Angola is a Southern African nation situated to the north of Namibia, south of the Democratic Republic of Congo, off the South Atlantic Ocean.
The country has made significant strides as it undergoes a rebuilding process following the end of almost thirty years of civil war.
The conflict was fought mainly between UNITA (National Union for the Total Independence of Angola) and the MPLA (Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola).
The fighting officially ended following the signing of a peace agreement in 2002 soon after Jonas Savimbi (the UNITA leader) was shot. It is estimated that the conflict cost the lives of about 1.5 million people and about 4 million Angolans were displaced as a result of the war. Angola is a former Portuguese colony and attained its independence on the 11th of November 1975.
The Country is divided into 18 provinces (provincias, singular – provincia); Bengo, Benguela, Bie, Cabinda, Cuando Cubango, Cuanza Norte, Cuanza Sul, Cunene, Huambo, Huila, Luanda, Lunda Norte, Lunda Sul, Malanje, Moxico, Namibe, Uige, Zaire. The city of Luanda is the administrative capital of the country.
The Angolan Economy:
Following the culmination of the civil war, Angola has experienced one of the highest economy growth rates (reaching an impressive 19 % in 2005). This high growth rate is spurred mainly by an increase in crude oil production.
The country is still undergoing a rebuilding process and many roads and parts of the rail network are still damaged and cannot be used.
A resource rich country, Angola is also a producer of diamonds, gold, iron ore, bauxite, uranium, phosphates and feldspar. Major industries here are; oil refining, ship repair, food processing, sugar, tobacco, brewing and textiles.
Agriculture in Angola produces; sugarcane, coffee, cotton, sisal, cassava, livestock, fish, forest products, bananas and maize.
Angola Facts & Figures:
– Location: Southern Africa, off the South Atlantic Ocean, north of Namibia, south of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
– Capital City: Luanda.
– Population: 12, 127, 071.
– Other major towns and cities: Luena, Malanje, Ambriz, Porto Amboin, Soyo, Benguela, Huambo, Namibe
– Religion: Indigenous Beliefs, Roman Catholic, Protestant.
– Languages: Portuguese (Official), Afrikaans, Ovimbundu, Kimbundu, Kikongo.
– Currency: Angolan Kwanza (AOA).
The Flag of Angola:
The current flag of Angola was adopted in 1975, the same year the country attained its independence.
A new flag was proposed in 2003 following the end of the civil war but is yet to be adopted.
The red color on the present flag represents the blood shed in the fight for freedom and independence, black represents the country’s people and the African continent, yellow is for the country’s mineral wealth.
Map of Angola:
Health in Angola:
Health services in Angola are still well below the standards in Western countries. Decent health facilities and pharmacies can be found in the city of Luanda.
HIV/AIDS poses the largest health problem in Angola. The condition has a prevalence of 3.9 % and it is estimated that about 240,000 people are living with the disease in Angola.
There is also a high risk of Malaria in some parts of the country though this can be countered by taking anti-malarial medication prior to travel or on arrival.
Other health problems are associated with poor food and water hygiene. Care should be taken and one should only drink boiled or treated water. Bottled water is also available and is sold in supermarkets. Precaution should also be taken not to consume poorly cooked foods or unclean fresh fruit and vegetables.
People of Angola:
Angola is home to an estimated population of 12, 127, 071 people. The country’s current official population may however not be completely accurate taking in people displaced from the civil war.
The threat of HIV/AIDS here is quite considerable though not as significant when compared to other sub-Saharan nations. It is estimated that there are about 240,000 people living with the disease in Angola.
The major ethnic groups residing in the country are; Ovimbundu, Kimbundu, Bakongo, Mestico (mixed European and African) and European.
The main religions in the country are; traditional beliefs, Roman Catholic and Protestant. Portuguese is the official language of Angola and is widely spoken by most here. Other languages include; Afrikaans, Ovimbundu, Kimbundu and Kikongo.
Sports in Angola:
Sport plays a significant part in the lives of the Angolan people. The country is one of the leading basketball nations on the African continent having won the African Basketball Championships in 2003. Angola also represented the continent in the basketball competition at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece.
The country is also one of the three African Nations alongside Senegal and Nigeria to participate at the World Championships in Japan, 2006.
Soccer or football is the most popular sport in Angola. The country’s made its mark on the international scene when it qualified for the 2006 World Cup in Germany. The team qualified for the tournament despite being grouped with strong sides such as Zimbabwe and Nigeria.
Other popular sports in the country are; handball, boxing, volleyball, athletics and swimming.
Angola is one of the major football playing nations in Southern Africa. The country’s national team won the COSAFA cup a regional tournament in 1999, 2001 and 2004. This tournament features strong competition with the likes of South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia. The country has also participated at the 1996, 1998 and 2006 Africa Nations Cup tournaments.
The national team known locally as “Palancas Negras”, was one of the surprise qualifiers for the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Angola was placed in a tough group which featured the likes of Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Gabon and Algeria.
Under the guidance of Coach Luis Oliveira Goncalves and Captain Fabrice Akwa, the country went on to give a respectable account of itself at the World Cup. Angola lost its first game against Portugal 1-0, drew with Mexico 0-0 and also drew its final match against Iran 1-1.
The Kwanza (AOA) is the title of the Angolan Currency. The Kwanza was introduced in 1977 and has been in use since. One Kwanza is equivalent to 100 Centimos. At present; coins are in circulation for 10, 50 centimos and 1, 2 and 5 Kwanzas. Banknotes are available for 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000 and 2000 Kwanzas.
At the time of writing (August 2006); One $ US was equivalent to 80.173 AOA and one Euro was equivalent to 102.547.
Public Holidays in Angola:
January 2: New Year’s Day (observed)
January 4: Martyr’s Day
February 4: Initiation of Armed Struggle Day
March 8: International Women’s Day
April 4: Angolan Peace Day
May 1: Worker’s Day
May 25: African Day
June 1: International Children’s Day
September 18: National Hero’s Day (observed)
November 2: Memorial Day
November 10: Independence Day (observed)
December 25: Christmas Day
*Dates vary each year: Carnaval, Good Friday and Easter.
Tourism in Angola:
Despite not being a traditional tourist domain in the region, Angola has much to offer its visitors. The country is home to a rich multi-cultural population which translates to the tasty cuisine found here.
In the larger cities such as Luanda, there are a number of restaurants where you can sample local delicacies. Fresh seafood from the Atlantic is readily available.
You can also experience the culture and traditions of the Angolan people which is displated in music (especially Afro-Carribean, Kuduros and Kizomba), arts and craftworks which include paintings, sculptures and ceramics.
Near the coastal towns such as Luanda, Ambiz, Lombito and Benguela; there are a number of good white sandy under populated beaches. The country also experiences friendly tropical weather conditions all year round. It is hoped that with the return to peace the Angolan tourism industry will experience positive development.
Hotels in Angola:
The leading hotels in Angola can be found in the city of Luanda. The Angolan capital is home to probably the best hotels in the country and offers a wider range to choose from. Popular hotels in Angola include;
Le Presidente Meridien Hotel, Luanda: arguably the leading hotel in Luanda, the Le Presidente is situated at Largo 4 de Fevereiro in the city centre and is a member of the Meridien International Group of Hotels. A premier five star establishment, the Le Presidente offers its guests; comfortable rooms all with ocean views, satellite television and internet access, international telephone, business centre, banquet facilities, restaurant, bar and access to a variety of recreational facilities including; tennis courts, golf course, gym and swimming pool.
Mundial Hotel: another of Luanda’s leading hotels, the Mundial is situated at Rua Conselheiro Julio Vilhena 14 near the city centre. The hotel offers easy access to the sea and features air conditioned rooms with round the clock room service, restaurant and bar.
Hotel Panorama: situated at Avenue Marchal Gomes Da Costa near the Luanda city centre on a beachfront property, the Panorama offers its guests air conditioned rooms with television, bar, restaurant, information desk and room service.
Car Hire in Angola:
A number of car hire firms can be found within the city of Luanda and other major towns in Angola. Avis car rental has an office at the Quatre de Feveiro International Airport which is about 4 km from the city centre.
The cost of renting a car from local car hire firms usually vary depending on the length of the rental and the type of car. You should inquire about additional charges including insurance just to be sure and avoid any surprises.
Many visitors to the country usually opt to hire a driver. This is not very expensive and provides you with someone used to driving in the country which can at times be overwhelming.
Angolan Embassies in Asia
The Embassy of Angola in China
Ta Yuan Diplomatic Office
Chaoyang District No 100600
The Embassy of Angola in India
The Embassy of Angola in Japan
Código Postal 155-0032
Tel: 00 81 3 5430 7879
Fax: 00 81 3 5712 7481
Angolan Embassies in Europe:
The Embassy of Angola in the UK
22 Dorset Street
London W1U 6QY
Phone: 0044 207 2999850
Fax: 00 44 207 4869397
The Embassy of Angola in Belgium
182, Rue Franz Merjay
Tel: (322) 3461880 /3461872
The Embassy of Angola in France
19 Avenue Foch
Paris 75116 France
The Embassy of Angola in Germany
Heinrich-Lubke Str 19
Tel. 49-228 /555708 /555734
The Embassy of Angola in Russia
Olof Palm 6
Phone: 1436324 / 1436321
Angola Embassies and Consulates in North America
The Embassy of Angola in Canada
189 Laurier Avenue East,
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1N 6P1
Tel: (613) 234 1152
Fax: (613) 234 1179
The Embassy of Angola in the United States
2108 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
Tel: 1 (202) 785-1156
Fax: 1 (202) 785-1258