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Angola on the road of de-dollarization

While inequality grows, Sino-Russian bloc is ready to take over the country

Despite being the fifth largest economy in Africa, ordinary Angolans have seen little change in their standard of living. Only 37.8% of country's 21 million people have access to electricity. While about half of the population has access to safe drinking water, this number falls to 34% in rural areas ...”

There are few jobs for the unemployed, mostly under 25 years, who make up 60% of the population.”

Angola is Africa's second biggest oil producer after Nigeria. [...] Last year, according to the US Energy Information Administration, an agency that provides statistics and analyses on energy, Angola produced 1.85 million barrels of petroleum per day, and oil revenues could top $60 billion this year, [...] But as with other oil-producing countries in Africa, oil has not proved to be a benefit to Angolans. If anything, say analysts, it has produced few jobs, increased inequality and allegations of corruption.”

Oil production and its supporting activities contribute about 45% to the nation's gross domestic product (GDP) and 80% to government revenues. With little diversification, the Angolan economy has limited investment and job opportunities, and generates growth only for a small group of elites, economists say. In fact, in terms of the composition of its exports, Angola is the world's second most concentrated economy after Iraq, ...”

Rafael Marques de Morais, an Angolan journalist, human rights activist and anti-corruption campaigner, recently filed a criminal complaint against two diamond mining companies and their directors, including top military officers. In response, authorities labelled him an 'official suspect' and officials from some mining companies have accused him of defamation. Isabel dos Santos, the billionaire daughter of the Angolan president, is said to be one of the main beneficiaries of the diamond trade in Angola, according to an article this year in Forbes business magazine.”

Chinese investors are heavily involved in Angola's large-scale public works such as roads, rails, and other infrastructure (see Africa Renewal January 2013). But critics say these investors do not create sufficient jobs because they bring most of their workers from China. In 2008 alone, the Angolan consulate in China issued more than forty thousand visas to Chinese workers, reports the bimonthly global affairs journal, World Affairs. For example, the China International Trust and Investment Corporation employed 12,000 Chinese workers and only a handful of Angolans during the peak of the Kilamba Kiaxo social housing development project in Luanda. In addition, the journal states that while the majority of Chinese in Angola work in the construction sector, thousands later branch out into real estate, retail, street hawking, etc.”

This year, Angola's central bank plans to de-dollarize the foreign exchange market to limit the use of foreign currency in local transactions. In the past, most oil receipts were conducted offshore; the new laws require transactions to be handled onshore.”

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