Angola Creates Fund to Spread Oil Wealth – NYTimes.com

Countries with the benefit of energy resources don’t have a great track record for benefitting the entire society.  Angola is making an effort:

Oil wealth has also made Angola one of the world’s most unequal nations, and poverty remains rampant, especially in rural areas. Furthermore, the government seems to subsist from barrel to barrel, with little stashed away for a rainy day. When oil prices dropped amid the financial crisis in 2008, Angola was forced to ask the International Monetary Fund for help.

But the government’s bookkeeping is notoriously opaque. The monetary fund said this year that $32 billion spent by the state oil company, Sonangol, over several years, could not be accounted for. Anticorruption activists have long accused top government officials of enriching themselves while leaving the masses to struggle without clean water, decent housing and affordable health care.

via Angola Creates Fund to Spread Oil Wealth – NYTimes.com.

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2 thoughts on “Angola Creates Fund to Spread Oil Wealth – NYTimes.com

  1. Matthew Merrill says:

    I was thrilled to read this report about Angola’s quest to increase its economic diversity and help its citizens reap the benefits from its massive oil exports. When one thinks of sub-Saharan Africa, pictures of poverty, starvation, disease, and other unsavory things come to mind. However, the benefits to society that come from a program like Angola’s are enormous. Already the seeds of innovation, creativity, multilateral cooperation, and international investment are beginning to bud and grow. After years of civil conflict in Angola, the people in power realized that it would be much better to focus their efforts on economic growth and the betterment of the country rather than spending inordinate sums on arms and war. With incredible growth in the mining, energy, and agricultural sectors I hope the Angola can one day become a model of a prosperous and peaceful African nation.

    An article describing more of the recent economic developments in Angola.
    http://www.worldfolio.co.uk/reports/angola/mining-sector-angola

  2. n8hogan says:

    The rapid growth of Angola’s economy is astounding and the new sovereign wealth fund is great news. But is that really an indicator of the country’s success? This article from CNN offers another interesting perspective. Do these tremendous growth rates mean that Angola has escaped the so-called resource curse, where oil resources are detrimental to growth? The article states that it is normal for countries to experience significant growth as they emerge from a period of civil war, so some of Angola’s success can be attributed to this transition. But what is most alarming about Angola is that not much is actually known about the situation of the poor in the country. The article says,

    “The last real census in the country was conducted in 1970. The last figures on poverty are from 2000, putting the proportion of people living on less than $1.25 a day at 54%. Angola ranks as 148 out of 187 countries on the Human Development index.

    Based on a household sample, INE estimated a poverty rate of 37% in 2008. However, it is difficult to assess how the poverty line was constructed. As data is not directly comparable to previous studies, it is also problematic to analyze development over time. In spite of this, the President claims that the poverty rate has been reduced from 70 to 37% from 2002 to 2008.

    A census is due to be held next year. Interestingly, but perhaps not surprisingly, it takes place after the coming elections.”

    It seems to me that Angola’s prosperous front of glittering cities and oil revenues are just a facade hiding the truth of slums, poverty, and low education rates for the majority of the population.

    http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/30/opinion/opinion-angola-development-elections/index.html

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