The Angolan economy and the need for a new constitution

Constitutions do not solve problems, but give powerful signs. It is of these powerful signs that Angola’s economy needs at this time.

If we look at the great macroeconomic data, we come across an encouraging picture. Inflation since March 2022 slowed from 27.66% to 13.86% in December 2022, an impressive data, Kwanza, the national currency, oscillates freely in the international market, the State General Budget has a surplus, public debt came down markedly, for a value close to 60% of GDP. The economy grew again in the orbit of 3% by 2022, predicting an increase of 2.7% in 2023. However, oil continues to rise, 86.27 the barrel/brent (25-01-2023).

Therefore, those who can be considered the “fundamental” of the Angolan economy are healthy after a long shortage which began in 2015/2016.

However, the international investment that should flow to Angola is not reality yet, and the threat of instability is latent, as the interview of opposition leader Adalberto da Costa Júnior demonstrates to a Portuguese newspaper [1] last week, not recognizing Electoral results, courts and, therefore, and from what one apprehends any institution of the State; in practice, assuming as possible a power outlet by force.

Consequently, we have a work of meritorious economic stabilization that for political reasons, as well as those that Keynes called “Animal Spirits” (emotions that determine human behaviour), does not produce the desired effects and usually described on economics manuals.

Now, it is precisely this need to unleash the “animal spirit” that does not move in the Angolan economy and the threats of political instability that gives rise to the urgency of discussing a new Constitution to Angola.

It is well known that the Angolan Constitution approved in 2010 is not consensual and was designed in a legal tailoring taking into account the figure of José Eduardo dos Santos, introducing, what Jorge Miranda, the famous Portuguese constitutionalist, dubbed “simple representative government system, to which, diverse configurations were reappointed  the French Cesarian Monarchy of Bonaparte, the Corporate Republic of Salazar according to the 1933 Constitution, the Brazilian Military Government according to the 1967-1969 Constitution, several African authoritarian regimes.”[2]

Although having suffered a review in a more democratizing and open sense in 2021, in which the autonomization of the Central Bank stands out and the creation of a constitutional system of supervision of the executive branch by the legislature, it is certain that the constitutional genesis prevents always whenever this is a symbol of an open society and a free economy and on the other hand, it contains no mechanisms of constitutional protection as proposed by Karl Loewenstein and adopted in the German Basic Postwar Law. These mechanisms protect the constitution of internal threats to the constitution itself and are a fundamental element for political stability.

In addition, it is important to reinforce the mechanisms of defense of private and foreign investment. If we notice, private investment is only mentioned once in the Constitution in Article 38, and the history of opportunism and true “theft” of foreign investors in Angola was a reality that requires special normative attention. Also the provisions on the land (article 15) must be updated and rationalized, as well as the guarantee of justice with rapid and impartial judgments.

Justice is admittedly one of the essential aspects of a proper functioning of the economy, expecting predictable and timely decisions. There is no doubt that the Angolan judicial system needs a large “aggiornamento” that would be introduced by a new constitution.

In a mere economic perspective, it is clear that a new constitution would be a sign, a symbol of a new time that would attract investors and give hopes of political and legal stability.

As mentioned at the beginning, a new constitution does not solve all problems, its role is to announce a new time open to investment, market economy and progress and development of the country. It would be the culmination of economic reforms recently enclosed.

[1] Adalberto da Costa Júnior, 2023, Nascer do Sol,

[2] Jorge Miranda, A Constituição de Angola de 2010, CJP-CIDP, p. 42