Angola: new Constitution, new Republic?

REFLECTION PAPER

Current situation and anocratic regimes

In a usual situation, the agitation and tension that was felt in the months preceding the general elections of August 2022 in Angola, it would have given rise to the normality and quiet functioning of the institutions until the following electoral act occurred in 2027. However, the strong divisions that were felt and that kind of almost global strife that existed until August does not seem to decrease, creating a situation of constant aggression, without an end to the sight in the present system. Symptom of this is the recent interview given by the opposition leader to a Portuguese newspaper, which declares “neither I nor the party recognize MPLA’s victory, because we know that Unita had more votes. We heard people across the country. Society wanted us to take over the institutions, but we didn’t want chaos.[1]

Consequently, on the one hand, the main opposition party has assumed a policy that we will call the “double road.” Such a policy disputes government within the institutions, although not recognizing its legitimacy, also challenging the institutions themselves. The “double road” accepts that the opposition is made within institutions and outside them; In a way, institutions are seen as another instrument of a broader project of confrontation with the government. It is evident that this posture leads to a difficult manichaeism to manage and undermines any openness and respectability that is intended with the investment. The lack of respect for institutions makes everything too dependent on the will of the political decision makers and the conjuncture.

On the other hand, the government party is embarrassed to lead its announced reforms, it is as if the party were not one but two parties. A party mass is dissatisfied with the proposed changes, it wanted that João Lourenço to be just a more skilled manager than José Eduardo dos Santos, but not to introduce background reforms, another sector wants to be taken effective reforms and is bothered by the eventual slowness of these reforms. They have the notion that without a deep reformist process, Angola can become a state with no future.

There is thus a strong instability, for various reasons, in parties that form the sustainment of the political system.

The National Assembly does not seem to be a deliberative chamber of the nation’s feeling, but a mere stage of a broader dispute, becoming in a means and not an end, removing it the sovereign weight that would be inherent.

With a more frightening record the justice arises. The one who is the basic pillar of a democratic rule of law offers more doubts than certainties. In combating corruption, with honorable exceptions, the judicial system has been based on inefficiency and slowness, not already realizing where this structuring program of the state is walking. As we have already written: “It is true that the supreme court’s design contained in the 2010 Constitution helps to its dysfunctionality. In fact, the Angolan constitutional legislator wanted to make a court following the model of the US Supreme Court grafted in a judicial system of Roman-Germanic type, that is, Portuguese. Now a top court in the Portuguese, German or French judicial system has nothing to do with a top court in an Anglo-American system. They are different concepts and structures. What is asked for an American supreme court is not what one asks for a Portuguese Supreme Court. In the first case, only large and innovative law issues arrive there. It is already a kind of court of reflection, while in the second Roman-German case-the Supreme acts as a last instance of appeal for almost all cases. However, in Angola, a court was thought in the American way to operate in a Portuguese manner. Therefore, a light structure that was only dedicated to a small number of cases had to face the task of being a usual court of appeal for a myriad of cases. That could only give bad result, as it gave. In addition to the dysfunctionality of constitutional design, it has been understood that the judges of the Supreme Court do not have adequate preparation to deal with the complexities of economic and financial crime, not having throughout their career came across with these issues at the sophisticated level to which they have been appearing, which has led to some much criticized decisions and to a large procedural default.

“Beginning the country simultaneously a phase of great appeal to foreign investment, as well as betting on the fight against corruption, is well to see that a poorly designed and thought court has to be reformed and remodeled. [2]

Overall, justice has not offered guarantees of speed and technical impartiality, and its actors have had a surprising tendency to get involved in consecutive scandals.

On the part of the population there is a timid idea, but discussed in many outside, that current institutions and political parties were designed for a war and confrontation environment, and these characteristics are in their core, and therefore are not able in dealing with a new Angola, where the central objectives are the development and well-being of the population. This means that it is considered that the “old” parties no longer correspond to the wishes and interests of the population, not offering consistent and appealing solutions. The abstention rate of the last general elections (54%) is a mirror of this situation.

A National Assembly that has become a mere-instrument-power and counterpower instrument, an inept justice and an anacronic party system, define this Angolan institutional system.

This whole situation, a little diffuse, but whose signs abound, can make the country in an ancracy. What is an ancracy? The ancracy has been defined as an unstable regime that combines elements of authoritarianism and democracy. The ancracy has an incomplete development of mechanisms of dissension and consensualization and is associated with permanent agitation or ingenability, which make the political process difficult[3]. The existence of an annocratic situation increases the likelihood[4] of a civil war. Putting the theme in another way, what it seeks to question is whether the Angolan situation is inherently unstable and can it resort to a civil war?

The answer is simple, although having two parts. No, Angola has not yet experienced an anocracy situation. However, structuring measures are required to exceed present blockages and dissatisfaction.

New Constitution and New Republic

It is necessary to create an agile state, with respected institutions, a functional public administration and a market economy with free and competitive actors, all contributing to the progress and well-being of the population.

The structures inherited from colonialism and wars must be transformed and exchanged for structures of modernity and development, taking into account the culture and history of Angola.

A new historical cycle with a new structure is critical.

The first measure is to establish a new constitution. The current 2010 Constitution is not consensual and, to some extent, is a legal misconception designed to please the personal desires of José Eduardo dos Santos. Fundamental will be to propose a new constitution, more Angolan and more protective of institutions, which marks a fresh start.

It is understood that this new constitution should address aspects as different as the possibility of separate (direct or indirect) election of the President of the Republic, giving him his own legitimacy and ensuring that the president presents himself as a national leader and not a party leader , the creation of a Second Legislative Chamber composed by the traditional authorities (allowing the introduction of different and plural voices in the legislative process, recovering African culture), the introduction of militant democracy mechanisms as the German fundamental law has (such as Karl Loewenstein[5] wrote Democracy should be able to resist those political agents who use democratic instruments to ensure the triumph of totalitarian or authoritarian projects of power, meaning that the Constitution must contain mechanisms of defense and repression of attempts to overthrow the constitutional regime, which now does not exist with sufficient strength in the Angolan Constitution). Obviously, that the reformulation of judicial power, the change in the symbology of the republic, would be other aspects of this new constitution.

A constitutional change is not enough without the organization and administration of the state. Also here the transformation project has to be comprehensive and seeking the release of colonial and Marxist models, introducing a public administration suitable for the new times. Examples may come from Asia, such as China and Singapore[6], or neighboring countries like Botswana or South Africa. The paradigm must be a merit -based administration based on effectiveness and service to the population. Of course, this implies the end of the clientelist influence on administration, deconcentration with autonomy and decision-making capacity, a completely new way of seeing the administrative procedure, not as a set of rules, but a set of good practices and goals dedicated for the common good and effectiveness.

It is evident that only a few topics are left here about advisable structural changes, according to our perspective, to transform Angola into a modern and prosperous state.


[1] Adalberto da Costa Júnior, interview to Nascer do Sol, 20-01-23

[2] CEDESA (2022). A necessária reforma do Tribunal Supremo em Angola, https://www.cedesa.pt/2022/11/24/a-necessaria-reforma-do-tribunal-supremo-em-angola/

[3] Jennifer Gandhi e James Vreeland (2008). “Political Institutions and Civil War: Unpacking Anocracy”. Journal of Conflict Solutions. 52 (3): 401–425; Patrick Regan and Sam Bell, Sam (2010). “Changing Lanes or Stuck in the Middle: Why Are Anocracies More Prone to Civil Wars?”. Political Science Quarterly. 63 (4): 747–759.

[4] Patrick Regan and Sam Bell, Sam (2010). “Changing Lanes or Stuck in the Middle: Why Are Anocracies More Prone to Civil Wars?”. Political Science Quarterly. 63 (4): 747–759.

[5] Karl Loewenstein (1937) Militant Democracy and Fundamental Rights, in: American Political Science Review 31.

[6] M. Shamsul Haque (2009), Public Administration and Public Governance in Singapore in Pan Suk Kim, ed., Public Administration and Public Governance in ASEAN Member Countries and Korea. Seoul: Daeyoung Moonhwasa Publishing Company, 2009. pp.246-271.

Analysis of the General Budget Proposal of the State of Angola for 2023

1-Official presentation of the SGB

The proposal of the State General Budget (SGB) from Angola to 2023 has already been delivered to the National Assembly, including its essential elements of an affordable and pedagogical digital page of the Ministry of Finance[1].

The Ministry of Finance in its official note highlighted the following main aspects about SGB[2].

Objectives

The two main objectives of budget policy are the “continuation of national economic growth and the continuation of prudent budgetary management.”

Budget balance and public debt

The budget balance will be surplus in the value of 0.9% of GDP, consolidating the evolution of 2021 and 2022. The public debt ratio in relation to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is decreasing, and projections for 2022 point a ratio of 56.1% of GDP, manifestly less than 128.7% already registered. The government expects the conjugated tendency to decrease public debt and inflation (which estimates 11% at the end of 2023), finally, to decrease interest rates, promoting economic growth.

Some tax aligners will be maintained such as reducing the VAT rate of basic basket products, which fell from 14 to 5%, and in hotel and tourism (14 to 7%).

Oil price

SGB’s proposal has as reference the oil barrel to USD 75.00.

Sectors expense

In terms of expenditure affectation, 23.9 % for the social sector are budgeted, 10 % for the economic sector, 8.6 % for defense, security and public order while general public services have 12.5 %.

According to the government, social expense represents the largest share of expense in SGB absorbing 43.5% of primary tax expense and 23.9% of total budget expense, with an increase of 33.4% compared to SGB 2022.

Growth

In terms of predictions that substantiate the proposal, the SGB assumes that by 2022, the real GDP should have a positive real growth rate of 2.7%, above the 2.4% initially provided for in SGB 2022, and for the year of 2023, a real growth of 3.3% is expected[3].

Inflation

The government expects to 2022 an inflation of 14.4%, well below the 18%goal. For 2023, it anticipates an inflation rate of 11.1%, as mentioned above.

2-The Question of Oil

It is evident that the price of oil still occupies a wide space in the Angolan economy. According to the Ministry of Finance data, in the SGB of 2022, the oil sector represented approximately 25% of the nominal SGB, and it is expected to be 22%[4].

Set the determining role of oil in the economy and in Angolan public accounts, it is repeated that the indicative price calculated for SGB 2023 was 75.00 USD/BBL as an average for the year, with an average production of 1 180.0 MIL BBL/DAY.

At this moment (December 13 2022) the price of the barrel is in USD 79, 03[5] and the trend in markets in recent times has been falling. Last month came from a level higher than USD 90.00 to a limit less than USD 80.00. Obviously, the volatility of oil price is large and no one can make predictions about the predictable evolution of the price. The current fall is attributed to the slowdown of the Chinese economy and the effect of rising US interest rates on commodoties. It may be like this or not, the price may climb or go down. If there is perhaps an expectation of climbing, as it is anticipated that China begins to recover and US interest rates no longer increase, besides OPEC production cuts, the truth is that the budget margin is not too big in Terms of oil price. Quickly, price oscillations can call into question SGB calculations.

In addition, the accuracy of daily production is 1180 thousand barrels, when the average of 2022 was 1 147 in 2022 and 1 124 in what refers to 2021. Given a recognized obsolescence in some sectors of oil production in Angola It may happen that this barrel value is not achieved.

This means that, in our opinion, there will be some optimism in the oil projections in SGB 2023 both at the price level and at the production level. It cannot be said that projections will not be verified, only that some emergency reserve is required for projections not to be consummated.

  There is still a very thin line between success and budgetary failure, so a renewed reform of the economy is critical.

3-The Social Expenditure

The government announces as a great success of its proposal the increase in social expense by 33.4% compared to 2022, occupying the largest slice by sector. Realizing, the reasoning report states that social expenditure will correspond to 43.5% of primary tax expense (without debt service), which is 23.9% of total expenditure and an increase of 33.4% compared to SGB 2022, as already mentioned. “In this sector, we highlight education, health, housing and community services and social protection, with weights of 14.1%, 12.1%, 10.1% and 6.2% in primary tax expense, respectively[6].” The truth is that comparing education, health, and housing with 2022, in all these rubrics there is an increase in expense higher than inflation.

Notably is the exponential climb of health and housing over the next year, with increases of 45.1% and 57.6% respectively.

If we notice the 2022 SGB, the social sector represented 38.8% of primary tax expense, corresponding to 19.02% of total expense and an increase of 27.1% compared to SGB 2021[7]. This means that it is manifest that the government is paying special attention and promotion to the social sector that increases year after year. The numbers prove this social attention of budget policy.

However, as is well known it is in the social sector that the complaints of the population often appear. There is a problem that is not budgetary, but related to management and rationality. It has to effectively execute the SGB and make the money reach people. The issue is increasingly good management and good governance, competence and deliverance, not the lack of resources.

4- The financial expense related to debt

The debt financial expense is 45.1% of SGB expense, decreasing by 2.6% compared to 2022[8]. In practice, we have a little less than half of the SGB designed to pay debts. We will not wave with the “ghost” of debt failure, which we have referred to over the long analyzes we have made, it does not exist. What worries us is the content of the debt and the fact that the state is supporting and paying a debt that is not his.

As an Angolan press agency specialized in economics and confirms official data, “China remains the country that Angola should most, holding about 40% of the total. Most of the debt to China has as its main creditor the China Development Bank (CDB), as a result of a USD 15 billion financing, as part of an agreement signed in December 2015.”[9]

This 2015/2016 Chinese loan is one of the most issues one must pay attention to and has a specific approach.

Our argument is that part of Angolan public debt is what is doctrinally called “odious debt.” The legal doctrine of “hateful debt” argues that sovereign debt contracted without the consent of the people and that it does not benefit it is “hateful” and should not be transferable to a successor government, especially if creditors are aware of these facts in advance[10]. We do not fight for non-full payment of this debt or others to China or another country (also offers us many doubts the debt enrolled in favor of the UK, but we will leave this theme for another occasion) or entity, but a bi-volunteer renegotiation with the respective Haircut of capital and interest that manifestly relieves the weight of the debt.

Consequently, there should be a profound forensic audit to this 2015/2016 Chinese loan whose destination has never been very clear, except in vacancies that would be applied at Sonangol, at a time coincident with the assumption of the company’s management mandate by Isabel dos Santos. After this forensic audit and according to the results obtained there should be a very serious renegotiation of debt with China. In 2015, China already had more than enough elements to know that part of its borrowed money was being poorly applied. In fact, this is the year when its supposed representative, Sam Pa, was apparently detained. The country, as a great power it is, cannot be hidden behind legal formalism and has to face together with Angola the problem of its debt that was diverted by corruption.

5-Conclusions

It is evident that there is an economic policy effort to exist financial rigor and budgetary control according to the injunctions of the International Monetary Fund, externally credible the country in economic terms. Alongside this financial rigor that cost João Lourenço quite electorally in August 2022, there is attention to the social sector, trying to mitigate the financier.

This budgetary policy is correctly formulated, the question to be aware is within the scope of the realization and execution. It is essential that social expense comes to those who need it and in the frontline structures: doctors, nurses, hospitals, schools, teachers, etc., and do not stay in intermediate consumption and corruption shortcuts that act as funds siphon. In other words, it is imperative that budget public money is not diverted. And then it becomes imperative to control the affectation and application of the funds. The task of good management and governance is the most important in the SGB of 2023.

At the level of resources it is relevant to emphasize that the oil activity (price and quantity produced) optimistic is relevant to us, to this extent, it is important to have a contingency reserve for low price and production.

And in relation to public debt in the face of China (and other entities) we argue that certain forensic audits are required and if something similar to a “hateful debt” is glimpsed, mechanisms of profound renegotiation are activated. Ultimately, it would have to bring the matter (“debt hatred”) to the United Nations pursuant to articles 1 (3) and 14, among others from the United Nations Charter to create a consensus on international law on the subject.


[1] Ministério das Finanças de Angola: https://www.minfin.gov.ao/PortalMinfin/#!/materias-de-realce/orcamento-geral-do-estado/oge2023

[2] Ministério das Finanças de Angola: https://www.minfin.gov.ao/PortalMinfin/#!/sala-de-imprensa/noticias/11811/proposta-de-oge-2023-entregue-a-assembleia-nacional

[3] Relatório Fundamentação OGE 2023 https://www.ucm.minfin.gov.ao/cs/groups/public/documents/document/aw4z/mzg4/~edisp/minfin3388777.pdf

[4] Relatório Fundamentação OGE 2023, p.17

[5] Cotações Brent Crude, 10:33 H, 13-12-22 https://oilprice.com/

[6] See note above, p. 52.

[7] Relatório Fundamentação OGE 2022, https://www.ucm.minfin.gov.ao/cs/groups/public/documents/document/aw4z/mjk2/~edisp/minfin3296952.pdf ,p.5.

[8] Relatório Fundamentação OGE 2023, cit., p. 53.

[9] Mercado, https://www.angonoticias.com/Artigos/item/72530/angola-deve-quase-52-mil-milhoes-usd-ao-exterior-jornal-mercado

[10] Michael Kremer & Seema Jayachandran, Odious Debt, Finance & Development, IMF, June 2002
Volume 39, Number 2

The necessary reform of the Supreme Court in Angola

1-Reasons that justify the reform of the Supreme Court in Angola

Angolan justice became, suddenly, one of the daily themes of discussion in public arena. This essentially happened due to the fact that the so-called “fight against corruption” was carried out through the common courts. It seems obvious that it is so, but in reality it is not that usual. Each country has chosen the methods it considers most suitable for this task. In China, where under the presidency of Xi Jinping it is developed a powerful effort against corruption, such commitment has been made through internal mechanisms of the Communist Party, only intervening the courts in a final phase[1]. In South Africa, it was chosen to create a commission that explored everything and analyzed, and only then, having a huge dossier ready, sent the results to the judicial power[2]. This means that it is not mandatory for the fight against corruption to focus or begin with the courts. However, that was the Angolan option.

This option has made some weaknesses of the Supreme Court appear far too much. The disagreement between several judges has become patent, the delays and lack of decision as well, and the debatable reasoning of many judgments has been noted by many commentators[3].

It is true that the supreme court’s design contained in the 2010 Constitution helps to its dysfunctionality. In fact, the Angolan constitutional legislator wanted to make a court following the model of the US Supreme Court grafted in a judicial system of Roman-Germanic type, that is, Portuguese. Now a top court in the Portuguese, German or French judicial system has nothing to do with a top court in an Anglo-American system. They are different concepts and structures. What is asked for an American supreme court is not what one asks for a Portuguese Supreme Court. In the first case, only large and innovative law issues arrive there. It is already a kind of court of reflection, while in the second Roman-German case-the Supreme acts as a last instance of appeal for almost all cases.

In Angola, a court was thought the “American way”, but to operate like the Portuguese. Therefore, a light structure that was only dedicated to a small number of cases had to face the task of being a regular court of appeal for a myriad of cases. That could only produce bad results

In addition to the dysfunctionality of constitutional design, it has been understood that the judges of the Supreme Court do not have adequate preparation to deal with the complexities of economic and financial crime, not having throughout their career came across these issues at the sophisticated level at which they have been appearing, which has led to some much criticized decisions and great procedural delay.

Beginning the country simultaneously a stage of great appeal to foreign investment, as well as betting on the fight against corruption, is good to see that a poorly designed and thought court has to be reformed and remodeled.

It does not seem possible to think, at this moment, in a constitutional revision, any reform must be made within the framework of the constitution in force.

2- Proposals for reform of the Supreme Court (SC)

a) Increased number of judges: 50

The first measure is quantitative but necessary, given the delays and imperative of technical and generational renewal of the Supreme Court. At this time, the SC has a board of 21 judges, which is being extended to 31 judges pursuant to this Organic Law of the Supreme Court (Law No. 2/22 of 17 March).

It seems insufficient. Portugal with a population of a third against Angolan has 50 counselors judges in his Supreme Court. Spain, with a population more similar to Angola, has 71 magistrates in his supreme court. For these numbers and in view of the similarity of extended jurisdiction that these courts have in Angola, Portugal or Spain, it is easily seen that more judges are needed in the court in Angola of those who are now foreseen.

It is believed that 50 (fifty) will be an adequate number of judges in the Supreme Court of Angola, which will allow a strong, so imperative renewal of this Court.

b) Chamber rationalization: the Economic Affairs Chamber and the economic and financial crimes section

The objectives of the judicial policy impose a review of the number of chambers in SC and a higher specialization. At this time, the law provides for five chambers: the Criminal Chamber, the Civil Chamber, the Chamber of Administrative, Tax and Customs Litigation and the Labor Chamber and the Youth Family and Justice Chamber (Article 17 of the Organic Law). However, just the criminal, civil and administrative and work chambers seem to be in operation.

It seemed better to rationalize the cameras according to the effective needs of society. Thus, there would be a Criminal Chamber, a Civil Chamber (which would encompass family and minors), a social chamber (work, social security and the like), an administrative and tax chamber, and a new chamber entitled Chamber of Economic Affairs, this Chamber would have Two sections, one of commercial litigation to deal with major contracts with relevance to investment and another of economic and financial crimes, specializing only in the trial of crimes such as corruption, bleaching, embezzlement, etc.

In the background, this new Chamber of Economic Affairs would be responsible for responding to new investment policy challenges against corruption.

c) Transparent model of appointment of the President: Hearing in the National Assembly

The two most recent presidents of the Supreme Court (Rui Ferreira and Joel Leonardo), for different reasons, have been the target of much contestation. In fact, Rui Ferreira fired due to this contestation while Joel Leonardo has difficulty managing his peers.

The Constitution in its article 180, paragraphs 3 and 4 states that the President of the Supreme Court is appointed by the President of the Republic, between 3 candidates selected by 2/3 of the counselors in effective functions, being his term of seven years, not renewable.

Joel Leonardo was appointed by the President of the Republic in 2019, so his mandate only ends in 2026. Leonardo was born in 1962, so it will only be 70 years old in 2032. This means that, unlike many rumors that flow in the legal world in Luanda, in formal terms, there is a long way to finish his mandate.

However, an additional appointment mechanism should be introduced, similar to that adopted in the recent constitutional revision in relation to the governor of the National Bank of Angola.

Accordingly, the President of the Supreme Court should be appointed by the President of the Republic after hearing in the National Assembly, observing, for that purpose, the following procedure:

a) the candidate’s hearing is triggered by the request of the President of the Republic;

b) the hearing of the proposed candidate ends with the vote of the reporting opinion;

c) It is up to the President of the Republic the final decision regarding the appointment of the proposed candidate.

Consequently, the President of the Supreme Court would only be designated after publicly heard in the National Assembly.

d) Impartiality and independence in SC: the Botswana model, visiting judges

One of the criticism that is most heard about the judicial power in Angola is about its lack of independence or little impartiality, either before the executive or the strongest/powerful. We do not enter the substance of these allegations, but we note that even if being false, the perception of justice plays a significant role. It’s not enough to be it, you have to look it. The saying of the English judge always come to mind “not only justice must be done; also, it must be seen to be done”, delivered by Lord Hewart CJ in R V Sussex Justices, ex part McCarthy ([1924] 1 Kb 256, [1923] All er Rep 233). Therefore, it is not just about arguing that Angolan justice is not dependent or partial, but of using symbols that attest to this same practice.

An uncomplicated example can be one that has been used for many years in Botswana, which has in no way diminished national pride or sovereignty, and, on the contrary, increased the prestige of its system of government. In fact, until 1992, in the High Court – the second most important in the court hierarchy – judges were expatriate foreigners appointed with short contracts from 2 to 3 years[4]. In the Court of Appeal, still a third of the judges are visiting justices (visiting judges)[5].

This means that something similar could be thought to Angola, that is, to save some seats in the Supreme Court (perhaps a quarter) for judges or merit jurists hired abroad with long enough contracts to guarantee their independence, but not renewable. Perhaps contracts from five to seven years.

These visiting judges would have exactly the same powers and jurisdiction as other judges , they could not be presidents or vice-presidents of the Court, however, could occupy the function of mayor or any other. They would be recruited in SADC[6] and CPLP countries.

Thus, widening the Supreme Court to visiting judges could open a window of doctrinal renewal and guarantee of impartiality with judges from other nearby but properly remoted countries. Eventually it could be a provisional measure for 10 or 15 years.

What this measure would allow was to create a wide body of judicial debate with several visions, some tendentially independent, which would allow a more fruitful dialogue in the creation of a just Law.

***

Here are several suggestions for reforming Angola’s Supreme Court in order to make it faster and effective in fulfilling the tasks, as well as increasing its guarantees of independence.


[1] Rahul Karan Reddy, The Diplomat, 2022, China’s Anti-Corruption Campaign: Tigers, Flies, and Everything in Between, https://thediplomat.com/2022/05/chinas-anti-corruption-campaign-tigers-flies-and-everything-in-between/

[2] Zondo Comission, https://www.statecapture.org.za/

[3] See for example, Manuel Luamba, DW, Justiça angolana está em descrédito fora do país?, https://www.dw.com/pt-002/justi%C3%A7a-angolana-est%C3%A1-em-descr%C3%A9dito-fora-do-pa%C3%ADs/a-63253282

[4] Cfr. https://www.justice.gov.bw/services/about-high-court

[5] Cfr. https://www.gov.bw/legal/hierarchy-courts

[6] SADC-South Africa, Angola, Botswana, Lesoto, Malavi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Congo Democratic Republic, Seicheles, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. CPLP-Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Mozambique, Portugal, Sao Tome and Principe and Timor-Leste.

Isabel dos Santos, economic crimes and a high authority against corruption

It is public that the Angolan authorities issued an international warrant for Isabel dos Santos.

The merits of the warrant is not discussed, because without knowing the concrete accusations it will be all speculation, but it is important to pay attention to the opportunity. And what catches the eye, in terms of opportunity, is the time that took place between the departure of Isabel dos Santos de Angola (August 2018) or the publication of the so-called Luanda Leaks (January 2020) that would compromise it in unshakable and the issuance of the warrant (November 2022). That is, between two and four years to issue a warrant.

Obviously, it is too much time without listening directly and personally Isabel dos Santos in criminal proceedings with the public and notorious scope of them.

This temporal gap makes it question what failed in the Angolan judiciary. The answer seems to be in the model followed in Angola in the so-called “fight against corruption”, or, generalizing, in the big economic crime.

Angolan authorities chose to refer cases of large economic crime to the common means, Attorney General’s Office, Ordinary Courts, etc. The problem is that questions of “state capture” or “privatization of sovereignty” such as those that happened in Angola would hardly be resolved by the common means that have their times and bureaucratized practices, often committed to the actors themselves from supposed Crimes.

The fight against economic crime at this level of “state capture” has required several countries in which it happens, the creation of special instruments to overcome the above structural obstacles.

One can start with the United States, where situations of great severity with political impact, such as investigations to Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton or Donald Trump have been based on the appointment of an independent counsel attorney. These independent prosecutors have their own powers and may exceed normal federal structures.

In South Africa, where the expression “capture of the state” emerged, the option was the creation of a powerful commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, better known as the Zondo Commission, the name of the judge who presided over to the commission. This commission has led to an exhaustive and independent investigation work that originated several reports that now serve as a basis for criminal accusations. It also existed in Ukraine, before the war, the creation of a system supported by several international entities.

The essential point of this very brief international court is that very serious corruption situations that undermine the viability or survival of the state impose combat solutions that leave the sphere of the normal judiciary, which will also be plagued by the same corruption problems and “State capture”. Therefore, the difficulties that the fight against economic crime finds in Angola are normal, and it is important to change the structure and methodology.

The change in the structure and methodology of combating corruption in Angola is based on the institution of a high authority against corruption with its own and independent judicial powers to investigate, accuse and bring to trial the large cases of corruption in a single judicial system. High authority against corruption could investigate, interrogate, seize, search and decree precautionary measures under the law and then have a chamber for trials or directly refer to a new chamber of economic crimes with the Supreme Court. Operating in the constitutional and legal framework, this authority would be a specific organism for repressing corruption. This high authority would have exclusive competence for all the main cases of corruption and would make the necessary international crosses.

Nations need specific, focused and flexible structures to combat the most evolved economic crime as is big corruption. In Angola, it urges such a structure. It is important to take this step in the area of ​​economic crime.

Angola: The Employment Legislature

Electoral results and unemployment

The recent Angolan elections on August 24, 2022 were the subject of intense scrutiny by Angolan and international public opinion. Interestingly a good part of the attention was devoted to political and/or legal subjects. There was a great deal of courts, electoral processes, law application, voting counting, multitude of initiatives and even constitutional revision.

However, the qualitative inquiries that a partner executed during the election period did not point out these as the main concerns of Angolans, but those linked to the economy, namely employment and unemployment. What Angolans seem to ask above all is a job and good living conditions.

Consequently, the issue of unemployment is one of the most important in the activity of the executive who has now taken office.

At this time, the most current data point to a 30.2% general unemployment rate (data from the National Institute of Statistics for the II Quarter of 2022) and the youth unemployment rate (15-24 years) will be located in the 56.7%[1]. The unemployed population over 15 years old in the entire country is calculated in 4 913 481 of people, while young people from 15-24 unemployed is 3 109 296.

Source: Instituto Nacional de Estatística de Angola

Even if they doubt statistics and considering the very large weight of the informal economy, which makes calculations difficult, the reality is that the unemployment rate is too high. By the way, it is almost certain that the high rate of youth unemployment has manifestly contributed to the MPLA defeat in Luanda.

Unemployment is one of Angola’s most serious and important political, economic and social problems.

Government Employment Policy

Government policy regarding unemployment has been essentially passive, although accompanied by some concrete programs.

Essentially, the government expects the effort of macroeconomic stabilization (budgetary equilibrium, public account control, exchange rate liberalization, etc.) to translate into an incentive to private investment that in turn will increase employment.

The inaugural address of the President reaffirmed this approach when he said that “we will continue to work on policies and good practices to encourage and promote the private sector of the economy, to increase the offer of national production goods and services, increase exports and create more and more jobs for Angolans, especially for younger people[2] (our emphasis).

The Minister of State for economic coordination, now reappointed, had already pointed out this direction when referring to unemployment and public employment promotion programs, he does not mention them concretely, but focuses on macroeconomic aspects. In early September, Nunes Júnior advanced that he was confident in reducing unemployment based on the private sector, claiming that the government was able to “put the country in economic growth giving currency stability and net international reserves” and placed “the country on the economic balance track, exchange rate stability and international reserves”[3].

The government successes in the area of ​​stabilization of public finances and currency politics are not challenged, what is doubtful is the belief that the Angolan private sector has immediate ability to resolve the issue of unemployment.

On the basis of this non-interventional policy on the correction of excessive unemployment is the neoclassical model that summarizes the essence of all economic activity to the free interaction between supply and demand for price flexibility. The neoclassical model has a valid relevance in many areas of economic analysis, but certainly will not be applicable linearly in the job market[4] and even less in Angola.

The government continues to believe that it is sufficient to create the appropriate framework conditions (financial and currency framing) and employment emerges moved by the private sector.

This would be so if Angola were a free market economy with a strong and capitalized private sector. Angola is nothing like that. It is an economy that began with a process of destruction and Sovietization after independence in 1975 and whose “liberalization” after 1992-2002, it was false, or rather, was post-soviet, imitating Mother-Russian: some oligarchs linked to power took advantage of privatization and alleged free markets to quickly “hand in hand” with political power take dominant positions. In fact, there have never been true entrepreneurs, but essentially political entrepreneurs. And there was never a private sector, but a sector of friends of power. This reality has no strength to promote employment as the minister wants.

Making the recovery of employment in Angola dependent and combating unemployment only in the private sector is impossible.

There are two orders of reasons why the policy against unemployment is only based on the private sector.

Firstly, the operation of the market. As a general rule, the labor market does not function as a free market, by obeying the rules of supply and demand defined by the neoclassical economic model that seems to sustain government philosophy, the behavior of the labor market is tendentially rigid, wages are hardly lowered or people are fired without social turmoil and constraints.

In technical terms it is said that the labor market operates as a market without compensation (non-clearing market)[5]. While according to neoclassical theory, most markets quickly reach a balance without excess supply or demand, this is not true for the job market: there may be a persistent level of unemployment. Comparison of the labor market with other markets also reveals persistent compensatory differentials between similar workers.

Keynes in the context of the 1930s crisis studied the subject and concluded that the economy could go into underemployment balances, this means that it can reach a level where it will never employ all potential workers and not leave without the intervention of a “visible hand” that would be the State[6].

The second reason is the magnitude of unemployment in Angola. It is one thing to expect that the private sector hire people when unemployment is 10% and it is intended to go down to 6%.

It is possible that economic growth automatically increases employment. Okun’s famous law[7], even though it is inaccurate, tells us that a 2% rise of the product (GDP) implies a decrease of 1% of unemployment. Thus, if Angola’s GDP increased 4% by 2023, unemployment would only drop 2%, i.e. to 28%. Manifestly insufficient.

Explanation of the Okun Law

Therefore, there is a problem here for the economic theories in which the government rests on its policy. To go down unemployment to acceptable levels, for example 8%, 11 years would be needed with an average growth of 4% per year. Only in 2033 would unemployment be at a satisfactory level for the well-being of the population.

Exemplification of the necessary to achieve an unemployment rate of 8% without state intervention

Alternative and complementary policies

It is possible that this reality was what led the newly deposed minister of state to the social area, Dalva Ringote, to announce the “redinamization” of several government social programs. Although it has not specifically referred to unemployment, it is assumed that training programs, education programs and fighting poverty are included in the portfolio of the minister’s concerns and begins to have some inflection in the passive orthodoxy of the fight against unemployment[8].

It is evident that there are no miracles, but there has to be a government effort to idealize a more active employment policy than the private sector and expected economic growth supplemented.

Essentially this policy would be based on three pillars:

EMPLOYMENT PLAN

i) The hiring of staff for the State for the coverage of fundamental needs in education, health and social solidarity. Here the focus would be the hiring of licensed staff to occupy positions of human Capital that reproduce social welfare;

ii) The grant to private companies to hire contract workers, giving preference to Angolans;

iii) the launch of vast professional training programs for unlicensed citizens to provide them with practical qualifications in agriculture and in several posts.

In order to finance these massive programs to fight unemployment, one would have to rely, in part, on budget surplus funds and, on the other hand, on the famous recovery of assets in the fight against corruption.

There is no doubt that much of the government’s future is based on what will be done in the employment area. This will really have to be the employment legislature.


[1] INEAngola:https://www.ine.gov.ao/Arquivos/arquivosCarregados//Carregados/Publicacao_637961905091063045.pdf

[2] Presidência da República de Angola. Discurso de Investidura, 15-09-2022, in https://www.facebook.com/PresidedaRepublica

[3] https://correiokianda.info/governo-cria-programas-para-reducao-de-desemprego-no-pais/

[4] See a balanced description in Dagmar Brožová, Modern labour economics: the neoclassical paradigm with institutional content, Procedia Economics and Finance 30 (2015) 50 – 56.

[5] See for example: Willi Semmler & Gang Gong, (2009), Macroeconomics with Non-Clearing Labor Market, https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.587.8716&rep=rep1&type=pdf

[6] The best explanation remains Paul Samuelson & William Nordhaus, Economics, 2019 (20 Ed).

[7] See previous footnote.

[8] https://www.verangola.net/va/pt/092022/Politica/32628/Dalva-Ringote-anuncia-%E2%80%9Credinamiza%C3%A7%C3%A3o%E2%80%9D-dos-programas-de-combate-%C3%A0-pobreza-e-seca.htm

Elections in Angola: polls and results predictions

1-The electoral polls in Angola

There is an undeniable fact. Angolan elections scheduled for the 24th of August are the most disputed of the post-civil war (2002)[1]. Never has been a discussion so renamed and the intensity of the arguments and uncertainty so debated.

Despite some tension and sometimes incendiary rhetoric, this electoral context represents a significant advance of the democratic struggle, which is expected not to go beyond from other forms of struggle.

One of the innovative aspects that has arisen in these elections is the plurality of polls. As much as memory and files allow to determine, the existence of polls was not a usual fact in the previous Angolan elections.

In fact, in 2017, only one reference came up to a supposed poll made by the Brazilian company “Sensus, Pesquisa e Consultoria”. The existence of this poll was never confirmed, but at the time sources revealed that this entity would have learned that the MPLA would gain only 38 percent of the votes. UNITA would obtain 32 percent of voting intentions, while the Casa-CE would appear very close to Unita, with 26 percent. From this it would result that the majority in the National Assembly would be the opposition[2].

What is certain is that this poll has never been confirmed and the final results were quite different. As is well known, the MPLA had 61.05%, while Unita and Casa-CE reached 26.72% and 9.49% of the votes, far from what the supposed poll stated.

2-The polls in the 2022 elections

If the 2017 elections revolved around a ghost survey that had nothing to do with the final reality in 2022, unlocked public polls appear, although fought by the forces that do not like the results.

It is about these polls and the possibility of predicting an end result based on them that this analysis is leaning.

We follow the identification of polls by a Portuguese Cable Channel[3] and consider five published polls. These are:

-Afrobarometer (https://www.afrobarometer.org/)

-Angobarometro (https://www.angobarometro.com/)  

-Angopolls (https://angopolls.org/)

-Mudei (https://jikuangola.org/inqueritos/index.html)  

-POBBrasil (https://pobbrasil.com/)

All of these entities have their site and present the results publicly.

We do not ignore that there are several controversies around some of these entities, however, we chose to rely on the technical records of each of the polls and the good faith of the interveners. Let’s look at the message and not “kill the messenger.”

In fact, with the exception of Afrobarometer, all other entities are reasonably recent and seem to be dedicated to present Angolan elections, containing professionals from other companies or organizations. This is a sign of democratic liveliness and therefore does not deserve criticism. What is certain is that these entities after the first essay that are these elections in Angola will be perfecting to contribute to the democratic discourse in Angola.

Looking at the data sheets of each of the polls and results we will make a measure of the results following two criteria, the reliability of the method and the normal Gaussian distribution.

First, the type of inquiry performed. From the technical records and affirmations of those responsible we conclude that Mudei and Afrobarometer do random street surveys based on premises that specify in their methodology pages. In turn, Angopolls and PoBBrasil perform telephone inquiries according to a random computed selection. Angobarometro, on the other hand, performs online polls.

We understand that online surveys are not reliable because they benefit from a “neighborhood effect”, that is, there is a tendency to call friends and people who think the same way to visit the site. Therefore, if a site is taken as closer to UNITA will call more people from UNITA, having a bias in its favor, the same happening if the site is MPLA. To this extent, we believe that online polls demonstrate a party’s ability to mobilize, but not the voting intentions of a random sample of the population.

We thus remove the AngoBarometro from this appreciation.

Regarding the remaining four, we proceed to a Gaussian distribution by eliminating the extremes and maintaining the standard-normal distribution. To this extent we will not consider the POBBrasil Survey that gives the MPLA an extreme victory, and also Mudei that gives UNITA an extreme victory.

3-Standard-polls

There are two polls that seem to us the most standardized: Afrobarometer and Angopolls.

Afrobarometer’s technical record reveals that: “The Afrobarometer team in Angola, led by Ovilongwa – Public Opinion Studies, interviewed 1,200 adult Angolans, between February 9 and March 8, 2022. A sample of this size produces national results with one Error margin of +/- 3 percentage points and a confidence level of 95%. The previous research in Angola was conducted in 2019”.

The results achieved are presented in the table below:

Table No. 1- Afrobarometer results

Angopolls has conducted several inquiries since December 2021. We will focus on the last of the published sequence, “VII-General Elections poll. July 2022”. Its datasheet states that: “The poll was made by telephone. 5040 valid inquiries were obtained, 21.03% of respondents were female.”

The results obtained were as follows:

Table No. 2: Angopolls results

¹ Not accounting for undecided and abstentions.

The Angopolls page also contains a curious chart with the presentation of the evolution of results over the several months:

Table No. 3- Voting Trends According to Angopolls

In a first analysis, it would seem that Afrobarometer and Angopolls polls give different results. In fact, the presentation of Afrobarometer attributes 29% to the MPLA and 22% to UNITA, while Angopolls refers to a percentage of 60.15% to the MPLA and 39, 85% for Unita. It appears to be a very large difference between the two polls.

However, a thinner analysis reveals that this is not the case.

In the end, in essence, the two entities came to very similar results: MPLA wins and UNITA reinforces its result, and even in percentages the difference is not very significant. The explanation for the apparent difference that does not exist is in the methods of presentation of the results and not in the results themselves.

If we notice Angopolls withdraws from their presentation the non-response (abstentionists, undecided on whether they would vote, etc.), while Afrobarometer does not do so. Note that they keep 46% – don’t know, don’t vote, refused to answer.

Now if we apply the same criterion for both polls, that is, removing the do not know, don’t vote, refused to answer, the so -called non-responders we will have a significant approximation between the two polls that mirror the table below:

Table No. 4: Comparative results Afrobarometer and Angopolls Following the same method of presentation

 Afrobarometer[4]Angopolls
MPLA54%60,15%
UNITA41%39,85%
OUTROS  4%0%

It is evident that another method for considering non-response is to impute them according to historical criteria (that is, considering the meaning of voting in previous elections) to political forces or then you can go into several speculative exercises.

Conclusions

What results from this analysis is that normal predictability points to a victory of MPLA in a percentage that oscillates between 54% and 61% and a substantial reinforcement of UNITA to 40%, with a sharp decrease of other political forces, what is called in political science a bipolarization.

It should be noted, however, that giving the percentage of non-respondents, these numbers are not fixed and definitive. They are a photograph at a given moment, but everything can change.

Therefore, polls give some indications, mark trends, but do not give certainty. As mentioned at the beginning of this work, this is an area of ​​democracy that only now begins to be explored, so you can’t expect definitive answers, but only mutable observations.


[1] In this analysis it is not included the 1992 elections because they were conducted in a historically very different context.

[2] https://www.makaangola.org/2017/08/sondagem-eleitoral-mpla-fica-atras-da-oposicao/

[3] CNN.pt

[4] Due to rounding adjustments it doesn’t equal 100 %

Theories of electoral fraud, legislation and public scrutiny in Angola

The images of electoral fraud in Angola

The starting point for this study is the statement of a renowned researcher during the II International Congress of Angolanistics according to whom the “next elections in Angola should be the least transparent and credible.”[1]

It is recalled that Angola had its first elections in 1992, after which there was a resurgence of the civil war that ended in 2002, and it only held elections again in 2008, followed by electoral acts in 2012 and 2017, so far, four electoral processes in Angola.

The next elections are scheduled for August 24, 2022.

In all the elections whose count has reached the end, the MPLA, the party in government since independence in 1975, won with the following results: 1992- 53.74%; 2008- 81.76%; 2012-71.84%; 2017- 61.05%.

Table no. 1- Winner of the elections in Angola (1992-2017)

1992MPLA53,74%
2008MPLA81,76%
2012MPLA71,84%
2017MPLA61,05%

Interestingly, in every election, even in 1992[2], which had wide international coverage and had over 400 foreign observers, the main opposition party alleged fraud.

In 1992, these allegations resulted in renewed civil war and undisguised massacre and violence. In fact, the resolution of the dispute only took place with the death of the opposition leader and the end of the war in 2002. In the other elections, there was final acceptance of the results and integration into the constitutional-legal functioning.

In 2008, 90 observers from the European Union were present, and the MPLA’s victory was overwhelming. It was, in fact, the time of the oil boom. Even so, the opposition claimed fraud, and demanded a repetition of the elections due to delays that marked the process, described by the opposition leader as “a disaster”, with numerous delays across the country. In any case, despite these protests, the elections were eventually accepted and the deputies took their seats. This time there was no war and a certain democratization of public life began.

2012 was again the year of elections, and again, there were reports of irregularities, but without the vocality of the past. The opposition took their seats in parliament and played their part.

In the year 2017, the African Union sent observers to the elections, with the aim of guaranteeing democratic elections, but the European Union decided not to send a large team of observers. The opposition contested the results, but ended up accepting them after decisions by the Constitutional Court that validated the elections.

There are patterns that repeat themselves. The first two are obvious, the victory of the MPLA and the permanent contestation of the process by the opposition. There is also the intervention of external observers, for example 400 in 1992.

Despite repeated accusations of fraud on the part of the defeated candidates, what is certain is that, with the exception of 1992, they always ended up accepting the results and taking their seats in the National Assembly.

Comparisons: Transparency and Democracy in 2022

The question that we are going to answer is whether the present elections, scheduled for August 24, 2022, represent a decrease in the electoral conditions of the past, as some researchers claim, or if, on the contrary, even though they are not perfect, they present a clear evolution in terms of transparency and democracy?

To assess the conditions, we will review current legislation, as well as the characteristics of the current public scrutiny compared to the past, as we believe that this is the realistic critical mechanism to assess the transparency of elections.

Legislation

Regarding the legislation in force, there are some aspects to emphasize, many of which have been the target of misunderstandings or not very literal interpretations. Elections are now regulated by Law No. 30/21 of 30 December, which amended Law No. 36/11 of 21 December — Organic Law on General Elections (OLGE). In the current legislation we have to highlight the following topics that focus on the electoral process:

i) Basic conditions: demonstration, right to broadcast and financing

During the electoral campaign period, freedom of assembly and demonstration for electoral purposes is governed by the provisions of the general law applicable to the exercise of freedom of assembly and demonstration, with the following specificities (article 66 of the OLGE):

a) Processions and parades may take place on any day and time, respecting only the limits imposed by freedom of work, maintenance of calmness and public order, freedom and traffic management, as well as respect for the period of citizens’ rest.

b) The presence of public authority agents at meetings and events organized by any candidate can only be requested by the competent bodies of the applications, with the organizing entity responsible for maintaining order when such a request is not made.

c) The communication to the competent administrative authority of the area about the intention to promote a meeting or demonstration is made at least 24 hours in advance.

What results from the law is a broad possibility of demonstration, with no constraints or noticeable obstacles.

It should be noted, moreover, that in the pre-campaign period there have already been large demonstrations without incident, either by the government party or by the opposition.

The opposition leader has moved freely in the territory from north to south, specifically, from Cabinda to Menongue and carried out large mass acts, without any impediment or confrontation. This fundamental aspect for the electoral process has been ensured.

In relation to the right to broadcast, article 73 of the OLGE provides that candidates for general elections are entitled to use the public broadcasting and television service, during the official period of the electoral campaign, in the following terms: a) Radio: 10 minutes a day between 3 pm and 10 pm; b) Television: 5 minutes a day between 6 pm and 10 pm.

The law guarantees what we might call the minimum amount of political intervention during the electoral campaign period.

The global funding of all political parties carried out by the State is also provided for and is imperative under the terms of article 81 of the OLGE, which provides that the State will allocate an amount to support the electoral campaign of candidates for the general elections, which is distributed equitably, and it can be used to support the List Delegates.

The letter of the law offers sufficient guarantees that certain minimums of equity and competition between parties are upheld for the 2022 elections[3].

ii) Voting and counting of votes

This is an area where there has been a lot of discussion and perhaps misunderstandings or misinterpretations. Therefore, it is important to underline the essential provisions of the law.

Firstly, polling stations, contrary to what one might think in light of some published analyses, play a central role in the process. From the outset, the List Delegate present at the Polling Station can request clarifications and submit, in writing, complaints regarding the electoral operations of the same Polling Station and instruct them with the appropriate documents, and the Polling Station cannot refuse to receive the complaints, and must initial them and attach them to the minutes, together with the respective resolution, whose knowledge will be given to the claimant. (Article 115 of the OLGE).

This means that there is a direct inspection by each of the parties in each of the Polling Stations. What we might call an atomist oversight. Every atom of the election is being verified.

Afterwards, it is still at the Polling Station that the polls are opened and the votes are counted, also contrary to what has been stated.

In fact, once voting is over, the Chairman of the Board, in the presence of the other members, opens the ballot box, followed by the counting operation in order to verify the correspondence between the number of Voting Ballots in the ballot box and the number of voters who voted at that Polling Station. (Article 120 of the OLGE).

Then, the President of the Polling Station orders the counting of the Ballots, respecting the following rules:

a) The President opens the bulletin, displays it and reads it aloud;

b) The first scrutineer records the votes allocated to each party on a sheet of white paper or, if available, on a large board;

c) The second scrutineer places, separately and in batches, after displaying them, the already read votes corresponding to each of the parties, the blank votes and the null votes;

d) The first and third tellers proceed to the counting of the votes and the Chairman of the Board to divulge the number of votes that fell to each party.

After this operation, which is well detailed in the law, the President of the Polling Station compares the number of votes in the ballot box and the sum of the number of votes for each lot. The List Delegates have the right to verify the lots without being able to complain in case of doubt to the Chairman of the Board who analyzes the complaint. (Article 121 of the OLGE).

Consequently, we have an electoral act that is supervised and the votes are counted locally at each Polling Station with the presence of delegates from each party.

This is what the law defines.

After this local operation, a Minute of the Polling Station is drawn up by the Secretary of the Table and duly signed, in legible handwriting, by the President, Secretary, Tellers and by the List Delegates who have witnessed the voting, being then placed in a sealed envelope that must be duly forwarded, by the quickest route, to the Provincial Electoral Commission. (Article 123 of the OLGE). Subsequently, the National Electoral Commission is responsible for centralizing all the results obtained and for distributing the mandates (article 131 of the OLGE). In summary, the national tabulation is based on the summary minutes and other documents and information received from the Polling Stations (article 132 of the OLGE).

It can thus be seen that the counting of results is carried out at the local level, with no centralization of the opening of the polls or the counting, the centralization is carried out a posteriori, based on the results obtained at the Polling Stations.

Looking at the legal provisions mentioned above, a transparent and properly supervised mechanism can be seen at the local level.

Added to this mechanism is the rule of article 116 of the OLGE which makes it mandatory that the technologies to be used in the scrutiny activities meet the requirements of transparency and security.

The same rule requires the audit of source programs, data transmission and processing systems and control procedures and makes it imperative that before the beginning of each election, the Plenary of the National Electoral Commission carry out an independent, specialized technical audit, for public tender, to test and certify the integrity of source programs, data transmission and processing systems and control procedures to be used in tabulation and scrutiny activities at all levels.

iii) The transparency of the President of the Republic election

The Voting Ballot is printed in color, on smooth and non-transparent paper, in a rectangular shape with the appropriate dimensions so that it can fit all the candidacies admitted to the vote and whose spacing and graphic presentation do not mislead voters in the exact identification and signage of the application one has chosen.

 The serial number, the statutory designation of the political party, the name of the candidate for President of the Republic and the respective passport-type photograph, the acronym and the symbols of the political party or coalition of political parties, arranged vertically, are printed on each Ballot, one below the other, in the order of the draw carried out by the National Electoral Commission, after the approval of the candidacies by the Constitutional Court (article 17 of the OLGE).

This means that despite the presidential election method chosen by the Constitution, voters clearly know who they are voting for for President of the Republic. It has the face and name indicated.

iv) Electoral litigation

The assessment of the regularity and validity of elections is ultimately the responsibility of the Constitutional Court (article 6 OLGE). This rule commits the Constitutional Court (CC) all final decisions on elections, not the National Electoral Commission (NEC).

The fact that the CC has the final word and not the NEC is an added jurisdictional guarantee. At the present time, as we will see later, this is relevant because the CC has been the subject of a great deal of public scrutiny, making it more difficult to make decisions that have no legal basis.

Public Scrutiny

It is natural, above all for the supporters of a realistic vision of the law[4], in which we include ourselves, according to which what is important is not what is written in the law, nor even the meta-legal principles on which it is based, but its application and practical result, one is not satisfied with the mere legal enumeration, even if it appears well constructed and promising, as it seems to us to be the case with the present Organic Law on General Elections.

It is necessary to invoke other real factors that allow a more objective assessment of the electoral phenomenon in Angola, as expected for 2022.

We understand that the key factor is the public scrutiny that the electoral process is having. Public scrutiny understood as a thorough examination and diligent investigation of a phenomenon carried out by society in general, and not just by specific bodies that may or may not be aligned with a given political or ideological option.

Our argument is that the greater the public scrutiny to which an electoral phenomenon is subject, the greater its transparency and democracy and the lower the probabilities of fraud, with a direct relationship between scrutiny and transparency.

Now, the brief excursus that we carried out on the several elections that took place in Angola, and removing the one from 1992, which due to its specificity and historical context has no place in this comparison, and considering that some of our contributors personally followed the 2012 and 2017 elections, allows us to advance with some trends in relation to aspects of scrutiny by members of civil society or non-political structuring bodies of the community. These themes lead us to a qualitative comparison between 2008 and 2017.

First, let’s highlight the Catholic Church. Possibly, as a result of certain accusations of collaboration with the colonial power and some clash with the post-independence Marxist ideology, the Catholic Church, in general, had committed itself in the previous elections to a discreet and little public intervention role, not contributing for a strong debate about the electoral process in the previous elections (2008 to 2017).

This will not happen in 2022, following in the footsteps of its counterpart in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in which the Catholic Church played a decisive role in the 2018/2019 electoral transition between Kabila and Tshisekedi, the Angolan Catholic Church has adopted a manifesto leading role in the preparation of the Angolan elections. Its bishops and priests are active in their pastoral care and in their homilies and have an intense public activity, demanding adequate elections[5].

It is precisely this Catholic activism, bearing in mind that according to statistics, around 40% of the Angolan population is Catholic[6], which allows us to conclude that the scrutiny that the Catholic Church is carrying out of the elections will not leave a large part of the population indifferent and obliges by itself to increased transparency in the process. In other words, Catholic scrutiny and its multiple organizations is, in itself, an intrinsic factor of transparency.

A second factor that we notice different in relation to other Angolan elections is the role of social networks. These will cover about a quarter of the voting population[7], but perhaps more of those who actually vote. By frequenting social networks, one can easily glimpse the intensity with which they talk about the elections and how they discuss their realization and the need for transparency. A candidate for deputy for the opposition party and activist constantly present on the networks like Hitler Samussuku has 52,000 followers on Facebook and his posts often reach more than 1000 likes. This is just a random example, but many others could be mentioned.

Never before have social networks in Angola been so alive and active as in this period, contesting, discussing and affirming positions.

As in the situation of the Catholic Church, we understand that this digital scrutiny has a double function. By itself it is synonymous with transparency and at the same time it increases transparency by placing the discussion on the elections in the public space.

We have here two factors intrinsically conducive to electoral transparency: the activism of the Catholic Church and digital activism.

Finally, it is worth mentioning the issue of international observers. In the difficult year of 1992, according to public information, 400 international observers were present[8], in 2017, more than 1000 observers will have been present[9], currently, according to publications that have focused on the subject, 2000 national observers are expected for 2022 and an undisclosed number of international observers. It should be said that in view of the aforementioned activism of the Church and in the digital world, national observers will play a very intense role, contrary to what could happen in the past.

Conclusions

The issue we studied here is not the platonic perfection of the Angolan elections, but the evolution of electoral transparency since 2008 with the forecast for 2022.

What we have found, taking into account two indices, legislation and public scrutiny, is that, at the moment, there is a law strong enough to hold free and fair elections, and that public scrutiny, namely by the Catholic Church and its satellite organizations and also through social networks, has never been as high as it is today.

To that extent, even with imperfections, it is expected that these elections will be more transparent than in the past, because if this does not happen, public opinion will feel better and more deeply than in the past.


[1] https://www.rtp.pt/noticias/mundo/proximas-eleicoes-em-angola-deverao-ser-as-menos-transparentes-e-crediveis-avisa-investigadora-de-oxford_n1413623

[2] https://arquivos.rtp.pt/conteudos/unita-diz-que-houve-fraude-nas-eleicoes/

[3] We do not discuss in this work the problem of public service imbalance in the pre-campaign period. It will possibly be the object of another study pointing out solutions and needs for a holistic view of the situation encompassing all sources of news: public, private, foreign and digital.

[4] See for exemple Rui Verde, Juízes: o novo poder, 2015.

[5] https://www.rtp.pt/noticias/mundo/bispos-angolanos-pedem-eleicoes-transparentes-e-participacao-responsavel-dos-cidadaos_n1381285; https://www.vaticannews.va/pt/africa/news/2022-06/angola-eleicoes-bispos-convidam-a-moderacao-respeito-e-sentid.html ; https://www.dw.com/pt-002/angola-bispo-de-cabinda-nega-crispa%C3%A7%C3%A3o-entre-igreja-cat%C3%B3lica-e-o-executivo/a-61651439

[6] https://observatoriodaafrica.wordpress.com/2016/04/04/maioria-da-populacao-angolana-e-catolica/

[7] https://marcasemaccao.com/utilizadores-de-redes-sociais-cresce-36-em-angola/

[8] http://www.angonoticias.com/Artigos/item/48509/primeiras-eleicoes-em-angola-realizaram-se-ha-23-anos

[9] https://www.voaportugues.com/a/mais-de-mil-observadores-as-eleicoes-em-angola/3926114.html

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

www.cedesa.pt

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/