Boosting tourism in Angola

1- Framework: the requirements and agents of tourism promotion in Angola

Angola is gradually seeking to diversify its economy, choosing tourism as one of the main priorities for structuring economic policy. As is well known, the reconstruction started from 2002 did not focus on tourism, but on the oil, mining and construction industry. Once this model was exhausted, diversification became the keyword for development.

Since it is conspicuous that Angola has an enormous tourist potential, the truth is its implementation implies the removal of sveral obstacles and the creation of adequate conditions. We refer to two essential axes to create these conditions: the first is the creation of favorable conditions for investment in the tourism sector, this implies the review of the investment law that has already taken place, the removal of barriers to market entry and the facilitation of bank credit for new projects.

The second axis is of an infrastructural nature and requires the creation of an adequate transport network, roads, planes and boats, as well as a climate of criminal security, in addition to the facilitation of tourist visas.

Figure 1: The 2 axes for the development of tourism potential

Furthermore, the growth of tourism cannot be solely dependent on the State, it is naturally responsible for the regulation, supervision and creation of infrastructure and conditions. However, the fundamental role belongs to the private business community, which must advance and establish partnerships to enter the international circuits. And, finally, it is also up to the provincial, municipal and communal leaders to encourage and leverage their resources.

State, businessmen and local leaders form the tripartite partnership that must come together to launch tourism in Angola.

In 2019, at the opening of the World Tourism Forum that took place in Luanda, the President of the Republic made it very clear what the executive wanted for the sector: within the framework of the diversification of the economy, tourism should play a role in promoting development and generating income and employment. For this to materialize, the government should invest in the short and medium term, in the expansion of hotel infrastructures and in the infrastructure of the tourist centers of Cabo Ledo, Calandula and the Transfrontier Project of Okavango Zambeze, with the purpose of increasing the offer and the options diversity of tourists and customers in general[1].

Recently, a possible crisis in tourism in Europe has been discussed, admitting that Greece, Italy, France, Spain and Portugal are affected by the sanctions on Russia resulting from the war in Ukraine (which, in relation, at least to Portugal, is doubtful, as the country was not dependent on Russian tourism), Egypt has not yet fully recovered from fear of  bomb attacks, Indonesia struggles to contain Muslim fundamentalism, India struggles with rising pollution levels, Kenya and Senegal could be invaded by Islamic agitation, favorite destinations like Turkey, Israel, Thailand and Dubai are somewhat saturated. This scenario is described in a somewhat emphatic way, however, it opens up opportunities for tourism in Angola, as it represents a certain verifiable trend.

The country has potential in tourism to attract tourists, as Cape Verde and Botswana did; it has paradisiacal beaches, desert and forests, rivers of great flow, mountains, exuberant fauna and flora, and, above all, a welcoming people and a rich and varied gastronomy.

2-Scenario of Angolan tourism

There is no developed tourism industry in Angola. The few areas that are developed took advantage of the country’s natural beauties, rivers, waterfalls and the 1,650 km of Atlantic coast. As the official brochures describe: “The humid tropical climate [of Angola] has created an exuberant flora and rich fauna spread over regions with forests, savannas, impressive mountains, rivers, beaches that seem to stretch without limits, waterfalls, oases and beautiful landscapes which seem to go on to infinity and are all immaculate and intact. An endless summer of warm afternoons bathed in warm breezes to contemplate adventure and discovery.”

Angola has an extreme natural beauty that reveals itself as a promising tourist destination. Mussulo Island and Cabo Ledo are examples of places with an immense capacity to attract tourists, as well as several areas of the provinces such as Namibe, Benguela, Malanje and Cuanza-Sul. The Calandula Waterfalls in Malanje are particularly impressive.

However, currently, most foreign travelers arriving in Angola are not tourists, but entrepreneurs, workers and consultants. This means that hotels are geared towards business and not tourism or leisure. As businesses have been through a serious crisis since 2015, that only now (2022) is truly emerging, that is to say that in recent years there has been a markedly low occupancy rate in hotels, which went from 84% in 2014 to 35% in 2017 and 25% in 2018. This drop in occupancy reflected the crisis that overshadowed the country, not the lack of interest in tourism. The drop in oil prices that has occurred since 2014 and until last year led to a decrease in economic activity in Angola, which resulted in fewer business travelers occupying hotels.

Those responsible recognize that there are currently major weaknesses in the tourism sector, namely “lack of concrete support and incentive measures, difficult access to places, potential resources and tourist attractions, lack of appreciation of tourist resources, lack of flexibility of the banking system to finance tourist projects, deficit in terms of hotel and tourist training establishments, excessive dependence on imports, due to the deficit in domestic production, lack of tourist culture, lack of greater openness in granting entry visas to the main tourist-issuing markets of the world and reduced purchasing power of Angolans[2]”.

However, these unsatisfactory numbers and facts do not represent any structural trend. Between 2009-2014 Angola registered strong growth in the hotel sector with revenues exceeding 45 billion kwanzas (100 million euros at the time exchange rate), creating around 223 thousand jobs. Thus, there is clear potential for the tourism business.

3-Touristic locations and potential markets

Angola has numerous tourist attractions, among which we can highlight the national parks of Kissama and Iona, Quedas de Calandula, Ruacaná, Mussulo, Miradouro da Lua or the Zambezi River.

It is possible to promote the development of hotels and tourist resorts aimed at vacationers in some of the areas specifically intended for sun, sea and sand tourism, such as Cabo Ledo, 120km from Luanda in the municipality of Quiçama, which has 2,000 hectares of enormous beauty and is a potential location for world surfing, once visa processes are facilitated.

Another alternative for nature tourism is Calandula, Malange, which has the most impressive waterfalls in Angola and is the second largest in Africa at 150 meters high and 401 meters wide. An area of ​​1,978 hectares of endless vegetation and waterfalls as far as the eye can see and which has an enormous potential for tourist investment: tourist accommodation, restaurants, entertainment, golf and casinos.

The idea of ​​a museum route also emerged. The initiative of this route is to awaken and increase the culture of visiting museums, in order to create a heritage identity. This route includes the Iron Palace, the National Museum of Military History (Fortaleza São Miguel), the National Museum of Natural History and the National Museum of Slavery, passing through several hotel units. This route should serve as a model for implementation in all provinces of the country.

The target markets for Angolan tourism should be Russia (after the peaceful resolution of the war) and China, which are now the countries from which more than 50% of international tourists come, Angola has everything it takes to absorb a substantial share of these markets. Furthermore, as mentioned above, it could absorb some European demand, especially in the area of ​​adventure and new ecological experiences.

4-Strategic axes and special tourism areas (STA)

As mentioned above, the strategy for tourism must be based on two axes: the promotion of investment and the creation of infrastructure.

We recognize that there is a new favorable climate for investment and also an effort, especially within the scope of the CPLP, to make the bureaucratic process of issuing tourist visas more flexible, that is, conditions are being developed for a new strategy for attracting tourists.

According to an Angolan official, the documents required for the licensing of tourist developments were reduced, from 11 documents previously required to three. The validity of permits was changed from three to five years, the process of decentralizing the permit issuance system is in progress. All these actions aim to improve the business environment in the tourism sector. Regarding visas, the same official points out that the process was already more difficult. He made it known that there have been significant advances, which need to be improved, to attract more tourists[3].

The same officials argue that in terms of infrastructure there are gaps that are easy to solve; Catumbela Airport (Benguela) may be equipped with mechanisms to receive direct international flights, transport is part of the investment that is up to the private sector, the Benguela Railway line passes hundreds of meters from the airport, connects to Zambia and to the Democratic Republic of Congo and goes to Tanzania on the Indian Ocean, Lobito has a large-capacity port, and the expansion itself is providing parallel investments in health, training, services, and the capacity to produce skilled and competitive labor.

At the government level, tourism is recognized as a strategic sector in the National Development Plan 2018-2022, as a guarantee of intensive labour, alongside agriculture, various industries and fisheries. The National Development Plan includes some specific actions, such as the improvement of communication with the Tourist Development Poles, the elaboration of projects for the construction and rehabilitation of hotel and tourist infrastructures, state and mixed infrastructures, the identification of priority development areas, with the aim of recovering and developing the entire heritage of the hotel and tourist network.

Another government official, who has since ceased his duties, underlined that in addition to Angola starting to reduce restrictions and bureaucracy, as part of the strategy to relaunch tourism and promote the attraction of investment to the sector, he wanted to draw attention for the country, with the collaboration of the international supermodel Maria Borges, who would help to promote the potential. The strategy would involve calling an international name, Maria Borges, to help promote the country’s culture, history and main tourist destinations[4].

With the new strategy for the promotion of tourism, Angola hopes to integrate the list of the main tourist destinations in Africa by 2025[5] .

***

However, it is not possible in the short term to create a complete national infrastructure for tourism. There must be pragmatism and realism in political approaches to promoting tourism in a country where tourism has been almost non-existent. It is in this sense that the best solution must be dual and with different deadlines.

In the medium term, a national tourism strategy should be developed. However, in the short term, there must be a focus on what we will call Special Tourism Areas (STA). The STAs would be five areas of the country in which the State in partnership with the private sector and local authorities would focus to create infrastructure and specific conditions for tourism. Areas with easy access, hotels, restaurants, guaranteed security and maybe free transit visas to visit these areas. Preferred areas chosen to test the STAs could be Malanje, a beach area with urban animation, a paradisiacal-style beach area, and a city with a lot of history or an area with ecological interest aimed at European tourists.

Figure 2: Special Tourism Areas

These areas would have privileged tax treatment and the elimination of visas should be considered for those who went there for up to 15 days. This proposal would imply the elimination of visas for foreign tourists from the target markets who travel to the STAs for a maximum period of 15 days in tourism. All they need to do is present a return flight ticket and proof of booking in tourist accommodation.

There would thus be the creation of pilot districts dedicated to tourism, small capsules of what could be global tourism in Angola in the future.

Conclusions

Tourism can be one of the areas of excellence in the ongoing diversification of the Angolan economy, as it is a sector where the country has enormous potential. The investment in tourism must be a tripartite work of the State, private business and local communities. Target markets will be Asia and Russia (after the Ukrainian War settlement), as well as eco-tourists or European adventurers.

For tourism to exist in Angola, investment conditions must be provided (which is ongoing) as well as adequate infrastructure in physical terms and easy to move around.

It is advisable to proceed in the short term with the creation of Special Tourism Areas that work as pilot experiences for tourism promotion. Areas that will bring together hotels, restaurants, local entertainment, security and easy access, and elimination of visas for tourism in the STAs. And then with the results of these STAs extend to the entire country.


[1] https://e-global.pt/noticias/lusofonia/angola/angola-joao-lourenco-aposta-em-turismo-para-diversificar-economia-do-pais/

[2] https://www.jornaldeangola.ao/ao/noticias/os-resultados-da-estrategia-para-o-turismo-ainda-sao-incipientes/ – interview with ANGOP by the general director of Infotur – 31-08-2021

[3] https://www.jornaldeangola.ao/ao/noticias/o-futuro-de-angola-repousa-no-turismo-e-nao-no-petroleo/

[4] https://pt.euronews.com/2021/06/28/as-apostas-de-angola-para-relancar-o-turismo

[5] https://www.jornaldeangola.ao/ao/noticias/o-futuro-de-angola-repousa-no-turismo-e-nao-no-petroleo/

Structural works to combat the effects of drought in southern Angola

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1-Introduction: characterization of the water catchment construction project on the Cunene River

It has been our concern to seek concrete answers to specific problems, in addition to the intense rhetoric in pre-election periods. In this case, one of the topics that interests us is the drought in southern Angola. As we mentioned in a report from last November[1], we follow the works in progress related to the Drought. One of them is almost ready to be inaugurated and operational. It is about that project we give an account in this document.

This report focuses on the execution of the Structuring Works to Combat Drought, specifically the design and construction of a catchment on the Cunene River and the construction of pipelines to the localities of Cuamato, Namacunde and Ndombondola.

This project has 2 Lots:

• LOT 1 – Design and Construction of Intake on the Cunene River, Pumping System, Pressurized Duct, Open Channel from Cafú to Cuamato and 10 Chimpacas (water reservoirs);

• LOT 2 – Design and Construction of Adductor Channel from Ombala – Cuamato to Ndombondola, Adductor Channel from Cuamato to Namacunde and 20 Chimpacas.

Regarding Lot 1, the General Contractor is SINOHYDRO Corporation Limited, a limited company incorporated in 2011 in Luanda whose property is held by Chinese companies. The supervision is carried out by the Consortium GWIC – Angola, S.A / SINTEC – Consultoria de Engenharia, Lda. As for Lot 2, the responsible entity is the same, except for inspection; in this case the responsible entity is TRIEDE Angola, Lda. A prestigious company from Portugal.

The deadline for the project conclusion points to the end of March 2022. Therefore, a very brief opening is expected.

The value of the two works reaches 140 million US dollars.

Fig. 1: Lots 1 and 2 of the Project (Cunene Province, Angola)

2- Projects explanation

Lot 1 comprises the water transfer works from the Cunene River, in the Cafu section, to the localities of Cuamato, and is based on the construction of the water intake, pumping station, pressurized pipelines, feeder channels and associated facilities.

The Project consists of the following main elements:

• Intake from the Cunene river bed, including the water intake structure, floodgates, grates and other associated equipment;

• Pumping Station with a capacity of 2 m3/s;

• The Pumping Station will be equipped with two active pumps and one backup pump in the first phase. The pumps will be turbine-type, vertical, with a nominal capacity of 1 m3/s;

• Gravity channel coated to receive 6 m3/s. The length of the channel is 46.54 kilometers with connection to the reservoir, considering the alignment that minimizes earth movements;

• A North-South alignment was established from Cafu to the Ombala-Io-Mungo region. In the end, the gravity channel will be divided into two branches, serving the localities of Namacunde and Ndombondola.

Fig. 2: General Conductor Channel | Manual cladding with concrete class C20/25, 35 km, 1 front km (45,954)

Fig. 3: Chimpacas | State of the Chimpaca

In turn, Lot 2 comprises the works of the following channels, which derive from the Bypass Structure (BS) of flows from the General Conductor Channel (GCC):

• West Conductor Channel – WCC (Cuamato / Ndombondola), with a length of around 53.04 kilometres;

• East Conductor Channel – ECC (Cuamato / Namacunde), with a length of about 53.11 kilometres.

Fig. 4: East Adductor Channel (EAC)

Fig. 5: Placing the fence on the Chimpacas of the East and West channels

3-Delays, advances and resources used

Due to several constraints that occurred in 2021, such as lack of diesel in the south of Angola, water for concrete production and respective curing, cement at work, and rainfall, the completion of the work slipped a little, since completion was initially scheduled for February. Now the completion date is for the end of March (maybe early April).

A total of 1250 workers (Lot 1 – 417; Lot 2 – 833) were assigned to the works, 162 (Lot 1 – 70; Lot 2 – 92) of Chinese nationality and 1088 (Lot 1 – 347; Lot 2 – 741) of Angolan nationality. Equipment is allocated to the works, in a total of 388 units, of which 135 in Lot 1 and 243 units in Lot 2.

4-Benefits for the population

The project, as presented above, consists of the construction of the water transfer system for the Cunene River, from the locality of Cafu to the Chanas region in the province of Cunene, in Angola. The interventions are included in a total investment of more than €140 million made by the government to deal with long periods of drought that dramatically affect people and animals.

The aim is to create the right conditions for the development of agriculture and livestock, increasing resilience to climate change in this practically deserted region of southern Angola, subject to frequent prolonged droughts, benefiting hundreds of thousands of inhabitants and livestock, as well as providing water for irrigation in an area estimated at 5,000 hectares.

The project is expected to benefit approximately 200,000 inhabitants and 250,000 head of cattle. It should be noted that Cunene has about 900 thousand inhabitants, therefore more than 20% of the population is covered by this work.


[1] https://www.cedesa.pt/2021/11/16/o-combate-estrutural-a-seca-no-sul-de-angola-o-caso-do-cunene/

The economic consequences in Angola of the Ukraine war

It is a fact that the war in Ukraine is affecting the entire world economy, and, certainly, this impact will also have political consequences[1], as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) immediately recognized.

The question that will be addressed in this report is about the specific impact of the war on the Angolan economy, which, as we know, is undergoing a demanding reform period and is about to emerge from a deep crisis. It will also superficially assess whether the economic impacts will have political influence.

The two faces of the impact of the oil price in Angola

Naturally, the first impact in Angola refers to the price of oil. The rise in the price of oil was a trend that had been going on for some time and was accentuated with the outbreak of the war. To some extent, it is not a novelty brought about by the Ukrainian crisis, but a direction that has been underway for months.

 On January 31, 2022, the price of a barrel of Brent was USD 89.9, on February 14, 2022, the value was USD 99.2. It is a fact that with the beginning of the war it reached USD 129.3 on March 8. At this point (March 16), it stabilized at USD 99.11. It seems that the equilibrium price of oil in the near future will be between USD 95-100, with, obviously, the possibility of shocks that make it rise or fall abruptly.

Fig. nº 1- Daily Chart of the Price of a Barrel of Brent (May 2021-March 2022)

Source: Trading Economics.com

In relation to Angola, we have to start from the budgeted forecast for 2022, which calculated the price of a barrel at USD 59. Therefore, there will be an added value since the beginning of the year corresponding to a minimum of 50% more. In this sense, as the budget was balanced, it means that there will be a financial surplus, which is obviously good news.

This rise in the price of oil therefore has, in the first place, two positive effects for Angola.

The first is at the level of extraordinary Treasury revenue, which will naturally increase. In simple terms, it can be said that there will be more money available from the state.

The second effect, which is already being felt, is the so-called “feel good factor” (or confidence index). Entrepreneurs and families are rethinking their expectations in a more positive direction, hoping for better signs from the economy. According to the Angolan National Statistics Institute, businesspeople are finally optimistic about the short-term prospects of the national economy, after remaining pessimistic for more than 6 years[2]. The rise in the price of oil is not the only reason for the optimism revealed, but it helps.

Note, however, that oil price gains do not translate directly into a positive budget balance. There are several constraints in translating the rise in oil prices into direct budgetary benefits for Angola.

The first of these is the type of relationship with China. China is the main buyer of Angolan oil. We do not know how the contracts are made and whether they automatically reflect price fluctuations. In the past, some intermediaries in the purchases and sales of oil to China even entered into fixed-price contracts that greatly harmed the Angolan Treasury[3]. It is imagined that such “schemes” no longer exist, but there are no certainties. What is certain is that, probably, the contracts between Angola and China regarding oil will contain some type of “dampers” that will imply that there is no direct impact on prices. Furthermore, some oil experts, such as those at Chatham House, believe that the fact that China buys around 2/3 of Angolan oil (actually 70%[4]) allows it a certain monopolistic control of the price, meaning that Chinese purchases are made in order to lessen price rises, undermining Angolan advantages[5].

Second, we have debt service. Apparently, there are contractual mechanisms that imply that a higher price of oil implies an increase in debt service, that is, in payments to be made. The Minister of Finance, Vera Daves, has already acknowledged that “what results from the price increase cannot be made an arithmetic account with production” and that the price of a barrel of oil, above one hundred dollars, forces Angola to pay more to their international creditors[6].

Furthermore, the rise in the price of oil also has a possible negative effect on the Angolan budget, which refers to the price of fuel sold to the public. As is well known, this price is subsidized by the State; to that extent, if the cost of oil increases and the government does not increase fuel, it means that it will have to bear more subsidies and spend more to maintain fuel prices. If you don’t, you could be fueling inflation, which is no longer low in Angola, and creating social problems and discontent.

There are four factors here: price increase, relations with China, increase in debt payment obligations and increase in fuel subsidy that have to be taken into account to assess the real impact of the rise in oil prices on the accounts and the Angolan economy.

In fact, we do not have precise figures on these impacts, only ideas of magnitude, and in view of these, the conclusion that can be drawn is that a 50% increase in the price of oil in relation to what is foreseen in the Budget leaves a treasury slack that is still accentuated after the increase in debt service payments and support for the rise in fuel prices, and it is undoubted that a financial “cushion” will be created.

The question of food prices

Alongside the price of oil, many other commodity classes are rising in price. One of them is cereals, namely wheat.

Ukraine and Russia together account for a quarter of all world wheat exports. The conflict is dramatically driving up wheat prices. With the start of the war, the price of a bushel of wheat rose to $12.94, 50% more expensive than at the beginning of 2022.

In the midst of a war, it is unclear whether Ukraine’s farmers will be willing to spend whatever capital they have to plant the next harvest, or even if they will be in a position to do so. What is certain is that Ukraine has announced a ban on all exports of wheat, oats and other staple foods to avoid a massive food emergency within its borders. Therefore, wheat exports from Ukraine, even if there is production, are compromised.

Unlike oil, which affects prices almost immediately, grain prices take weeks, if not months, to reach consumers. In reality, raw grain needs to be shipped to processing facilities to make bread and other staples – and that takes time. In this sense, possibly, it will not be an immediate crisis for Angola, but it will reach the country.

According to government sources, Angola is self-sufficient in six basic agricultural products: cassava, sweet potato, banana, pineapple, eggs and goat meat. However, wheat is the most imported commodity, accounting for 11%[7]. Let us recall that wheat is an essential element in the diet of Angolans, which a few months ago led the Minister of Industry and Commerce to suggest replacing bread with cassava, sweet potatoes, roasted bananas and “ginguba” (peanuts). This statement has generated much criticism. However, from the strict point of economic self-sufficiency it may make sense, since possibly the price of bread will rise and eventually the price of national goods may fall, if there is an adequate competitive market.

What is certain is that Angola could be in the same danger as Egypt, an extremely wheat-based crop that suffers social upheaval when the price of wheat rises.

When grain prices soared in 2007-2008, bread prices in Egypt rose by 37%. With unemployment on the rise, more people became dependent on subsidized bread – but the government didn’t react. Annual food inflation in Egypt continued and reached 18.9% before the fall of President Mubarak.

Most of the poor in these countries do not have access to social safety nets. Bread images became central to the Egyptian protests that led to Mubarak’s downfall. Although the Arab revolutions were united under the slogan “the people want to overthrow the regime” and not “the people want more bread”, food was a catalyst. Incidentally, it should be noted that “bread riots” have been occurring regularly since the mid-1980s, usually after the implementation of policies “advised” by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Angola is not Egypt, but it is essential that the government pay close attention to the evolution of wheat and bread price to avoid social unrest, at a stage when it begins to emerge from the prolonged crisis.

However, as in the case of oil, there is another side, and in this case it is positive. The crisis in agricultural production resulting from the war could be a turning point for foreign investors to invest in agriculture in Angola. Angola is one of the countries in the world with the most potential, as we have already mentioned in a previous report[8], so this may be the time of opportunity for investors to see Angola’s agricultural capacity and take advantage of it. One of the most promising sectors with the most potential is agriculture. There is currently a combination of factors that make it one of the most profitable bets for investment in Angola.

Conclusions and recommendations

The war in Ukraine has several impacts on the Angolan economy.

The rise in the price of oil, not bringing directly proportional revenues, creates a “cushion” in the Treasury and a “feel good factor” in the business community, which could be a growth booster.

The rise in the price of cereals, especially wheat, can create serious inflationary pressures and discontent among the population, a situation for which the government must be aware. At the same time, it will draw attention to the enormous investment potential that Angola has as an agricultural country.

The government should create a special reserve derived from the gains from oil to guarantee the supply of cereals to the poorer sections of the population and also to promote agricultural investment in Angola.


[1] https://www.imf.org/en/News/Articles/2022/03/05/pr2261-imf-staff-statement-on-the-economic-impact-of-war-in-ukraine

[2] https://www.angonoticias.com/Artigos/item/70611/optimismo-regressa-no-seio-dos-empresarios-seis-anos-depois

[3] Rui Verde, Angola at the Crossroads. Between Kleptocracy and Development (2021), p. 24.

[4] https://www.forumchinaplp.org.mo/pt/china-foi-o-destino-de-71-do-petroleo-exportado-por-angola-em-2020/

[5] Explanations given at a Chatham House meeting that we replicate here, respecting the house rules.

[6] https://rna.ao/rna.ao/2022/03/03/preco-do-petroleo-a-cima-dos-cem-dolares-obriga-governo-angolano-a-pagar-mais-aos-credores/

[7] https://www.expansao.co.ao/economia/interior/grupo-carrinho-destaca-se-nas-importacoes-e-exportacoes-do-pais-106709.html

[8] https://www.cedesa.pt/2020/06/15/plano-agro-pecuario-de-angola-diversificar-para-o-novo-petroleo-de-angola/

The new threats and the reinforcement of the Angolan Armed Forces

New threats to Angola

Angola’s history has been one of constant and overcoming challenges, and its survival as a single entity has been threatened since independence in 1975. It is never too much to remember that independence itself was declared at different times and in different places by different entities, with greater or less legitimacy. Agostinho Neto proclaimed the independence of the People’s Republic of Angola at 11 pm on November 11, 1975, in Luanda. Holden Roberto, leader of the FNLA, announced the Independence of the People’s Democratic Republic of Angola at midnight on November 11, in Ambriz and Jonas Savimbi did the same for UNITA in what was then Nova Lisboa on the same day, declaring the birth of the Republic Social Democratic Republic of Angola.

 Immediately, a civil war followed that more or less sporadically, covering larger or smaller areas, lasted until 2002. Attempts at external invasion were also frequent, South Africa, even before independence, entered Namibia and Mobutu’s Zaire the same to the north. Then it was Cuba’s turn, at the invitation of the Luanda government to also enter the country to counter the other invasions[1]. Indirect interventions by the then superpowers also abounded, and it is unnecessary to recall the threats of disintegration that the country experienced until the end of the civil war in 2002.

After that date, the threats posed to Angola diminished, although many remained latent and others emerged, such as those linked to the capture of the State and corruption[2].

Currently, there is an increase in external threats after 2002, not assuming the dramatic contours of the years after independence, but posing demanding challenges to the forces defending sovereignty, territorial integrity and national public order.

Separatism

Internally, we can see the rekindling of separatist attempts, both in Lundas and in Cabinda, which could be a trigger for other initiatives. In relation to Cabinda, reports have recently appeared on social media, replicated in some media of clashes between the armed wing of the Front for the Liberation of the State of Cabinda (FLEC) and the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA)[3]. These attacks, real or virtual, follow several complaints from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) about Angolan incursions into its territory in apparent hot pursuit of FLEC members. Last August, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the DRC, Célestin Mbala Musense, criticized alleged incursions by the Angolan Navy into the country’s territorial waters in operations against rebels in Cabinda and claimed that FAA soldiers were multiplying incursions into the country, persecuting FLEC rebels[4].

Alongside this possible military upsurge, which is uncertain and about which there is no reliable information, there is a duly publicized current of opinion that invokes the need for a solution, although it is not clear what it is, or is tired of a confrontation.

The truth is that the Constitution of Angola (CRA) in its articles 5 and 6 is determinant: “… no part of the national territory or of the sovereign rights that the State exercises over it may be alienated.” It should be noted that this formulation implies that any territory always remains an integral part of the State, but does not prohibit different statutes and approximations, such as the establishment of autonomies always integrated into the national whole and of local authorities, more or less decentralized.

There is, therefore, a constitutional duty to combat any attempt at territorial secession, the CRA admitting the use of force to make this happen (“energetically fought”). In this context, the FAA will play a crucial role in preventing any dismemberment. In addition to constitutional law, it is also easy to see that any separation or “detachment” of Cabinda from Angola would have a disintegrating effect on the country, which as we know, historically, is a recent construction in progress.

This leads to the second threat of the same separatist type that exists in the Lundas. In January 2021, there was a bloody confrontation, the contours of which were duly described in Rafael Marques’ text, “”Miséria & Magia.[5]” In addition to socio-economic aspects, the event has been seen as linked to independence attempts by a self-styled Movement of the Portuguese Protectorate Lunda Tchokwe (MPPLT).

It is evident, in the first place, it is the duty of the State and the government to deal with the grievances of local populations, taking into account their developmental, economic and social demands. It is primarily a question of politics and progress. However, it is not worth ignoring that in the end, national integrity and sovereignty will always have to be guaranteed, and the FAA may play a decisive role in ensuring territorial cohesion.

That is why it is considered that a real threat to the sovereignty of Angola are the separatist impulses or intentions of part of its territory, with the FAA as the mainstay of the State to guarantee the integrity and unity of the State.

State capture and corruption

The second internal threat is linked to the aforementioned capture of the State and the fight against corruption. The option of political power was to hand over the fight against corruption to the common judicial means, therefore, this is not a function of the FAA, but of the police forces, criminal investigation and judiciary. The FAA only enters in what refers to the “capture of the State”. If forces or entities that benefit from corruption try to affect the normal functioning of the Rule of Law and Justice, weakening political power, it can be understood that the FAA will have a duty to defend constitutionality and legality, not intervening in specific judicial proceedings, but guaranteeing the conditions of tranquility and peace for the normal judiciary bodies to do their work. This is a difficult line to draw for the actions of the military, so the posture here must be understood as one of surveillance and symbolic support for the activity of the police forces and not of direct intervention.

If separatism and “state capture” are threats to sovereignty and peace in Angola, from the external point of view there are more and varied threats that have to be listed and have increased in recent years, requiring special attention from the FAA. The following stand out as external threats:

i) instability in neighboring countries, namely the DRC;

ii) the spread of terrorism designated as Islamic;

iii) crime and maritime piracy;

iv) increased competition between world powers with interests in African goods.

A few quick words about each of these segments:

i) instability in neighboring countries, namely the DRC

Although for the first time in 2018/2019 there was a peaceful transition of power in Congo (DRC), the truth is that the situation in this huge country is far from under control. The porosity with the Angolan border is a fact that is usually mentioned, but the main problem is that Tshisekedi, the President of the Republic and the state apparatus do not seem to control vast areas of the country that, according to some, are subject to militias promoted by Rwanda to search richness for processing in that country. A recent article by the Angolan professor and member of the Angolan government party, Benjamim Dunda, states that “What some do not know is that Rwanda is the gateway to the looting of excessive mineral resources in the DRC. Much of the endless instability of the neighboring nation of Mobutu has Kagame’s fingerprints. The Rwandan Patriotic Army (EPR) and Ugandan military, militarily occupy part of the territory of the DRC. Coltan (columbite and tantalite) is currently the most coveted ore in the technology industries worldwide. 80% of the world’s reserves are in the Democratic Republic of Congo.[6]” Without Dunda’s exalted tone, Laura McCreedy, from the International Peace Institute’s Center for Peacekeeping Operations, is on the same wavelength, referring already this month to reports of the resumption of proxy violence – attributed to Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi – as well as recent offensive operations against Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) by Ugandan forces and the alleged presence of Rwandan police and Burundian troops in eastern DRC, which is particularly alarming[7].

What appears is that there is a latent conflict in the DRC that is far from being resolved, to which is added a kind of asymmetric invasion, using the techniques popularized by Vladimir Putin in Crimea and Ukraine, by forces from Rwanda and perhaps Uganda within the DRC. This could soon provoke a more intense and not so covert war in the country with obvious effects in Angola. We shouldn’t forget that Angola was present in the so-called First Congo Civil War (1996-1997) and Second Congo Civil War (1998-2003), in addition to having directly or indirectly intervened in subsequent relevant moments in the DRC’s history. Consequently, it will not be indifferent to the evolution of the situation in the DRC and to this kind of discreet or disguised invasion that takes place, with the FAA having at least a deterrent role.

ii) the spread of terrorism designated as Islamic

The Angolan religious reality would not suggest an imminent danger from Islamic terrorism. However, there are two factors that must be taken into account to increase the degree of danger of Islamic terrorism in Angola.

The first factor is that what is often called “Islamic terrorism” does not have a real religious connotation, but represents a kind of franchise or brand adopted by insurrectionary movements or guerrillas in economically and socially degraded areas. This means that it is possible that in disaffected areas in Angola there may arise “Islamic” terrorist movements, which have nothing but Mohammedan but the designation, adopted to instill fear and terror in the populations and authorities. In fact, it seems clear that several Islamic terrorist movements that emerge in Africa are not the result of a command or central planning, but are more or less autonomous cells that imitate and mutually inspire, seeking common elements in propaganda and methodologies. As Chatham House experts Alex Vines and Jon Wallace put it, “[In Africa, the] line between jihadism, organized crime and local politics is often blurred and further complicated by global factors such as climate change, population and migration.[8] ” This means that the aforementioned “broth” can arise in Angola, and suddenly, the Islamic flag will be attractive to insurrectionary groups dissatisfied with the government.

Added to this first factor is the spreading across the African continent in relation to Islamic terrorism and which is gradually surrounding Angola. In the neighboring DRC, although still far from the Angolan borders, there is already talk of Islamic terrorism regarding the ADF (Allied Democratic Forces), with links between this organization and the Islamic State. In Tanzania, there are small attacks such as those in October 2020, in the village of Kitaya in the Mtwara region; attack that was claimed by Islamic extremists operating from northern Mozambique. Obviously, the case of Cabo Delgado in Mozambique is paradigmatic of the combination that can be foreseen for Angola, a socio-economic discontent allied to the emergence of Islamic terrorism. Further north, whether in the Central African Republic, Chad or Nigeria, there is a permanent threat from terrorist groups that identify themselves as Islamic.

The porosity of the borders, allied to the socio-economic difficulties, become powerful magnets for the expansion of terrorism that can become an internal threat in Angola, and it is certainly already a border threat and spreading across the African continent.

iii) crime and maritime piracy

From Cape Verde to the Angolan coast, attacks on ships have increased in recent years. In this vast maritime region, pirates – initially concentrated around the Niger Delta – extended their activities to all Nigerian coasts, as well as Benin and Togo. Since 2011, no less than 22 acts of piracy have been recorded in Benin, affecting traffic in the port of Cotonou, which has dropped by 60%. The massive economic impact of maritime crime – which includes illegal fishing, drug trafficking and weapons – on the coasts of West Africa increases every year. The Gulf of Guinea is now considered the continent’s maritime red zone[9].

Angola’s position has been clear, assuming itself as a strategic engine in the fight against piracy, pointing to the creation of a government funding strategy in the Gulf of Guinea and in the Great Lakes region, recognizing that crime has been growing in this area, endangering the region itself from a national, international and regional point of view. It is in this perspective that Angola attaches great importance to the maritime spaces that have to be controlled. In fact, of the 90 percent of crimes committed in the Atlantic Ocean, 70 percent occur in the Gulf of Guinea, which is worrying.

iv) increased competition between world powers with interests in African goods

This situation is more general and perhaps less imminent in causing disruption than the previous ones, however it exists and in the medium term could be the main threat to Angola. Some authors speak of a new “race for Africa”, such as those that took place at the end of the 19th century in connection with the Berlin Conference and after independence in the context of the Cold War. Angola was obviously a central part of both “races”. The first served to delimit its borders and complete the Portuguese colonial intervention, while in the second, it was one of the main battlefields of the US-Soviet Union confrontation. The prestigious English magazine The Economist summarized in 2019 the new, and third, rush to Africa, writing that there is a third wave in the works. The continent is important and is becoming increasingly important, mainly because of its growing share of the global population (by 2025 the UN predicts that there will be more Africans than Chinese). Governments and companies around the world are racing to strengthen diplomatic, strategic and commercial ties[10]. In fact, those who first discerned the continent’s opportunities were the Chinese who, since the beginning of the 21st century, have invested heavily in Africa, with Angola as their main partner, at least in terms of debt. The rest of the world has only just woken up to Africa. But in fact, we see Turkey in search of new markets and allies since it abandoned its alignment with the European Union, the Persian Gulf countries in the same line looking for diversification projects for their economies, and the European Union, led by Germany and France, with Italy and Spain also intensively recovering old ones and arranging new contacts, either for economic reasons or to try to stop the illegal immigration that affects their countries and can cause their governments to lose elections. Also Russia, in the mix of imperial recovery and business demand, returns to Africa. Only the United States of America has pursued a dormant policy towards the continent since Donald Trump, not yet understanding very well what they are doing in substance, apart from some noises against China and/or about Islamic terrorism. However, this lethargy can end.

At the moment, China is far ahead in the new race for Africa. As soon as Europeans and North Americans definitively understand – we are still in an ambivalent stage – that the Chinese presence in Africa is a threat to their geopolitical and economic interests, competition will intensify. It should be remembered that China currently absorbs around 60% of cobalt exports from Africa; 40% iron; and 25-30% of its exports of chromium, copper and manganese.

Consequently, Angola’s role as holder of key raw materials and a stabilizing force for the DRC, another immense repository of resources, will be decisive.

The current moment of the FAAs

In view of the above, it is easy to understand that these times is of great demand for the FAAs, who can once again be called upon to perform functions of national survival.

At this time, according to the most credible sources, the FAAs are comprised of approximately 107,000 active soldiers (100,000 Army; 1,000 Navy; 6,000 Air Force); there are still an estimated 10,000 in the Rapid Intervention Police (2021)[11].

Military expenditure is around 1.7% of GDP, therefore, below the 2% that the United States intends as a parameter for NATO countries (North Atlantic Treaty Organization of which Angola is obviously not a part, but whose parameter can serve as an ideal value of military expenditure). It is not an exaggerated expense, on the contrary, one might think.

Most Angolan military weapons and equipment are of Russian, Soviet or Warsaw Pact origin; since 2010, Russia remains the main supplier of military equipment to Angola[12].

Regarding its military capability in 2022, Angola is ranked 66th among 140 countries considered by Global Fire Power[13]. Its forces include 320 tanks, 1210 armored vehicles, and several artillery pieces. It should be noted, however, that tanks are essentially old, acquired in the 1990s from the Soviet Union. From our research, we could only find a reasonably modern (2016) tank-destroyer type vehicle, the PTL-02 Assaulter purchased from China. As for the naval forces, despite having an extended coastline and responsibilities in the Gulf of Guinea, the country only has 37 patrol boats and no medium or larger ships such as corvettes, frigates or cruisers.

As for the Air Force, there are 299 planes, of which 71 are fighters, 117 are helicopters and 15 are attack helicopters.

A recent analysis by Africa Monitor, which, it should be noted, has reflected a critical stance on the part of João Lourenço’s government, presents an alleged factuality, which, even if it is exaggerated or represents an overly pessimistic perspective, paints a less than encouraging picture of the readiness and material from the Angolan Air Force and Navy. Second, this publication, the navy fleet has its operational levels chronically “impaired by non-compliance with maintenance requirements and/or unpreparedness of its crews.[14]” In the Air Force, too, paralysis will be the keyword. According to the same newspaper, “the units of the transport helicopter fleet that were still operating (Russian-built Mil Mi-8) will be paralyzed, either aircraft from the 1980s-1990s, or units reconditioned later”, there is a “inability to ensure the maintenance of combat helicopters (Mil Mi-24)” and also in “a situation of near paralysis (…) Sukhoi (Su-22, Su-25, Su-30, Su-27).[15] ”Specialists with whom we have contacted directly and who prefer to remain anonymous assure that in recent years there has been no significant purchase of military material. So apparently there may be a need for reinforcement with these branches of the military.

In summary, there are three types of needs in the Armed Forces: obsolete and not modernized material, lack of equipment maintenance and unpreparedness of some cadres for specific activities. This obviously makes it important to intervene in the FAAs in order to increase their budget and increase their operational capacity in the face of the challenges described.

FAA modernization vectors

From all the above, two basic assumptions result that lead us to a simple conclusion. The assumptions are that threats to Angola’s sovereignty and integrity have increased in recent years after a period of some calm after 2002. Today the country faces a new “race for Africa” by the great and emerging powers, the threat of so-called Islamic terrorism spreads across the continent and piracy and criminality in the Gulf of Guinea along the coast is a reality. Added to this is the renewal of internal separatist tendencies and the strong reaction of the formerly dominant oligarchy to the fight against corruption. These facts correspond, at this moment, to some FAAs with some gaps in terms of material, readiness and training, which may, eventually, make an adequate reaction unfeasible in the event of an increase in any of the exposed threats.

It follows from the equation of these assumptions that an FAA modernization policy in terms of equipment, training and readiness/maintenance is essential. On the contrary, what many would claim, a reinforcement of the military budget and a modernizing reform of the Armed Forces is necessary.

The General State Budget for 2022 does not yet fully reflect these needs. If we look at it, from 2021 to 2022 there is a nominal increase in defense spending of 19.7%. It is enough to think that official inflation is around 27% in 2021[16] to realize that in real terms defense spending is decreasing, probably leading to cuts in the military sphere. In turn, defense spending is equivalent to 1.4% GDP[17].

We understand that the modernization of the FAA has a qualitative vector that must be defined by specialists in the area and involve the readiness of the Armed Forces, their implementation capacity and levels of sustainability, as well as the quality of the force they can exert. However, the vector that we focus on in this report is quantitative and we present the very simple suggestion already adopted by the countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which is to place defense expenditure at around 2% of GDP[18] . This is not a magic number and can be subject of much criticism, but it represents an objective and quantifiable parameter, and in fact gives political power a measurable instrument to achieve[19] , which can be an advance in good governance and transparency policies that intend to implement in Angola.


[1] Cfr. Pedro Pezarat Correia (1991), Descolonização de Angola: jóia da coroa do império português, Lisboa: Inquérito; Silva Cardoso (2000) Angola, anatomia de uma tragédia, Lisboa: Oficina do Livro; «Involvement in the Angolan Civil War, Zaire: A Country Study». United States Library of Congress;

 Donald S. Rothchild (1997). Managing Ethnic Conflict in Africa: Pressures and Incentives for Cooperation. Brookings Institution Press. pp. 115–116; Ndirangu Mwaura, (2005). Kenya Today: Breaking the Yoke of Colonialism in Africa. pp. 222–223; Chester A Crocke, Fen Hampson, Pamela Aall, Pamela (2005). Grasping The Nettle: Analyzing Cases Of Intractable Conflict.

[2] For a good definition of these themes in South Africa, but with conceptual application to Angola, see Judicial Commission of Inquiry into State Capture Report: Part 1  [Zondo Report] (2022).

[3] Simão Lelo, (2022), Ataques em Cabinda: Aumentam apelos para uma solução, Deutsche Welle, https://www.dw.com/pt-002/ataques-em-cabinda-aumentam-apelos-para-uma-solu%C3%A7%C3%A3o/a-60489955

[4] Copy of documents held by CEDESA and referred to in the press, for example, in https://e-global.pt/noticias/lusofonia/angola/chefe-do-estado-maior-congoles-protesta-contra-violacoes-do-territorio-por-angola/

[5] Morais, Rafael, (2021), Miséria & Magia, MakaAngola & UFOLO.

[6] Benjamin Dunda (2022), O que não dizem do Ruanda e de Kagame, https://camundanews.com/noticia/9593/dupla-nacionalidade-da-presidente-do-tribunal-constitucional-nao-viola-constituicao.html

[7] Laura McCreedy (2022), What Can MONUSCO Do to Better Address the Political Economy of Conflict in DRC? https://reliefweb.int/report/democratic-republic-congo/what-can-monusco-do-better-address-political-economy-conflict-drc

[8] Alex Vines e Jon Wallace, (2021), Terrorism in Africa, Chatham House, https://www.chathamhouse.org/2021/09/terrorism-africa

[9] Baudelaire Mieu (2021), Cameroon, Nigeria, Angola: Increased pirate activity along western coasts, The Africa Report, https://www.theafricareport.com/70478/cameroon-nigeria-angola-increased-pirate-activity-along-western-coasts/

[10] The Economist (2019), The new scramble for Africa, https://www.economist.com/leaders/2019/03/07/the-new-scramble-for-africa

[11] Angola. The World Factbook (2022) CIA, https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook/countries/angola/#military-and-security

[12] Same as above note

[13] Cfr. https://www.globalfirepower.com/country-military-strength-detail.php?country_id=angola 

[14] África Monitor, Nº 1334 |20.JAN.2022 |Ano XIX.

[15] Same as above note

[16] https://www.bna.ao/#/, taxa de inflação apresentada a 28-01-2022 é de 27,03%.

[17] Ministério das Finanças, (2021), RELATÓRIO DE FUNDAMENTAÇÃO

Orçamento Geral do Estado 2022, p.68.

[18] North Atlantic Treaty Organization, (2014) “Wales Summit Declaration,” press release,

September 5, www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/official_texts_112964.htm

[19] About the criticisms and advantages see Jan Techau (2015), THE POLITICS OF 2 PERCENT. NATO and the Security Vacuum in Europe. Carnegie Foundation.

The blockades and the reform of the Angolan justice system

  1. Introduction. The focus on justice

The initial vision of the role of justice in Angola was established in the initial constitutional law following independence in 1975, the Constitutional Law of November 11, 1975. This fundamental law considered the courts as organs of State, having the exclusive responsibility of exercising the jurisdictional function with a view to achieving democratic justice (Article 44), ensuring that in the exercise of their functions judges are independent (Article 45).

Interestingly, the basic principle referring to the judiciary is not very different from that currently enshrined in the 2010 Constitution of the Republic of Angola (CRA), despite the changes in the political system that have taken place in the meantime. The courts continue to be sovereign organs with the competence to administer justice on behalf of the people (articles 105 and 174) and “in the exercise of their jurisdictional function, the courts are independent and impartial, being subject only to the Constitution and the law.” (Article 175). There is structural continuity in the essential conceptualization of the judiciary since independence, although its forms and practices have varied over time[1].

In terms of relevance, perhaps the so-called “fight against corruption” announced in 2017 by President João Lourenço has brought a focus to justice that had never existed before, and that is why today it is essential to discuss the reform of justice.

From what can be seen from the summary reference made to the constitutional texts, over time there was no special doctrinal or even practical concern with judges and the application of justice. In fact, in 1977, it became famous for the saying attributed to the then President of the Republic Agostinho Neto, regarding the events of the 27th of May, in which a multitude of people were shot: “We are not going to waste time with judgments[2]”. Justice has always played a secondary role in the main concerns of Angolan governments and probably public opinion.

It was only after the initiation of lawsuits against the “famous” (Filomeno dos Santos, Augusto Tomás, Manuel Rabelais, and Isabel dos Santos) and some accusations and trials that justice became the stage of political struggle and focused attention. It is a very interesting fact that João Lourenço has chosen to hand over the fight against corruption to the ordinary justice and, therefore, challenging it to be effective. Later, the political struggle entered the courts even more, with the famous ruling by the Constitutional Court on UNITA which declared the election of Adalberto da Costa Júnior null and void[3].

These two converging facts, the handing over of the fight against corruption to the ordinary courts and the dismissal of Adalberto da Costa Júnior by the constitutional court, gave rise to two innovative phenomena in the Angolan judicial world.

First, a kind of very strong light was turned on, which began to illuminate the activities of the judiciary. What used to happen in the obscurity and unintelligibility of legal language became visible to the general public, and many defects in the system emerged with the naked eye: slowness, lack of technical specialization or the absence of material means.

Second, the courts became the object of strong attack from all those who did not agree with the decisions or were not afraid of being covered by them. Thus, a large part of the Angolan elite, which is afraid of going to court, began to fiercely criticize the courts, their decisions, their functioning, their independence. The objective of these attitudes is very simple: to delegitimize court decisions, devaluing their weight. Added to this are the bombastic statements of many of the defense lawyers, who do not hesitate to criticize decisions that do not benefit their constituents. At the same time, this dislike and anti-court “campaign” was accelerated by discontent with the constitutional court’s decision regarding UNITA.

Consequently, the courts became a field of political and legal struggle. It is false and wrong to assert that old jargon that “justice and politics don’t mix”. In fact, in Angola they are quite mixed, as in Portugal or the United States[4].

All these facts lead to questioning the role of justice in Angola, underlining, above all, its slowness and eventual politicization. In fact, this discussion turns out to be beneficial because from the questioning, discussion and the need for reform arise.

What should be guaranteed is that this justice, which politics has entered, remains impartial and independent, taking its decisions without influence, in a transparent and technically based way. It is with this desire that Angolan justice could be reformed.

2. The blockades: the legal paradigm, the material means and budget, corruption, the political issue.

In order to propose an adequate reform of the Angolan justice system, it will be necessary, as a matter of priority, to identify the obstacles and impediments to its proper functioning, as it will be in these “Gordian knots” and not in general and abstract declarations that the reformist process should focus.

             We have identified five blocks that impede the proper functioning of justice in Angola:

             1-The inadequate legal paradigm;

             2-Lack of material resources and efficient budget management;

             3- Corruption;

             4- The political issue.

              Let’s analyze, albeit briefly, each of these blocks.

2.1- The inadequate legal paradigm

The first blockage of the Angolan judicial system is the one that cannot be seen, as it involves the entire system and therefore there is no perception of its existence. This is the legal paradigm in which Angolan law moves. It is easy to understand that despite some proximity to Marxist formulas between 1975 and 1992, Angolan law remained essentially identical to Portuguese law, whether in the major legislative bodies, whether in doctrine or training.

In terms of legislation, it is a fact that for decades after independence, Portuguese laws continued to be Angolan laws. The Civil Code and the Code of Civil Procedure are still those received from Portugal in the 1960s, while the Penal Code of the Monarchy and the Code of Criminal Procedure at the beginning of the “Estado Novo” were only replaced in 2021, and by very similar texts, when not copies, of texts approved in Portugal after April 25, 1974.

 If, at the legislative level, Portuguese influence prevails, the same happens at the doctrinal level. Portuguese teachers are the most cited in Angolan jurisprudence. Suffice it to exemplify with the ruling of the Constitutional Court referring to UNITA (Rule No. 700/2021), whose doctrine cited is mainly Portuguese. Antunes Varela, Miguel Bezerra and Sampaio da Nora, Carvalho Fernandes, Abílio Neto, Alberto dos Reis, Ana Prata, all Portuguese, are mentioned to substantiate the deliberation of the judges. Only one Angolan, Raul Araújo, is mentioned. Naturally, this small doctrinal detail reveals how much Angolan law is still subsidiary to Portugal.

The same is true in terms of training. A good part of the Manuals used in teaching is still written by Portuguese authors or written in collaboration between Angolans and Portuguese, which is already an evolution. In constitutional law, the manual of Professor Bacelar Gouveia, Portuguese, or professors Jónatas Machado, Nogueira da Costa and Esteves Hilário, here a mixed collaboration between Portugal and Angola, as in the fundamental manual of administrative law by Carlos Feijó and Diogo Freitas do Amaral. At the same time, it is still regarded as the most prestigious graduation to obtain a master’s or doctorate in law at the universities of Lisbon or Coimbra.

There would be no special problem here if Portuguese law responded to the demands of modernity and its practice were simultaneously translated into something fair and effective. The problem is that Portuguese law, and by absorption of Angolan law, live in a bureaucratic and impractical paradigm. The norms and ways of acting in Portuguese law are out of date, the interpretation of the law has become exaggeratedly subjective, never knowing exactly what is coming, procedural norms imply long trials, and the tendency, in the criminal area, has been to reduce rights of the defendants, reaching a situation in which the processes do not end in good time for justice, nor do the defendants already have adequate defenses and guarantees. Portuguese criminal law has fallen into the worst of all worlds, slow processes, inquisitions and defendants without rights, depending on the common sense of the magistrates and little else. It’s an unfair law. In turn, procedural law was transformed, above all by the famous Coimbra professor Alberto dos Reis, into a too elaborate science to which few insiders have access, cluttering up the processes, and in which the goals of speed and justice ceased to exist.

The Portuguese legal system, in whose paradigm Angola moves, is slow, confused and not very adequate to present times, generally not being fair or fast, leaving everything too much in the hands of the judges. This is the main problem facing the Angolan judicial system and the first blockade to overcome.

2.2-Lack of material resources and efficient budget management

The contention that the Angolan justice system is depleted and has no means has been persistent. In the now distant year of 2017, on May 26, a request from the Angolan Judges Association had entered the Provincial Court of the District of Luanda, with a view to the procedure of a “separate judicial notification” to the Republic of Angola in the persons of its Justicea and Finance ministers. This notification reminded that several legally provided subsidies and other instruments necessary to carry out the work of magistrates were not made available by the political power. According to the description of the judges, the day would not come far when they would be living in houses without electricity and water, and when they would not be able to go to court, as they did not have a car or any other means of travel[5]. The judicial magistrates stated that, since 2013, they have been obliged to defray the cost of work material. Specifically: paper, ink cartridges, photocopies of processed sheets (with the letterhead of the various models used in the courts), travel by bailiffs for the purposes of citations and notifications, purchase of cell phones and a monthly recharge plan to assist with citations/notifications of the lawyers and users, fuel for the generators (in the rooms where they exist). Even at the time, they mentioned that the Judgment Room, located in Zango 3, in Viana, had no regular electricity during the office hours. This made it impossible for the magistrates to fully perform their functions, forcing them to draft the hearings by hand, namely interrogations, trials, procedural instructions, social inquiries… The generator was out of order. Furthermore, due to the distance, the employees who worked there were transported in one of the institution’s vehicles, whose fuel and maintenance was supported at their expense.

The situation has not significantly improved since then, despite the new focus on justice. In July 2021 there were public protests by judges and prosecutors; complained about the “lack of technical conditions and even low salaries (…) The president of the National Union of Magistrates of the Public Ministry (SNMMP), José Buengas, even stated that most of the courts and prosecutors” in Angola operate with money from the magistrates who “take out of their pockets to buy paper and ink. The day you stop doing this and wait for a ream of paper for the entire month to arrive to print all the documents, constituents, lawyers and the population will wait, with all the consequences that may result. [6]

 The State General Budget (SGB) for 2022 foresees an allocation of 1.21% of the revenues for the judicial bodies, equivalent to 113,777,899.457,00 Kwanzas. This represents an increase of more than 100% compared to the year 2020 when only 0.37% of the revenues were imputed to Organs judicial bodies, representing 49,414,027,773.00 Kwanzas. Considering that inflation accumulated in this period will have ranged between 45% and 48%, the truth is that we have a real increase in spending on justice above 50%.

Comparing, in turn, the current year (2021) and the forecast for 2022, we have an expected monetary expenditure of 133.8 billion kwanzas, against 55.9 billion kwanzas in 2021. This corresponds to a nominal increase of 103 .5%. And it corresponds to 1.2%, 0.6% and 0.2% of fiscal expenditure, fiscal expenditure and percentage of GDP, respectively[7].

Therefore, we have here a certain paradox that becomes an obstacle to the efficient functioning of justice. On the one hand, there is a persistent and constant complaint by magistrates, which can be visually proven in many courts, about the lack of material means, on the other, there is an effective effort by the State to increase the means available to the justice sector, having proceeded to a budget that provides for the doubling of spending on justice in two years (2020-2022), which in fact accelerates in the transition from 2021 to 2022.

2.3- Corruption

Corruption in the Angolan judiciary is a little-studied but much talked about phenomenon. A short closed inquiry carried out by this center in relation to corruption in the Angolan magistracy among judicial operators led to the conclusion that the majority believes that judges are influenced by monetary or political reasons (the latter we will see below), and in that sense many decisions are taken on the basis of these influences, disregarding the applicable law. There were even references by magistrates of several attempts to offer gifts or monetary amounts.

This survey does not have a sufficiently large sample to allow scientific conclusions to be drawn, it only gives us an impression of the existing opinions among lawyers, magistrates and court officials.

On another level, the investigative journalist Rafael Marques’ portal, MakaAngola, has told several stories of inexplicable court decisions, which possibly could only have been taken due to external stimuli.[8]

What is certain is that this is a situation that is talked about a lot, but about which there is little information, but it has created an image of legal uncertainty among legal operators and investors and that is why it is essential to overcome it.

2.4- The political issue

On the agenda is the issue of politicization of Angolan courts. There is no day that doesn’t show up a published opinion, generally linked to the opposition, indicating the lack of credibility, above all, of the higher courts, and in these, of the constitutional court, due to its politicization[9].

          The argument focuses on two fundamental axes.

The first axis is linked to the party affiliation of judges. The case of the present President of the Constitutional Court, Laurinda Cardoso, has been invoked by society, as until the moment of her appointment she was affiliated with the MPLA and in addition to being a member of the government of João Lourenço, she was also in higher organs of the party. The fact of having her membership suspended has not absolved her of criticisms of political commitment, especially given that one of her first acts was to sign the aforementioned judgment nº. 700 that removed Adalberto da Costa Júnior from the leadership of UNITA.

The second axis is of a more institutional nature, and is based on the argument that, directly or indirectly, the vast majority of judges end up depending on the nomination of the President of the Republic or of the majority party in the National Assembly, the MPLA. In fact, at the level of the Constitutional Court, the CRA determines that four judges out of eleven are appointed by the President of the Republic and another four by a 2/3 majority in the National Assembly, which the MPLA has always held. To that extent, at least 8 of the 11 judges would be aligned with political power. As for the Supreme Court, the President and Vice-President are appointed by the President of the Republic from among 3 candidates selected by 2/3 of the Counselor Judges in effective functions.

Given these various factors, the feeling of dependence of the judiciary on political power has grown in some public opinion, serving for various attacks that delegitimize judicial decisions.

3. The axes of judicial reform: legal paradigm shift, reinforcement of material resources and new public management, fight against corruption, transparency in politicization: the German model.

Legal paradigm shift: the “de-Berlinization” of Law

The first priority of a reform of the judicial system is the change of the legal paradigm, or in other words, the modification of the legal mentality and the standards used. We argue that the excessive copying of Portuguese models, norms, doctrines and teachers is harmful to Angola, as it does not provide the country’s legal culture with instruments and ways of thinking that are adequate to the concrete challenges in which it is involved.

So, we have to look for new inspirations elsewhere. A wide-ranging investigation should be carried out in relation to cases of stability and/or success in Africa itself, as is the case in Namibia and above all in Botswana. It seems to have a legal logic to verify the type of principles and norms, as well as the judicial organization adopted in Botswana and adapt what is understood for Angola. Another legal order that could be explored in greater depth, particularly with regard to the judicial and procedural organization, as well as criminal law, is Brazil, especially from the perspective of combating corruption and the various normative instruments that it has “imported” of US law.

As far as the fight against corruption is concerned, the Angolan legal system has to “Americanize” itself, investing in the right to prizes, the plea bargain, the sentence agreements, and the specific police forces.

In order to accelerate the paradigm shift at the level of judges, judges should have specialized advisors who study and prepare decisions in accordance with the new legal paradigm.

One suggestion would be to institute a law reform commission not only containing Angolan luminaires advised by Portuguese, as is currently the case, but admitting multinational contributions. Thus, the law reform commission should contain Angolan and Portuguese experts, but also from Botswana, Namibia, Brazil and, if possible, from the United States of America and Great Britain. Most important of all, there is a renewal of the plurality of contributions and meta-legal sources for Angolan law.

Reinforcement of material resources and new management model

Regarding the reinforcement of material resources and a new management model, there will be three items to consider[10].

The first is natural and concerns the strengthening of the State Budget for justice. It should be noted that the government seems to have been sensitive to this aspect, since, as mentioned above, in 2022 we have a projected monetary expenditure of 133.8 billion kwanzas, against 55.9 billion kwanzas in 2021, more than a doubling of the funds allocated to justice, which is to be applauded.

A second step has already been taken, and it is also to be applauded, except for one detail. At issue is Presidential Decree Nº. 69/21, of March 16, which approves the reimbursement scheme attributed to the administration of justice for financial and non-financial assets recovered by them. The underlying idea is positive. It is about delivering to the justice bodies some of the assets obtained in the fight against corruption, creating a stimulus for effective and efficient action in the recovery of assets, in addition to providing justice with means that it would not otherwise have. This disposition is right. The justice bodies must benefit from the assets they seize, only the judges who decide the seizures and losses in favor of the State should have been left out, as it can be argued that their impartiality would be obstructed when deciding that someone loses a certain asset, knowing that eventually a certain magistrate would benefit directly or indirectly from it. Expressly safeguarding this aspect, this idea is to be fostered, and follows on from what we have upheld in previous reports in the sense that it is necessary to place the funds obtained in the fight against corruption at the direct service of the public interest.

Lastly, in addition to the reinforcement of funds, whether through the General State Budget or through assets recovered in corruption processes, a new model for the management of legal funds should be considered that guarantees rationality and efficiency in the allocation of resources.

The handover of management to judges is not supported. But the creation of an autonomous institute with transparent management of the administration of justice, which would manage budget revenues, revenues from the fight against corruption and could have its own revenues linked to the activities of justice. This institute would have professional managers and would be audited by an international auditing firm. Its operation would be decentralized with a manager attached to each district court and higher court.

Thus, in addition to the increase in funds, there would be autonomy in the management of funds from the courts, which would be administered by an institute with professional managers constituted for the purpose and which would work in a decentralized manner in each court.

Fighting Corruption in the Judicial System: an own Police Dependent on the National Assembly

This is a difficult topic. As seen above, it is a topic that many talk about, but there is no concrete evidence. Furthermore, it is complicated to have a system to combat corruption within the judiciary that does not in any way affect the independence of judges or is seen as an intrusion on the judiciary. However, believing in self-regulation in terms of combating corruption in the judiciary does not seem to remedy the problem either, as there will be a tendency towards corporate solutions to cover up.

We are prone to a radical but provisional solution. This solution would be the creation of an Anti-Corruption Police in the Magistracy (PACOM) dependent on the National Assembly; the legislative power is directly dependent on the sovereign popular will and therefore has the legitimacy to syndicate judges. PACOM would be created for seven years, with magistrates’ investigative powers limited to situations of corruption (it would have a very restricted mandate to avoid accusations of interference) and would be controlled by the National Assembly as well as civil society. Control by civil society would be through an American Grand Jury-style system. Any investigation that PACOM decided to carry out against a judicial magistrate would only proceed after being validated by a group of 12 members of civil society who would function as a filter and monitor of the anti-corruption Police’s intentions in relation to the magistrates.

Therefore, the investigation of the corruption of a certain judge would not only be a police decision, but also a decision of society. This system would provisionally operate for seven years, after which self-control systems would be implemented within the magistracy itself, hoping that at the end of that time a new pedagogy and practice would have been adopted.

Transparency in politicization: the German model

The politicization of Angolan justice, especially the higher courts, is the accusation that is most frequently heard today. However, this issue is not typical of Angola, there are several countries, especially when court decisions have political consequences or there is a certain judicialization of politics in which the politicization of courts is a recurrent theme. This is the case in the United States, where President Trump conducted an intense campaign to create a right-wing majority in the Supreme Court and where this court is under intense scrutiny to see whether or not it enters a political drift with such a right-wing majority, noting a strong commitment by its president, John Roberts, to seek balanced solutions in decisions and to avoid these accusations of politicization[11]. Politicization was also one of the most used epithets by former president Lula in Brazil to confront the court decisions that were unfavorable to him regarding the Lava-Jato operation.

Not being an Angolan monopoly, the reality is that the issue of political influence in court decisions has often been brought up. The solution generally suggested to solve this supposed political influence has been the modification of the ways in which the judges of the superior courts are appointed by the political power, be it the executive or the legislature. It is stated that the fact of being the President of the Republic or the qualified majority of two-thirds of the deputies of the National Assembly always amounts to the same: the MPLA designating the heads of the higher courts, and in the case of the constitutional court, its large majority .

As an alternative, it is proposed that there be a self-selection system for the choice of judges, or a public competition/independent commission-style model, and that institutional mechanisms are created to guarantee the independence of judges, which make them autonomous and insulate them from political influence. Basically, these solutions turn out to be corporate: judges choosing judges and judges controlling judges. And to that extent, they have a legitimacy problem. There is no good reason why the judges should choose their peers or that they form a tight circle in which no one has a say.

 The magistracy, like any sovereign body, must have a political justification that legitimizes its choice. In the system idealized by Plato of the philosopher king[12], one could think of a kind of high qualification exams in which those who proved to be the wisest would become judges. We would have the platonic legitimacy of the philosopher-king, which in a way, was also adopted by the Confucian formulas of the mandarinate in China, from the Sui dynasty, and only based on merit after the Song[13]. However, one lives neither in the model idealized by Plato, nor in imperial China, but in democratic states of law. And the reality is that the prevalence of the democratic principle imposes that judges ultimately establish their legitimacy in the democratic process. And to that extent, political power should always intervene in the choice of judges. To remove political power from the judicial choice is to remove democracy from it, hence legitimacy. Political power must be present in the process of choosing magistrates, as that is where its popular and democratic legitimacy derives.

On the other hand, it does not seem that the formula for choosing judges or the control and management bodies are truly determinants of their independence. It turns out to be better to have transparency, to know what each judge thinks and defends and to assess their work by analyzing the grounds of the decisions they take, than to create countless mechanisms that only serve to confuse. It is better to have a President of the Republic or a Parliament appointing a judge, which mediately confers democratic legitimacy to the judge and to know which party the judge belongs to, than to create fictions of independence that only make appointments and decisions opaque.

What is essentially of interest to society is to assess the judge’s independence in their judicial decisions. Therefore, these must be published, known and subject to discussion; apart from that, the judge is a woman or man like any other and this must be assumed and said.

In this sense, the system in force in the Federal Republic of Germany turns out to be the most honest. In this country, which has one of the most reputable magistrates in the world,” magistrates are allowed to be affiliated with political parties as well as publicly speak out on political issues. Judges with aspirations to be appointed to the higher courts may even consider party affiliation to some advantage, particularly if it is in one of the two largest parties (SPD and CDU). In this legal framework there is also no impediment for a judge to hold a position in a political party”[14]. For example, section 36 of the Deutsches Richtergesetz (German Judges Act) allows a judge to stand as a candidate for parliament, granting him the vacation necessary to prepare his election in the last two months before the election, without compensation.

The German system, as bizarre as it may sound, has two advantages. The first one already mentioned is that of transparency. The second is more technical and requires that the law be said in a universally accepted and understandable way, subject to greater discussion and critical publicity. What is intended is that judges are independent technicians in their decisions, so there will be decision models and legal logic that everyone will follow, adopting the highest criteria of the science of law. What matters here is that the judge decides according to the law and in a methodologically correct way, hence the importance of the rules of methodology and interpretation in German doctrine. The aim is to apply a conduct of syndicable reasoning that guarantees autonomy. The training and technical preparation of judges are the guarantee of their independence[15].

It seems to us that this method would be more honest for Angola, a legal requirement and disregard for political aspects that will hardly exist.

Conclusions

Given the above, a real reform of Angolan justice will involve changing the paradigm of legal culture, the “de-Berlinization of law”, looking for other new influences besides the Portuguese ones, such as successful neighboring African countries such as Botswana, in addition to Brazil and the United States.

To this will be added the budget reinforcement and the creation of an autonomous and decentralized institute for the financial administration of justice.

It also advocates its own police based on the National Assembly and with the participation of society to fight corruption

And finally, the assumption of the German model of transparency and technical requirement to guarantee the non-politicization of court decisions, admitting that judges may be affiliated with political parties.


[1] On the evolution of Angolan constitutional texts, see Adérito Correia and Bornito de Sousa, (1996), Angola. Constitutional History. Almedina.

[2] There are numerous references to this statement by Agostinho Neto, see for example Edgar Valles, (2020), 27 May: reconciliation and forgiveness in Angola? PÚBLICO, https://www.publico.pt/2020/05/27/opiniao/noticia/27-maio-reconciliacao-perdao-angola-1918297

[3] Decisoion No. 700/2021 of the Constitutional Court, https://jurisprudencia.tribunalconstitucional.ao/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/ACORDAO-No-700.pdf

[4] J.A.G. Griffith,(2010), The politics of the judiciary, Fontana Press; Rui Verde, (2015) Juízes: O Novo Poder

Ensaio sobre a acção e reforma do poder judicial em Portugal. RCP Edições

[5] MakaAngola (2017), A reivindicação dos juízes. https://www.makaangola.org/2017/06/a-reivindicacao-dos-juizes/

[6] Deutsche Welle, Borralho Ndomba (2021), Falta de condições para juízes põe em causa combate à corrupção em Angola, https://p.dw.com/p/3yYSJ

[7] Ministério das Finanças de Angola, https://www.minfin.gov.ao/PortalMinfin/?fbclid=IwAR1C597oUjdNas8WFrR9R4u0B_1gb_NH-82fQEVyUGl52HUBcazWITEYo4I#!/materias-de-realce/orcamento-geral-do-estado/oge2022

[8] Cfr. for exemple, Rui Verde, (2019) Ignorância ou corrupção na justiça, MakaAngola, https://www.makaangola.org/2019/01/ignorancia-ou-corrupcao-na-justica/ or Moiani Matondo, (2020),A droga de justiça, MakaAngola, https://www.makaangola.org/2020/07/a-droga-da-justica/

[9] Example: Sousa Jamba, (2021) Tribunal Constitucional. MakaAngola (2020), https://www.makaangola.org/2020/07/a-droga-da-justica/ or Kajim Ban-Gala (2021) Laurinda Cardoso: antinomia, filiação partidária e incompatibilidade, https://www.correioangolense.co.ao/2021/12/27/laurinda-cardoso-antinomia-filiacao-partidaria-e-incompatibilidade/

[10] See about the topic Nuno Coelho (2015), Gestão dos Tribunais e Gestão Processual, CEJ, http://www.cej.mj.pt/cej/recursos/ebooks/outros/Gestao_Tribunais_Gestao_Processual.pdf and E B McConnell (1991), Court Management: The Judge’s Role and Responsibility, Justice System Journal Volume: 15 Issue: 2.

[11] See analysis SCOTUSBlog. https://www.scotusblog.com/2021/12/the-lives-they-lived-and-the-court-they-shaped-remembering-those-we-lost-in-2021/ 

[12] Eric Brown, (2017) “Plato’s Ethics and Politics in The Republic”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Edward N. Zalta (ed.), https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2017/entries/plato-ethics-politics/

[13] Mark Cartwright (2019), The Civil Service Examinations of Imperial China, https://www.worldhistory.org/article/1335/the-civil-service-examinations-of-imperial-china/

[14] Vânia Gonçalves Álvares (2015), O governo da justiça: O Conselho Superior da Magistratura. Universidade Nova. P.33.

[15] On the training and preparation of judges in Germany see: Johannes Riedel, (2013). Training and Recruitment of Judges in Germany. International Journal for Court Administration, 5(2), pp.42–54. DOI: http://doi.org/10.18352/ijca.12

CEDESA Note nº2

The Global Gateway initiative of the European Union and Angola: seize the opportunity now

The European Union (EU) has recently unveiled its Global Gateway project, seen as a European alternative to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The Global Gateway is a €300 billion infrastructure spending plan that aims to boost EU supply chains and trade around the world.

The difference that the EU intends to emphasize compared to the Chinese model of BRI, is that on the European side it will not grant loans, but promote public and private investments, presenting what it considers to be transparent and more favorable financing, especially for developing countries.

The Global Gateway aims to be a more modern version of BRI, focusing on investments in future-oriented and environmentally responsible projects in the digital, healthcare, education, scientific research, renewable energy and other sectors.

It is clear that Africa, and in this, among others, Angola is the logical target of this EU initiative, as it is also where a good part of the Chinese influence through the BRI can be verified. The European Commission does not mention the African market as a priority goal, but it is logical that it should be, as it was the arrival of Chinese financing that most harmed European companies, which often lost market share. And Angola served as a model for the intervention of China in Africa, through the establishment of the so-called “Angolan model”.

The Angolan authorities will have every interest in contacting those responsible for this European Union program to be the first to develop a solid partnership that promotes investments in three fundamental areas for Angola: renewable energies, education and health.

Eventually, the great qualitative leap that one wants to take in Angolan education could be the first bet of this European project. The EU could be the major funder of the qualification of universities and scientific research in Angola, since it is a soft power supporter, and it would be an area in which it has an extremely favorable competitive advantage, easy to the alleged Chinese competition.

On the other hand, an immediate approach by Angola to implement the program will allow the assessment of the seriousness and commitment of the European Union in this program, verifying that it is not a mere advertisement for propaganda purposes, as many claim.

In conclusion, immediate Angolan action is strongly recommended to benefit from the Global Gateway in the area of ​​education.

CEDESA Note nº 1

Invitation to investors: The metals needed for the energy transition exist in Angola

The transition to clean energy needed to avert the worst effects of climate change could trigger an unprecedented demand for metals in the coming decades, requiring up to 3 billion tonnes.

A typical electric vehicle battery, for example, needs about 8 kilograms of lithium, 35 kilograms of nickel, 20 kilograms of manganese and 14 kilograms of cobalt, while charging stations require substantial amounts of copper. For green energy, solar panels use large amounts of copper, silicon, silver and zinc, while wind turbines require iron ore, copper and aluminum[1].

Metal prices have already seen large increases as economies reopen, highlighting a critical need to look into what could constrain production and delay supply responses.

Analyzes of the current production of metals worldwide seem to indicate a gap of 30 to 40% of supply versus demand, meaning that it will be necessary to increase world production.

It is here that Angola may have a new economic opportunity by relaunching the exploration, which will essentially be dormant, for metals. If we look at it, the country has an immensity of metals. The first one is iron, which in the past was heavily exported. Significantly, from the second half of the 1950s to 1975, iron ore was extracted in the provinces of Malanje, Bié, Huambo and Huíla, and several million tons were produced. The civil war naturally disrupted this activity and then the crash in world prices. But everything indicates that currently, the context is different and could be used by the Angolan authorities to promote more investments in ferrous mining.

In relation to the other key metals for the energy transition, it should be noted that Angola has potential for manganese, copper, gold, lead, zinc, tungsten, tin, among others.

Cobalt also appears to be abundant in Angola. A recent study concluded that the copper and cobalt region of Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo extends into Angolan territory by at least 116,000 square kilometres. Apparently, the magnetic anomalies detected by the study favourable signs of prospecting metallic and non-metallic minerals such as iron, diamonds, copper, manganese, titanium, zinc, lead, bauxite and even radioactive minerals and phosphates[2].

This results in an obvious conclusion. Angola is very well placed to take advantage of the exploration of metals necessary for the energy transition. Now investments have to come.


[1] Nico Valckx, Martin Stuermer, Dulani Seneviratne and Ananthakrishnan Prasad, Metals Demand From Energy Transition May Top Current Global Supply, FMI, 2021, https://blogs.imf.org/2021/12/08/metals-demand-from-energy-transition-may-top-current-global-supply/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

[2] Cfr. http://www.sigame-cplp.com/noticias/angola-tem-grandes-depositos-de-cobre-e-cobalto.html

Proposal for a transversal youth policy in Angola

Many countries don’t need a robust youth policy, either because the youth population is not significant, with most socio-economic problems being in the elderly, or because they have healthy economies and societies that easily encourage and incorporate young people.

This is not the case in Angola. The numbers on Angolan youth demand special attention from the political power to this age group. With reference to July 2021, it is estimated that 47.83% of the Angolan population is between 0-14 years old and 18.64% between 15-24 years old; therefore, 66.47% of the population is up to 24 years old, or in other words, about 2/3 of the Angolan population is young. It is an immense and impressive mass of babies, teenagers and young adults that constitute the immensity of the Angolan people.[1]

Fig. 1- Angola population pyramid (2021)

This impressive demographic is joined by unemployment figures. According to the most recent data available, unemployment affects 59.2% of the young population (here considered to be aged 15-24) in the third quarter of 2021, with a year-on-year increase in this situation of 2.8%. It is clear that this number does not reflect those who were somehow absorbed by the informal economy, however, its magnitude will always be remarkable[2].

In fact, from a sociopolitical point of view, it has been verified that the demonstrations against the government policy in Angola, and the activism in social networks, is carried out, in large part, by young people.

Youth is, therefore, a huge force in the Angolan economy and societies, which is on the boil.

These various factors: extremely relevant number of young people in the total population, youth unemployment and socio-political discontent that force the consideration of a transversal and encompassing youth policy for Angola.

***

Youth policy is defined as the government’s commitment and practice to guarantee good living conditions and opportunities for a country’s young population[3]. Youth policy is a strategy implemented by public authorities to provide young people with opportunities and experiences that support their successful integration into society and allow them to be active and responsible members of society and agents of change[4].

In these terms, a youth policy seeks to create opportunities for young people, promoting their participation, inclusion, autonomy, solidarity, in addition to well-being, learning, leisure, employment.

The government’s role will be to launch policies with these goals in relation to youth and to work together with the various actors involved in the information, development and implementation of youth policies, such as: youth councils, youth NGOs, interest groups, groups of young people, young workers, researchers, schools, teachers, employers, medical personnel, social workers, religious groups, media[5].

The model we developed attributes three axes to youth policies:

a) The axis of employment;

b) The axis of sport and leisure;

c) The axis of culture and training.

We understand that a youth policy must translate into measures in these three axes in order to provide young people with an integral and complete personal development.

In Angola there is a Ministry of Youth and Sports (Minjud) whose main function is to assist the President of the Republic in the elaboration and execution of the State’s youth policy (Article 2 of the Organic Statute of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Presidential Decree no. 228/20, of September 7th).

However, in addition to advertisements or programs with a rhetorical value, there is no vision of a transversal and active youth policy such as is needed in Angola. And such a policy is essential. The relevant news that is noted about the activity of Minjud focus essentially on football and football stadiums.

It is therefore urgent to go further and launch a youth policy that will necessarily cover several ministries and will have to be coherent and consistent. As we mentioned, this youth policy would unfold along three axes, paying attention to employment, sports and culture.

***

It is proposed to adopt a youth policy for Angola described in the following terms.

The youth policy would be transversal to several ministries, not dependent only on one ministry, and therefore necessarily coordinated directly by the President of the Republic. As mentioned, it would have three axes that would complement each other.

• In the first axis, referring to employment, a program to guarantee full employment would be launched for all those aged between 22 and 23 years old and having completed a degree. The State would assume the responsibility to employ them in its structure or to subsidize for a period of time not less than 2 years a workplace in the private sector[6]. Therefore, the State would either ensure employment in its several administrations, institutes or public companies, or it would subsidize private companies for the creation and hiring of jobs for young people. All young graduates aged 22-23, in addition to receiving training and assistance to find work, would have guaranteed paid work, with the State having to pay 100% of their salary in a private company or employ participants in the public sector or support creation of a microenterprise. All participants would receive at least a minimum wage fixed in accordance with the Presidential Decree that regulates the subject adequate to a life with dignity[7]. In a second phase, the guarantee of employment for all young people aged 22-23, regardless of their qualification, would also be studied, although those without formal qualifications should attend training to acquire some ability in art or craft.

• In the second axis referring to sports, an integrated sports project in school and in the community would be promoted. In this context, a proposal should not be developed to do everything everywhere, or as referred to in connection with a previous plan “to involve sport modalities of handball, athletics, basketball, football, volleyball, gymnastics and chess” in all schools[8].

The plan would aim at the rational use of scarce resources and with the search for specialization. Thus, each school would be required to dedicate itself to only one sport and to develop it freely within its midst. They would not aim for national championships, nor for large structures, but they would bet on focus and specialization. Each school with its sport. Only one, but open to all young people. At the same time and in competition with schools, each municipality would also promote a sport open to all young people. We would thus have a sport project for everyone with a specialization from each institution and with no other initial ambition other than to put young people in sport.

• Finally, the third axis dedicated to culture would also have to be based on specialization. Here, efforts would be made to concentrate resources on promoting reading by young people. We would start by adopting a project launched by the Gulbenkian Foundation in Portugal in the middle of the last century and already sporadically adopted in Angola in provincial initiatives, such as the “Giro do Saber” promoted by the Provincial Library of Malanje[9].

Reading for youth based on traveling libraries and street readings would be a project aimed at encouraging young people’s taste and reading habits. The traveling libraries will consist of vans that would travel across the country with volunteers and books offered and would stop at each location allowing the reading of these books and explaining some of them. At the same time, these volunteers would perform street readings of books appealing to youth in a mixed spectacle of reading and music, thus attracting target audiences.

One would look for this reading project to be financed by the penal system. That is, it would give rise to a change in the law that would allow all prison sentences of up to two years for economic and financial crimes to be exchanged for donations of vans, books and volunteer support.

Fig. 2- Description of a transversal youth policy

With these measures in the field of employment, sport sand culture, a youth policy that is so necessary for Angola would be launched.

There is nothing like taking advantage of the present party Congresses to promote and discuss these proposals.


[1] Cfr. https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook/countries/angola/#people-and-society

[2] https://mercado.co.ao/economia/desemprego-afecta-592-dos-jovens-em-angola-YX1077607

[3] Finn Denstad, Youth Policy Manual, 2009

[4] Conselho da Europa CM / Rec (2015) 3

[5] https://www.coe.int/en/web/youth/about-youth-policy

[6] We have developed proposals for these full-employment programs in other CEDESA reports, see for example https://www.cedesa.pt/2020/11/16/proposta-de-um-esquema-piloto-de-garantia-de-emprego-em-angola/

[7] See the study referred to in the previous note

[8] https://www.angop.ao/noticias/desporto/polidesportivo-desporto-escolar-carece-de-continuidade/

[9] https://www.angop.ao/noticias/lazer-cultura/biblioteca-itinerante-chega-ao-municipio-de-cacuso/

Structural combat against drought in southern Angola: the case of Cunene

The drought in Cunene

The drought in southern Angola is a phenomenon that plagues the region over and over again, causing hunger among broad strata of the population.

As of the end of 2020, the region faced the worst drought in 40 years. According to the spokesman for the World Food Program (WFP) Tomson Phiri, “the country has been experiencing a period of drought since last December, with rainfall below average”[1].

This scenario, which has been repeated, and will likely worsen due to global warming, as the World Bank warns, writing that, “natural hazards in the form of floods, erosion, droughts and epidemics (…) prevent development and are expected to worsen as the climate changes”[2], implies a structuring intervention by public authorities.

The objective of this study is to investigate the structural measures that the Angolan government is developing to present sustainable solutions to the drought problem. We focus on the province of Cunene located in the southern interior of Angola, which has been one of the most affected by drought.

In fact, since Angola became independent, it is only recently that the problem of drought has been taken more seriously by the authorities. Before these projects, the situation was somehow alleviated with water holes, however the suffering of the population remained or gradually worsened. The provincial governor of Cunene, Gerdina Didalelwa, on one occasion confessed that “these drillings have been done empirically and are only spending money”[3]. In other words, drillings can even be carried out, but only when there is professionalism behind it; only after an in-depth study was carried out by companies that have technical skills and a thorough knowledge of the waters.

Structuring projects

In mid-2021, the Angolan government announced the planning and execution of several projects in the province of Cunene, which aim to structurally combat the chronic drought that ravages the south of the country.

Project 1

The first of the projects we are going to mention is the construction of the water transfer system for the Cunene River, starting from the Cafu region.

This project is divided into two batches, the first of which aims to build a pumping system in the Cunene River, pressurized pipeline, open channel from the locality of Cafu to Cuamato and 10 chimpacas[4] (water reservoirs).

With regard to the second batch, the purpose is to build two water channels, from Cuamato, one (west conductor) going to Ndombondola, with 55 kilometers and the other (east conductor) to the municipality of Namacunde with 53 kilometers[5]

The construction work are being carried out by the company Sinohydro Angola, with an estimated budget of more than 44 billion kwanzas, if we include the two batches.

The start of the execution of this project has already taken place and counts on an environmental pact study that includes a protocol of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), as well as the sharing of information with Namibia.

The Cafu project is expected to be completed in the first quarter of next year, and it will benefit approximately 200,000 inhabitants and 250,000 head of cattle.

Project 2

The second project that deserves mention is the construction of the Calucuve dam, located in the municipality of Cuvelai. This earthen dam is 19 meters high and has a storage volume of 100 million m3 of water.

The project’s budget is around 177 million dollars, with the company Omatapalo-Mota-Engil as the responsible contractor, and the construction period is 20 months.

The main purpose of the construction of this work is to supply water to the populations, and it is planned to satisfy the needs of more than 80,000 people, as well as meet the needs of approximately 182,000 heads of cattle.

On the other slopes, it will supply water that will allow irrigation throughout the year in an area estimated at 2,600 ha.;

It will ensure the sustainability of economic and social activities in the project area. It will reduce the problem of seasonal water scarcity in the northwestern part of the Cuvelai basin. And finally, to mitigate or prevent damage caused by floods to assets and activities in the local economy in cities located downstream of the dam (Cuvelai Delta area – Evale).

The lead time is 20 months.

Project 3

As for the third project, the construction of the Ndué dam, it is an undertaking also led by Synohidro Angola, with a construction period of 30 months, and an estimated budget of around 192 million dollars.

It will be a 26 m high earthen dam with a storage volume of 145 million m3 of water, on the Caúndo River upstream of the Ndué.

The main purposes of this project aim to satisfy the domestic needs of approximately 55,000 people, as well as to guarantee the quality of water supply to the population. In addition, it aims to satisfy the needs of approximately 60,000 heads of cattle.

Other equally essential goals are also highlighted, such as:

Provide water to allow year-round irrigation of an estimated 9,200 ha area and ensure the sustainability of economic and social activities in the project area and reduce the problem of water scarcity in the central area of ​​the Cuvelai basin.

Finally, the dam could become an important source of water supply for the province of Cunene.

The execution period is 30 months.

***

A final note also for the recovery of existing dikes and weirs in the municipality of Curoca, which is 334 kilometers from the city of Ondjiva[6].

Table 1- General quantifiable benefits of construction work against drought in Cunene

ProjectsPopulationCattleValue
Project 1200.000250.00044 M USD
Project 280.000182.000177 M USD
Project 355.00060.000192 M USD
TOTAL335.000492.000413 M USD

It appears that in addition to providing irrigation and providing increased possibilities for water distribution, these works will directly benefit 335,000 people and 492,000 heads of cattle, costing around 400 million dollars.

Portuguese participation

The Portuguese participation in these important construction work is relevant. Mota-Engil has a relevant stake (50%) in the consortium that builds the Calucuve dam (Project 1), having won the respective tender. COBA, also based in Portugal, is the supervisor of the Ndúe dam (Project 3). There is thus a significant intervention of Portuguese engineering in these structural projects.

Over the past two years, Mota-Engil has undergone a vigorous restructuring that has been reflected not only in Portugal, but also in Mozambique and Angola. It should be remembered that in mid-2020, the company established a partnership with the Chinese CCCC, which defines its participation of more than 30% in the construction company controlled by the António Mota family[7].

Shortly thereafter, Mota-Engil obtained a contract in partnership for road rehabilitation and construction in the Lundas with its subsidiary, with a value of around 280 million euros. On that occasion, the company underlined that it would reinforce its order book in the market, seeking to maximize the use of the assets that the group has in the country.


[1] https://www.rfi.fr/br/%C3%A1frica/20210326-onu-alerta-sobre-fome-causada-pela-pior-seca-em-angola-em-40-anos

[2] https://climateknowledgeportal.worldbank.org/country/angola

[3] https://www.jornaldeangola.ao/ao/noticias/consequencias-da-seca-no-cunene-com-dias-contados/

[4] https://www.angop.ao/noticias/entrevistas/construcao-da-barragem-do-cafu-a-bom-ritmo-manuel-quintino/

[5] Idem

[6] https://www.angop.ao/noticias/sociedade/barragens-de-caluve-e-ndue-vao-beneficiar-136-mil-pessoas/

[7] https://www.jornaldenegocios.pt/empresas/construcao/detalhe/mota-engil-ganha-contrato-de-280-milhoes-em-angola

Angola’s new strategic partners and Portugal’s position

Angola’s new strategic partners: Spain and Turkey

Two recent intense diplomatic exchanges at the highest level point to the emergence of new strategic partnerships for Angola. In a previous report, we warned of realignments in Angola’s foreign policy[1]. Now, what happens is that this realignment continues, and at an intense pace. The President of the Republic João Lourenço is clearly giving a new dynamic to Angola’s foreign affairs, which is not seen to be affected by some internal unrest on the way to the 2022 electoral process.

The most recent examples of the President’s diplomatic activity are Spain and Turkey. The important thing in relations with these countries, is not whether or not there is a visit at the highest level, it is about having an intensity of visits by both parties and clear objectives designed. It can be said that from a mutual perspective, Spain and Turkey are becoming Angola’s strategic partners.

Let’s start with Spain. Last April, the prime minister of Spain, Pedro Sanchez, who barely left the country during the Covid-19 pandemic, visited Angola. The visit was seen as marking a new era in bilateral cooperation between the two countries and led to the signing of four memoranda on Agriculture and Fisheries, Transport, Industry and Trade. The agreement regarding the development of agribusiness was particularly relevant, in order to build an industry that transforms raw material into finished product in the future, relying on the experience of Spanish businessmen. As is well known, agriculture is one of the Angolan government’s areas of investment in relaunching and diversifying the economy[2]. Therefore, this agreement is dedicated to a fundamental vector of Angolan economic policy.

More recently, at the end of September 2021, the President of the Republic of Angola visited Spain where he was received by the King and the Prime Minister. On that visit, João Lourenço clearly stated that he was in Spain in search of a “strategic partnership” that went beyond the merely economic and business sphere[3]. In turn, the Spanish authorities consider Angola as a “priority country”[4].

Now it will be seen how these broad intentions will materialize in practice, but what is certain is that both countries are clearly betting on an increase in both economic and political relations and their declarations and goals seem to have a direction and meaning.

The same kind of intensified relationship is being established with Turkey. Last July, João Lourenço visited Turkey, where he was extremely well received. From then on, it was agreed that Turkish Airlines would fly twice a week from Turkey to Luanda. It was also announced that Turkey has opened a credit line on its Exxim Bank to boost bilateral economic relationship. This means that the Turkish financial system will finance Turkish businessmen to invest in Angola. As early as October 2021, Turkish President Erdogan visited Angola. This visit was surrounded by all the pomp and circumstance and expressed an excellent relationship between the two countries. Like Spain, Turkey has an aggressive strategy for Africa, where it wants to gain space for its economy and political influence. The agreements signed by Erdogan and João Lourenço were seven, namely, an agreement on mutual assistance in customs matters; a cooperation agreement in the field of agriculture; an agreement for cooperation in the field of industry; a joint declaration for the establishment of the joint economic and trade commission; a memorandum of understanding in the field of tourism and a cooperation protocol between the National Radio of Angola and the Radio and Television Corporation of Turkey[5].

The approach with Turkey, like that of Spain, has as an immediate and structuring objective “that [the Turks] bring above all know-how that allows us to quickly and efficiently diversify and increase our internal production of goods and services”, using the words of João Lourenço[6].

In these two challenges by João Lourenço there is an obvious determination, or rather two.

First, seek new sources of investment that support the fundamental diversification of the Angolan economy. This is extremely important, and the Turkish and Spanish economies are properly diverse to be able to correspond to the model intended by Angola.

The second aspect refers to the need Lourenço feels to detach Angola from an excessive relationship with China and Russia, without harassing them, but looking for new partners. The geopolitical weight of the Cold War and the subsequent implementation of the Chinese model in Africa, with which Angola is identified, weigh heavily in the evaluations of foreign ministries and investors. Thus, Angola is looking for new openings and a “detachment” from that previous brand, not least because Russia does not have the financial muscle to make large investments in Angola, and China is in the middle of an economic turmoil. As we already know, “the Chinese economy grew 4.9% in the third quarter of this year, the lowest rate in a year, reflecting not only the problems it is facing with the indebtedness of the real estate sector, but also the effects of the energy crisis.”[7] This means that China needs a lot of Angolan oil, but it will not have financial resources for large investments in Angola.

In fact, the relations between China and Angola and the need for a reassessment of the same, especially in terms of oil supply and the opacity of the arrangements, will have to be a theme for an autonomous report that we will produce in the near future.

Portugal’s position. The ongoing deberlinization

Having established that the importance of the intensification of Angola’s relations with Spain and Turkey is established, an obvious question arises: and Portugal?

Portugal has tried to be Angola’s partner par excellence, and for this it has accommodated itself, in the past, to the several impulses of Angolan governance.

Currently, there are good political relations between Angola and Portugal. Just recently, João Lourenço said: “I was fortunate that during my first term in office we were able to maintain a very high level of friendship and cooperation between our two countries.” He also added that “personal relationships also help. Therefore, over the years, we have been able to build that same relationship with President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and Prime Minister António Costa”.[8] There is no doubt that favorable relations are established between Angola and Portugal. It also helps that Portugal has three ties that are felt every day; historical ties, cultural ties, especially linguistic ties, and emotional ties.

However, despite the satisfaction expressed by the Angolan President regarding the good relations between the two countries, there are structural issues that cast shadows on the relationship and make Portugal’s position less relevant to Angola than in the past, generating some caution on the part of Angola in relation to excessive involvement with Portugal. Actually, there is a decline in the Portuguese position in Angola, vis-à-vis Spain or Turkey, or Germany, France or the United Kingdom. There is an ongoing de-Berlinization of Angola’s foreign policy. João Lourenço sees Portugal as an ally in the CPLP, but not as a gateway or platform to Europe. There, he wants to relate directly to each of the specific European countries. The old idea that pervaded in some European chancelleries that Angolan topics were specific to Portugal and should be dealt with from, or at least, with the Lisbon competition (which we call Berlinization), ended. Each of the European countries now deals with Angola without Portuguese intermediation and vice versa.

This fact results essentially from three factors. One of an economic nature, and two of a political nature.

In the first place, Angola seeks, in its foray around the world, countries with the potential and capital to invest. It is searching for capital to develop its economy. Now Portugal, jumping from crisis to crisis and having a clear lack of capital for its development, will have much less means to move to Angola. And in the famous Portuguese Recovery and Resilience Plan there is nothing specific for investment in Africa or Angola in particular. Consequently, with no provisions highlighted for Angola in the Portuguese Plan, it is clear that the African country will have to go looking for massive investments elsewhere.

However, we believe that this is not the main cause for the relative decline of the Portuguese position in Angolan foreign policy priorities. There are two other reasons, which are interlinked.

In this sense, there is na element that has caused the disquiet of the current Angolan leadership towards Portugal. This element entails in the fact that in the near past, Portugal constituted what the Financial Times of October 19th[9] described as the place where Angola’s rich (and corrupt) elite collected trophies in assets, a kind of playground for the President’s sons José Eduardo dos Santos and other members of the oligarchy. Now, the Angolan government, apparently, looks with some suspicion at Portugal because of this, specially considering the intervention that banks, lawyers, consultants and a whole myriad of Portuguese service providers had in the laundering and concealment of assets acquired with illicitly withdrawn money of Angola. There is a danger that all these entities are making efforts to undermine the famous fight against corruption launched by João Lourenço.

What happened during the years of inspiring growth in Angola, between 2004 and 2014, significantly, is that Portugal acted as a magnet for Angolans’ savings and income. The Angolan ruling elites, instead of investing the money in their country, went to invest it, or merely park it in Portugal, with disastrous consequences for Angola, which found itself without the necessary capital to make its growth sustainable. The reasoning that can be attributed to the Angolan government is that Portugal allowed the Angolan money obtained illicitly to be laundered in its economic and financial system with such depth that it is now very difficult to recover. Ana Gomes, wisely, always warned about this. In fact, if we look at the assets recovered by Angola, with great significance, there has not yet been public news that any of them came from Portugal. There was the 500 million dollars that came from England, but in Portugal, EFACEC was nationalized by the Portuguese government – and that’s okay from the Lisbon’s national interest point of view- but it was realized that Angola would not receive anything from there, as well as one can’t regard a clear path of receiving from other situations.

To this phenomenon is added a second that is presently noted. Lisbon is serving as a platform for the more or less concealed articulation of strong opposition attacks on the Angolan government. Whether through consultants, press or law firms. In this case, unlike possibly in the case of investments and possible money laundering, these activities will take place in accordance with the law and adequate protections of fundamental rights. However, it will create discomfort in the Angolan leadership, which will possibly see a link between the two phenomena, that is, between the fact that Portugal was a safe heaven for Angolan assets obtained illicitly in the past, and now it has become a local of opposition and conspiracy, above all, to the so-called fight against corruption. It is noticed that many of the movements take place in Portugal and its elites continue to help those who were dubbed by João Lourenço as “hornets”, either judicially or in the search for new places to hide their money.

In concrete terms, the episode of EFACEC nationalization combined with the recent judicial decision to “unfreeze” the accounts of Tchizé dos Santos in Portugal, and the generalization of an anti João Lourenço current in large spaces of the Portuguese media, although they constitute decisions or attitudes that are justified in political, legal or ethical terms in Portugal, they are events that reinforce some Angolan distrust of the Portuguese attitude, which can see the former colonial power in a kind of shadow play.

These situations, which have broadened in recent months, are causing some discomfort in Angola, which may consider Portugal as a kind of safe haven for activities that harm the country. Gradually, conspiracies from Portuguese territory abound, such as meetings and other events

It is precisely the reasons mentioned above that lead us to identify some attempt at political distance between the Angolan government and Portugal. There are no easy answers to these equations, although its enunciation has to be made for reflection by all those involved.


[1] CEDESA, 2021, https://www.cedesa.pt/2021/05/18/os-realinhamentos-da-politica-externa-de-angola/

[2] See report CEDESA, 2020, https://www.cedesa.pt/2020/06/15/plano-agro-pecuario-de-angola-diversificar-para-o-novo-petroleo-de-angola/

[3] Deutsche Welle, 2021, https://www.dw.com/pt-002/jo%C3%A3o-louren%C3%A7o-em-espanha-em-busca-de-parceria-estrat%C3%A9gica/a-59344760

[4] Idem note 3.

[5] Presidência da República de Angola, 2021, https://www.facebook.com/PresidedaRepublica

[6] Idem, note 5.

[7] Helena Garrido, 2021, https://observador.pt/opiniao/o-choque-energetico-e-o-orcamento-em-duodecimos/

[8] Observador, 2021, https://observador.pt/2021/10/22/pr-de-angola-ve-relacoes-de-amizade-e-cooperacao-com-portugal-em-nivel-bastante-alto/

[9] Financial Times, 2021, https://www.ft.com/content/4652e15a-f7ba-4d21-9788-41db251c5a76