент Республики АнголаNow that peace has come to Angola, the state power institutions are functioning in a normal manner solving the urgent problem of modernizing the whole country for providing a more efficient employment of the country's resources.

Constitution

Герб и флаг Анголы

The Constitution (Constitutional Law) declared in 1975, was later changed several times. For the first time, the Constitutional Law was revised in 1991 during preparations for the elections of 1992. The next series of amendments to the Constitution were introduced in 1994, after the conclusion of Lusaka Agreements. The main purpose of the amendments has always been establishing democracy in Angola and guaranteeing the recognition of individual rights and freedoms, as well as basic principles of market economy.
The main state power institutions, independent of each other, are now engaged in discussing and developing the text of a new Constitution. This discussion is centered on the Parliament and spreads more and more affecting a still greater number of social strata and sectors as they declare that they also belong to the “society of citizens”. The ongoing discussion embraces not only a new draft of the Constitution but also a whole series of amendments that should be made to the laws now in force, for example, “The Law about the Press”, and involved in this discussion are many various public organizations.

President of the Republic

Флаг Республики Ангола

The Constitution establishes a semi-presidential state power system in Angola. The President of the Republic heads all state power bodies, he is responsible for defense of the country and for coordination of relations between various branches of government. The President is elected by general and direct ballot for a period of five years, with a right to be reelected for a second term of office.
The President of the Republic is also Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. He appoints ministers and judges of the Supreme Court. Besides other powers, he has the right to veto laws that may endanger security of the state or its international interests.

Political life

Национальный банк Анголы

In 1991, Angola entered a development stage that corresponds to its aspiration for acquiring a status of a big, modern and democratic African country with market economy.

Elections of 1992

Выборы 1992

On the 29th and 30th of September 1992, 91% of the five million registered voters cast their ballots during the first free and democratic elections in Angolan history. In the first round of the elections, Jose Eduardo Dos Santos collected 49.57% of all the votes, while his main rival Jonas Savimbi polled only 40.07% of the votes. The third “historical” candidate – Holden Roberto – failed to get more than 2.11% of the votes. Then the UNITA refused to recognize the choice made by the voters and resorted to armed struggle, without even waiting for the second round of the elections, with the participation of Jose Eduardo Dos Santos and Jonas Savimbi. At that time Angola was already on its way towards peaceful life and national reconciliation, but the decision taken by the UNITA brought the country back into the state of civil war. The military success that the Governmental Armed Forces achieved in 1998 when they liberated several areas earlier controlled by the rebels, made it possible to organize and hold new elections in 2001.

Political forces

Политические силы в Анголе

Out of the seventeen parties participating in the parliamentary elections of 1992, twelve got at least one seat and were thus represented at the National Assembly.
MPLA (Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola) received 53.74% of the votes and 129 out of 220 seats in the Parliament.
UNITA (the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola) got 34.1% of the votes and seventy parliamentary seats as a result of the parliamentary elections of 1992. That party is represented by four ministers and ten deputy ministers in the Government of Unity and National Reconciliation (GUNR).
PRS (Party of Socialist Renewal) got six mandates and 2.27% of all votes. In the GUNR this party is represented by one minister and two deputy ministers.
FNLA (the National Front for the Liberation of Angola) has five mandates in the National Assembly and obtained 2.4% of the votes at the parliamentary elections. However, in 1998 the FNLA left the Government of Unity and National Reconciliation.
PLD (Liberal-Democratic Party) got three parliamentary mandates and 2.39% of the votes.
FDA (Angolan Democratic Forum) founded in 1992 by dissidents from UNITA, received one governmental position in 1992 and now has got one deputy at the Assembly.
Six other parties have one seat each at the National Assembly:
PRD (Party of Democratic Renewal).
AAD-SOA (Coalition – Democratic Alliance).
PSD (Social-Democratic Party).
PAJOCA (Party of Alliance of the Youth, Workers and Peasants of Angola).
PDP-ANA (Democratic Party for Progress – National Alliance of Angola).
PNDA (National Democratic Angolan Party).

Executive power bodies

Исполнительная власть в Анголе

In accordance with the current Constitution's provisions concerning the executive branch of power, the President of the Republic shall appoint a Prime Minister for exercising part of his own presidential authority. Before appointing the Prime Minister the President shall consult with the political parties represented at the National Assembly and find out their opinions. The Prime Minister shall form a Government that bears political responsibility before the President and the National Assembly.
The President of the Republic shall preside at the meetings of the Council of Ministers and the Council of the Republic, the latter being his advisory body.
The Prime Minister shall control and lead the work of the Government, coordinate and direct the activities of all ministers and state secretaries, represent the Government during sessions of the National Assembly, both inside and outside the country.
The Government of Unity and National Reconciliation, as is clear from its very name, consists of representatives of widely varying political formations. All ministers have equal rights, irrespective of the party they belong to, and they have direct access to information on all issues and problems, and the ministers' opinions shall be listened to and taken into account on all issues relating to the competence of the ministries that they head.

Legislative power bodies

Законодательная власть в Анголе

The system of legislative power in the country is based on activities of one Chamber. The National Assembly consists of two hundred and twenty deputies elected for a term of four years. Out of the two hundred and twenty parliamentary seats, one hundred and thirty seats are occupied according to results of the nationwide proportional representation, while the other ninety seats are distributed according to results of representation based on majority at the provincial level. The Assembly gathers for sessions twice a year. It may also be convened for an extraordinary session at the request of the President of the Assembly or on the initiative of one third of its members. Discussions in the Parliament proceed openly and sincerely; the opposition frankly raises issues of controlling the country and directly and without prejudice participates in debates concerning basic matters of social life.
The meetings of the Assembly are public and are widely commented in state-owned and private mass media. Due to economic considerations, the parliamentary debates are no longer transmitted directly through television, but this topic occupies a considerable part of on-air time in various news and informational programs on TV. The Parliament is open to all kinds of initiatives coming from the civil society and from various oppositional parties that conduct their activities in a widely varying parliamentary form.

Judicial power bodies

Судебная власть в Анголе

The Supreme Court located in Luanda is the summit of all judicial system consisting of criminal, civil law and military law courts. The Constitution guarantees independence of the judicial power bodies.
The Supreme Court also functions in a normal manner, while keeping its work at a distance from the activities of political authorities. Until now, the Supreme Court's decisions have never caused public disputes and polemics deserving special attention. Recently the social environment around the judges’ activities was improved, the judicial system got a higher status, and the judges’ salaries were raised. These decisions were unanimously supported by the population and all state power institutions.
The judicial system is experiencing difficulties brought about by an excessive concentration of population in Luanda province, which both intensifies the crime growth rate and leads to increase in the number of criminally persecuted people. As a result, the jails are constantly overcrowded, and the courts fail to cope with the huge amount of work. In spite of all this, the courts do their best to alleviate the situation caused by the above conditions, while the Government is considering possibilities to improve the functioning and conditions of some jails in Luanda province through transferring a part of prisoners from Luanda to provincial penitentiary institutions.

Local governments

Ангола

The country is subdivided into eighteen provinces. Each province is controlled by a specially appointed governor who reports to the President and the Council of Ministers. The provinces themselves are subdivided into municipalities consisting of communes.

Armed forces and the police

Полиция Анголы

The Armed Forces serve the purpose of securing the national independence, territorial integrity, freedom and protection of the population from possible aggressions or an external threat, within the framework of the appropriate legal norms and provisions of the international law.
The national police are taking steps aimed at providing normal conditions for the life of the population, and at the same time the police are playing a basic role in maintaining law and order and peace.

Economic information

Валюта Анголы

Official currency unit: kwanza Kz.
Commercial currency unit: US Dollar.
Average population density: 9.6 persons per km2.
Rate of population increase: 2.9% annually.
Average life duration: 45 years for men; 48 years for women.
GDP (Gross Domestic Product) (1997) – 2 854 651 billion new kwanza.
GDP (1997): 2 854 651 billion Kz
Annual GDP growth rate – 9.5%.
The Trade Deficit-to-GDP ratio – 8.9%.
The National Debt-to-GDP ratio – 18%.
Annual inflation rate: on the average - 107% (in 2002).
Employment distribution pattern: primary economic sector (extraction, mining, harvesting): 68.5%; secondary economic sector (processing): 4.5%; tertiary economic sector (commerce): 26.8%.
Principal export commodities: petroleum, diamonds, various minerals, timber, fish, coffee, cotton and sisal agave.
Principal import commodities: foodstuffs, beverages, vegetables, electric appliances and automobiles.
Main foreign trade partners: USA, Belgium, Portugal, Germany, France, Spain, Brazil and South Africa.
Main seaports: Luanda, Lobito and Namibe.

Províncias de Angola

Província do Bengo
Província de Benguela
Província do Bié
Província de Cabinda
Província do Cuando Cubango
Província do Cunene
Província do Huambo
Província da Huila
Província do Kwanza-Norte
Província do Kwanza-Sul
Província de Luanda
Província da Lunda-Norte
Província da Lunda-Sul
Província de Malanje
Província do Moxico
Província do Namibe
Província do Uíge
Província do Zaire

Practical information

Angola

Tourist attractions: fine climate, beaches, rivers, waterfalls, hunting, fishing, national cuisine, folk dances and music.
National cuisine: fish and seafood of extremely high quality; wide variety of culinary products on the basis of a mixture of African and Portuguese traditions.
International telephone area code for Angola: 244
International telephone area code for Luanda: 244 2
Cellular communications service: 244 9
System of measures and weights: metrical.
Electric power mains: 220 V AC 50 cycles.
Office and working hours: governmental institutions – 8:00-15:00; shops– 8:30-12:00/15:00-19:00; banks – 8:30-11:30/14:00-15:30 (from Monday to Friday).
Motor traffic on roads: right-hand traffic.
Necessary vaccination: against yellow fever, tetanus, cholera and measles.
Formal entry requirements: passport with a stamped entry visa endorsement for all foreign citizens who are not Angolan residents.
Official national holidays: 1 and 4 January, 4 February, 8 March, 4 April, 1 May, 25 May, 1 June, 17 September, 2 and 11 November and 25 December.

Кухня Анголы