Angola looks forward on 36th year of independence
Angolans celebrated the 36th Anniversary of the Independence of the Republic of Angola on Nov. 11. The Angolan people have overcome considerable barriers and external interference but, through their perseverance and fortitude, they achieved National Independence and nationwide development.
Angola is bordered by Namibia to the south, Zambia to the east, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the northeast, and the South Atlantic Ocean to the west. The exclave of Cabinda also borders the Republic of the Congo to the north. Angola's capital, Luanda, lies on the Atlantic coast of the northwest of the country.
Angola has a rich subsoil heritage, from diamonds, oil, gold, copper, as well as a rich abundance of wildlife, forest and fossils. Since independence, oil and diamonds have been the country’s most important economic resource. That said, smallholder and plantation agriculture have begun to grow since 2002.
Angola established relations with Korea on July 2, 1993 after signing the general agreement on economic, technical and scientific cooperation. During this period, there were two sessions of the Joint Committee between the two countries, and the second session was held in August 2009, where commitments were made in various fields with the aim of strengthening cooperation between the two countries. Angola is satisfied to see that since 2005 the quantity of imports and exports between the two countries has increased, which is the fruit of close cooperation in various fields.
Finally, with the achievement of peace on April 4, 2002, Angola has developed an ambitious program for development process: Strengthening democracy and the internal cohesion; developing institutional capacity and achieving significant improvements in governance; ensuring economic high growth and improving the quality of citizen's life; and, realizing national reconstruction.
In this environment of peace and stability, smart and realistic economic policy adopted by the Angolan government ― leading to the consolidation of macroeconomic stability and laying the foundations for sustained growth and economic development ― has allowed the Angolan economy to grow the most than any other economy in Africa and, indeed, the world.
Overall, Angola's economy has undergone a period of transformation in recent years. Angola is now the fastest growing economy in Africa and one of the fastest in the world, with an average GDP growth of 20 percent between 2005 and 2007. From 2001 to 2010, Angola had the world's biggest average GDP annual growth at 11.1 percent. In 2004, China's Eximbank approved a $2 billion line of credit to Angola. The loan is being used to rebuild Angola's infrastructure. Angola estimates growth for 2011 at 7 percent, including more than 2 percent for the oil sector.
Diamonds and oil make up 60 percent of Angola's economy, almost all of the country's revenue and are its dominant export. Growth is almost entirely driven by oil production which surpassed 1.4 million barrels per day in late 2005 and 2 million barrels per day by 2007. Control of the oil industry is consolidated in Sonangol Group, a conglomerate owned by the Angolan government. In December 2006, Angola was admitted as a member of OPEC. The economy grew 18 percent in 2005, 26 percent in 2006 and 17 percent in 2007.
Although the global recession the economy has meant a minor economic downturn in Angola in 2009, security brought about by the 2002 peace settlement has led to the resettlement of 4 million displaced persons, and resulting large-scale increases in agriculture production.
Angola's population is estimated to be 20 million. It is composed of Ovimbundu (language Umbundu) 37 percent, Ambundu (language Kimbundu) 25 percent, Bakongo 13 percent, and 32 percent consist of other ethnic groups (including the Ovambo, Ganguela and the Xindonga), as well as about 2 percent mesticos (mixed European and African) and 1 percent European. The Ambundu and Ovimbundu nations combined form a majority of the population, at 62 percent. The population of Angola is forecast to grow to over 47 million people to 2060, nearly tripling.
The languages in Angola are those originally spoken by the different ethnic groups plus Portuguese due to its being a former Portuguese colony. The indigenous languages with the largest usage are Umbundu, Kimbundu and Kikongo, in that order. Portuguese is the official language of the country.
Angola’s mastery of the official language of Portuguese is more extensive than elsewhere in Africa, and this certainly applies to its use in everyday life. The proportion of native (or near native) speakers of the language of the former colonizer country _ turned official after independence in 1975, is no doubt considerably higher than in any other African country
There are about 1000 mostly Christian religious communities in Angola. While reliable statistics are nonexistent, estimates have it that more than half of the population Roman Catholic, while about a quarter adhere to the protestant churches introduced during the colonial period. Muslims, practically all of them immigrants from West African and other countries and belonging to the Sunnite branch, represent only about 1 percent
Portugal has been present in Angola for 400 years, occupied the territory in the 19th and early 20th century, and ruled over it for about 50 years. As a consequence, both countries share cultural aspects: language and religion. Of course, Angolan culture is African, mostly Bantu, while Portuguese has been imported. The diverse ethnic communities ― the Ovimbundu, Ambundu, Bakongo Chokwe and other peoples, which maintain to varying degrees their own cultural traits, traditions and languages. In the cities, however, 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 the16th century, a Portuguese-based culture has become more dominant. An African influence is evident in music and dance, and is molding the way in which Portuguese is spoken, but is almost disappearing from the vocabulary. This process is well reflected in contemporary Angolan literature, especially in the works of Pepetla and Ana Paula Ribeiro Tavares. Leila Lopes, Miss Angola 2011, was crowned Miss Universe in September this year in Brazil, making her the first Angolan to win the pageant.