Angola is booming!
The oil and diamond-rich country is currently rebuilding at full swing. Now this peaceful and resourceful country of about 31 million is going through a dramatic rebirth.
Angola is reliant on, and is one of Africa's major oil producers. Much of Angola's oil wealth lies in Cabinda province. Angola officially became the 12th member of OPEC in 2007, it boasts about 9.5 billion barrels in proven crude oil reserves, and is the 16th largest oil producer in the world and 2nd largest in Sub-Saharan Africa (behind Nigeria). Oil represents 40% of Angola’s GDP and 95% of its FOREX (China being the largest importer at 43%, followed by US).
The capital, Luanda is located on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean and has a population of over 5 million inhabitants. The city's streets are now being paved and widened, lots of new businesses are opening up and there is a lot of construction going on all around. Foreigners are flocking to the country.
Location & Size
Angola is located on the west coast of Africa, south of the equator. Angola is slightly less than twice the size of Texas, with a total area of 1,246,700 sq km (481,353 sq mi), including the exclave of Cabinda (7,270 sq km/2,810 sq mi), which is surrounded by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DROC—formerly Zaire) and the Republic of the Congo (ROC). Angola proper extends 1,758 km (1,092 mi) se-nw and 1,491 km (926 mi) ne–sw; Cabinda extends 166 km (103 mi) nne–ssw and 62 km (39 mi) ese–wnw. Angola is bounded on the north and northeast by the DROC, on the southeast by Zambia, on the south by Namibia(South West Africa), and on the west by the Atlantic Ocean. Its total boundary length, including Cabinda's, is 5,198 km (3,233 mi).
Angola is a Southern African nation whose varied terrain encompasses tropical Atlantic beaches, a labyrinthine system of rivers and Sub-Saharan desert that extends across the border into Namibia. Angola has a total area of 1,246,700 sq km (481,353 sq mi). It consists mainly of broad tablelands above 1,000 m (3,300 ft) in altitude; a high plateau (planalto) in the center and south ranges up to 2,400 m (7,900 ft). The highest point in Angola is Mt. Moco, at 2,620 m (8,596 ft), in the Huambo region.
Angola's climate varies considerably from the coast to the central plateau and even between the northern and southern coasts. The north, from Cabinda to Ambriz, has a damp, tropical climate. The zone that begins a little to the north of Luanda and extends to Namibe, the Malanje region, and the eastern strip have a moderate tropical climate. Damp conditions prevail south of Namibe, dry conditions in the central plateau zone, and a desert climate in the southern strip between the plateau and the frontier with Namibia. There are two seasons: a dry, cool season from June to late September, and a rainy, hot season from October to April or May. The average temperature is 20°c (68°f); temperatures are warmer along the coast and cooler on the central plateau.
Flora and Fauna
There have been long-standing environmental problems in Angola. The main problems are land abuse, desertification, loss of forests, and impure water. The productivity of the land is continually threatened by drought and soil erosion, which contributes to water pollution and deposits silt in rivers and dams. Endangered species in Angola include the black-faced impala, three species of turtle (green, olive ridley, and leatherback), the giant sable antelope, the African slender-snouted (or long-snouted) crocodile, the African elephant, Vernay's climbing monkey, and the black rhinoceros. According to a 2006 report issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), the number of threatened species included 11 types of mammals, 20 species of birds, 4 types of reptiles, 9 species of fish, 5 types of mollusks, and 26 species of plants.
- The current population of Angola is 30,955,611 as of September, 2018, based on the latest United Nations estimates.
- Angola population is equivalent to 0.4% of the globes population and ranks 46th among the nations of the world.
- The population density in Angola is 25 per Km2 (64 people per mi2).
- 37.6 % of the population is urban (11,568,534 people in 2018)
- The median age in Angola is 16.5 years.
The overwhelming majority of the population is Bantu, divided into a number of ethnolinguistic groupings. The main ones are the Ovimbundu, constituting some 37% of the population in 2005, the Kimbundu, totaling 25% of the population, and the Bakongo with 13%.
Portuguese is the official language - Other spoken languages include Umbundu, Kimbundu, Kikongo, and Tchokwe. Other dialects are used at local levels.
Christianity is the primary religion, with Roman Catholicism being the largest denomination. An estimated five million people are Roman Catholic. Almost half the population (47%) follow African traditional beliefs either exclusively or in conjunction with other faiths. The largest syncretic religious group is the Kimbanguist Church, whose followers believe that the mid-20th century Congolese pastor Joseph Kimbangu was a prophet. Communities in rural areas of the country practice animism and other indigenous religions. There is also a small Islamic community. The constitution provides for freedom of religion and this right is generally respected in practice.
Angola has about 26,000 km of roadways, but much of it is in need of repair and upgrade. There are three separate railway lines in Angola: Luanda Railway (CFL) (northern), Benguela Railway (CFB) (central), Moçâmedes Railway (CFM) (southern). There are 1,300 km navigable waterways. There are 211 airports in Angola, 30 of which are paved and the remainder are unpaved. There is an international airport in the capital Luanda; Quatro de Fevereiro International Airport.
Other interesting Facts About Angola:
- Angola’s ANTHEM is Angola Avanti (Onward Angola) and was adopted as the national anthem in November 1975, when the country gained its independence from Portugal. The lyrics make reference to several key events of the People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), which has been in power since independence and was the only party in Angola until 1992.
- Angola's economy is one of the world's fastest growing - Between 1994 and 2004, Angola had one of the world's fastest-growing economies. Recent programs set in place by President Joao Lourenco will ensure another boom in the economy.
- Angola is very rich in natural resources - The country is the 2nd largest oil and diamond producer in sub-Saharan Africa
- Luanda is known as the " Paris of Africa" - This title is apparently due to the city's sophisticated culture and atmosphere.
- Angola gained independence in 1975 - The country got independence from Portugal on November 11, 1975. It is the last country in Africa to gain independence from Portugal.
- Civil war lasted from independence (1975) to 2002 - After Angola gained independence, the country went through a long period of civil war, causing millions of lives to be lost.
- Angola has a very young population - Interestingly, nearly 70% of the population in Angola is under the age of 24.
- The name of the country is derived from the Kimbundu word N'gola, meaning King - N'gola (King) Kiluange was the king of the Ndongo Kingdom at the time of the Portuguese arrival in what is now Angola.
- The local currency is called the Kwanza (AOA) - 1 USD is about 286 Kwanza.
- The Angolan flag is red, black and gold - The red part of the flag represents the blood of Angolans killed in conflicts, the black represents the Angolan people, and as for the gold parts - the cogwheel represents industry, the gold machete represents peasantry, and the gold star is modeled after the star on the flag of the former Soviet Union.
- Angola's traditional music is the semba - Brazilian samba is believed to have originated in Angola, where it's known as "semba". The two are very similar. Angolan semba was danced to celebrate different occasions and is known as the music of the sea.
- Angola's national tree is the majestic imbondeiro - There is one tree that is special to Angolans, called "imbondeiro". There was a popular belief that God planted this tree, also known as "Boabob" upside down. The unusual looking imbondeiro tree can be found growing all over the country and on local artwork.