Flag of Angola

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Civil war has been the norm in Angola since independence from Portugal in 1975. A 1994 peace accord between the government and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) provided for the integration of former UNITA insurgents into the government and armed forces. A national unity government was installed in April of 1997, but serious fighting resumed in late 1998, rendering hundreds of thousands of people homeless. Up to 1.5 million lives may have been lost in fighting over the past quarter century. The death of insurgent leader Jonas SAVIMBI in 2002 and a subsequent cease-fire with UNITA may bode well for the country.


Southern Africa, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Namibia and Democratic Republic of the Congo

Geographic coordinates:

12 30 S, 18 30 E

Map references:



1,600 km

Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm


semiarid in south and along coast to Luanda; north has cool, dry season (May to October) and hot, rainy season (November to April)


narrow coastal plain rises abruptly to vast interior plateau

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Morro de Moco 2,620 m

Natural resources:

petroleum, diamonds, iron ore, phosphates, copper, feldspar, gold, bauxite, uranium

Land use:

arable land: 2.41%
permanent crops: 0.24%
other: 97.35% (2001)

Irrigated land:

750 sq km (1998 est.)

Natural hazards:

locally heavy rainfall causes periodic flooding on the plateau

Environment - current issues:

overuse of pastures and subsequent soil erosion attributable to population pressures; desertification; deforestation of tropical rain forest, in response to both international demand for tropical timber and to domestic use as fuel, resulting in loss of biodiversity; soil erosion contributing to water pollution and siltation of rivers and dams; inadequate supplies of potable water

Geography - note:

the province of Cabinda is an exclave, separated from the rest of the country by the Democratic Republic of the Congo


10,978,552 (July 2004 est.)

Population growth rate:

1.93% (2004 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 36.79 years
male: 36.06 years
female: 37.55 years (2004 est.)

Total fertility rate:

6.33 children born/woman (2004 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

3.9% (2003 est.)

people living with HIV/AIDS:

240,000 (2003 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

21,000 (2003 est.)


indigenous beliefs 47%, Roman Catholic 38%, Protestant 15% (1998 est.)


Portuguese (official), Bantu and other African languages


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 42%
male: 56%
female: 28% (1998 est.)

Country name:

conventional long form: Republic of Angola
conventional short form: Angola
local short form: Angola
former: People's Republic of Angola
local long form: Republica de Angola

Government type:

republic, nominally a multiparty democracy with a strong presidential system




11 November 1975 (from Portugal)

National holiday:

Independence Day, 11 November (1975)

Economy - overview:

Angola has been an economy in disarray because of a quarter century of nearly continuous warfare. An apparently durable peace was established after the death of rebel leader Jonas SAVIMBI on February 22, 2002, but consequences from the conflict continue including the impact of wide-spread land mines. Subsistence agriculture provides the main livelihood for 85% of the population. Oil production and the supporting activities are vital to the economy, contributing about 45% to GDP and more than half of exports. Much of the country's food must still be imported. To fully take advantage of its rich natural resources - gold, diamonds, extensive forests, Atlantic fisheries, and large oil deposits - Angola will need to continue reforming government policies and to reduce corruption. While Angola made progress in bringing inflation down further, from 325% in 2000 to about 106% in 2002, the government has failed to make sufficient progress on reforms recommended by the IMF such as increasing foreign exchange reserves and promoting greater transparency in government spending. Increased oil production supported 7% GDP growth in 2003.

Population below poverty line:

70% (2003 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

76.6% (2003 est.)

Labor force:

5.57 million (2003 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture 85%, industry and services 15% (2003 est.)

Unemployment rate:

extensive unemployment and underemployment affecting more than half the population (2001 est.)

Agriculture - products:

bananas, sugarcane, coffee, sisal, corn, cotton, manioc (tapioca), tobacco, vegetables, plantains; livestock; forest products; fish


petroleum; diamonds, iron ore, phosphates, feldspar, bauxite, uranium, and gold; cement; basic metal products; fish processing; food processing; brewing; tobacco products; sugar; textiles

Industrial production growth rate:

1% (2000)

Reserves of foreign exchange & gold:

$638.4 million (2003)

Debt - external:

$9.164 billion (2003 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:

$383.5 million (1999)


kwanza (AOA)

Fiscal year:

calendar year

Telephones - main lines in use:

96,300 (2003)

Telephones - mobile cellular:

130,000 (2002)

Telephone system:

general assessment: telephone service limited mostly to government and business use; HF radiotelephone used extensively for military links
domestic: limited system of wire, microwave radio relay, and tropospheric scatter
international: country code - 244; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); fiber optic submarine cable (SAT-3/WASC) provides connectivity to Europe and Asia


total: 2,761 km
narrow gauge: 2,638 km 1.067-m gauge; 123 km 0.600-m gauge (2003)


total: 51,429 km
paved: 5,349 km
unpaved: 46,080 km (1999)


1,300 km (2004)


gas 214 km; liquid natural gas 14 km; liquid petroleum gas 30 km; oil 845 km; refined products 56 km (2003)

Ports and harbors:

Ambriz, Cabinda, Lobito, Luanda, Malongo, Namibe (Mocamedes), Porto Amboim, Soyo

Merchant marine:

total: 7 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 26,123 GRT/42,879 DWT
by type: cargo 6, petroleum tanker 1
registered in other countries: 4 (2003 est.)


244 (2003 est.)

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 32
over 3,047 m: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 8
1,524 to 2,437 m: 14
914 to 1,523 m: 5
under 914 m: 1 (2003 est.)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 212
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 4
1,524 to 2,437 m: 30
914 to 1,523 m: 96
under 914 m: 80 (2003 est.)

Disputes - international:

continues to give shelter to refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo while many Angolan refugees and Cabinda exclave secessionists reside in neighboring states

Illicit drugs:

used as a transshipment point for cocaine destined for Western Europe and other African states