Angola profile

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One of Africa’s major oil producers, Angola is striving to tackle the physical, social and political legacy of a 27-year civil war that ravaged the country after independence. Following the withdrawal of the Portuguese colonial masters in 1975, the rival former independence movements competed for power until 2002.  Much of Angola’s oil wealth lies in Cabinda province, where a decades-long separatist conflict simmers.  The government has sent thousands of troops to subdue the rebellion in the enclave, which has no border with the rest of Angola. Human rights groups have alleged abuses against civilians.FACTS The Republic of Angola Capital: Luanda  Population 29 million  Area 1.25m sq km (481,354 sq miles)  Major languages Portuguese (official), Umbundu, Kimbundu, Kikongo  Major religion Christianity  Life expectancy 58 years (men), 64 years (women)  Currency kwanza UN, World Bank Getty Images LEADER    Joao Lourenco became the country’s first new president in 38 years in September 2017. He was the chosen candidate of his predecessor Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who did not run in the general election but who was still expected to retain a strong influence over the running of the country. However, Mr Lourenco surprised many by firing several security chiefs close to his predecessor as well as the leaders of state-run companies, including Isabel dos Santos, who was removed from the helm of Sonangol.  Mr Lourenco is a retired general who first fought in the independence struggle against Portugal, and later against the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) during the civil war. MEDIA  Social media appeared to be under threat at the end of 2015 when President dos Santos called for their stricter regulation, at a time when the government was cracking down on political dissident and activism. For many urban Angolans, the internet has become the primary medium for expression of political anger because of the dangers of protesting on the streets. The state controls all media with nationwide reach, including radio, the most influential medium outside the capital.TIMELINE   – Kongo kingdom consolidates in the north. – Portuguese arrive.  – Angola becomes a major Portuguese trading arena for slaves. Between 1580 and 1680 a million plus are shipped to Brazil.  – Portugal consolidates colonial control over Angola, local resistance persists.  – Nationalist movement develops, guerrilla war begins. – Revolution in Portugal, colonial empire collapses. – Portuguese withdraw from Angola without formally handing power to any movement. MPLA is in control of Luanda and declares itself government of independent Angola. Unita and FNLA set up a rival government in Huambo.  Civil war begins, dragging on until 2002.  – Jose Eduardo dos Santos becomes country’s leader. He steps down 38 years later. – South African forces e

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