Cruising to Angola


Angola is slowly rebuilding its country after the end of a 27-year civil war in 2002. Fighting between the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), led by Jose Eduardo DOS SANTOS, and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), led by Jonas SAVIMBI, followed independence from Portugal in 1975.

Peace seemed imminent in 1992 when Angola held national elections, but UNITA renewed fighting after being beaten by the MPLA at the polls. Up to 1.5 million lives may have been lost - and 4 million people displaced - in the quarter century of fighting. SAVIMBI's death in 2002 ended UNITA's insurgency and strengthened the MPLA's hold on power. DOS SANTOS has pledged to hold legislative elections in 2006.


Location: 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: Africa
Area: total: 1,246,700 sq km


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


Angola's high growth rate is driven by its oil sector, with record oil prices and rising petroleum production. Oil production and its supporting activities contribute about half of GDP and 90% of exports. Increased oil production supported 12% growth in 2004 and 19% growth in 2005. A postwar reconstruction boom and resettlement of displaced persons has led to high rates of growth in construction and agriculture as well.

Much of the country's infrastructure is still damaged or undeveloped from the 27-year-long civil war. Remnants of the conflict such as widespread land mines still mar the countryside even though an apparently durable peace was established after the death of rebel leader Jonas SAVIMBI in February 2002. Subsistence agriculture provides the main livelihood for half of the population, but half of the country's food must still be imported. In 2005, the government started using a $2 billion line of credit from China to rebuild Angola's public infrastructure, and several large-scale projects are scheduled for completion by 2006.

The central bank in 2003 implemented an exchange rate stabilization program using foreign exchange reserves to buy kwanzas out of circulation, a policy that was more sustainable in 2005 because of strong oil export earnings, and has significantly reduced inflation. Consumer inflation declined from 325% in 2000 to about 18% in 2005, but the stabilization policy places pressure on international net liquidity.

To fully take advantage of its rich national resources - gold, diamonds, extensive forests, Atlantic fisheries, and large oil deposits - Angola will need to continue reforming government policies and to reduce corruption. The government has made sufficient progress on reforms recommended by the IMF such as promoting greater transparency in government spending but continues to be without a formal monitoring agreement with the institution.


Airports: 243 (2005)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 31
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 212
Pipelines: gas 214 km; liquid natural gas 14 km; liquid petroleum gas 30 km; oil 837 km; refined products 56 km (2004)
Railways: total: 2,761 km
narrow gauge: 2,638 km 1.067-m gauge; 123 km 0.600-m gauge (2004)
Roadways: total: 51,429 km


1,300 km (2005)

Merchant marine

Total: 4 ships (1000 GRT or over) 4,343 GRT/4,643 DWT
By type: cargo 1, passenger/cargo 2, petroleum tanker 1
Registered in other countries: 5 (The Bahamas 5) (2005)

Sailing Specifics: Ports and terminals

Cabinda, Luanda, Soyo

Other Sailing Destinations in the Region

Angola - Antarctica - Cameroon - Congo - Falkland Islands - Gambia - Ivory Coast - Mauritania - Namibia - Nigeria - St. Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha - Senegal - South Africa

Further Reading

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