Angola Poverty

Since the end of Angola's twenty seven year long civil war in 2002, the country has seen unprecedented economic growth however over 68% of the 18 million + population still live on less than $2 a day. This in a country where a sandwich in a prosperous business area of Luanda can cost £18.00. In the HDI (Human Development Index) which is measured by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) and the World Bank based upon the life expectancy, literacy, access to knowledge and living standards of a country, Angola is in 148th place out of 186 countries and territories in 2013.

Angola PovertyThe boom in this economic growth has largely been fuelled by oil exports with Angola now Africa's second main oil producer after Nigeria however has this boom had led to an increasing divide between the haves and have-nots in Angola. This has been exacerbated by the relentless march of the Chinese into the country eager to exploit its natural resources.

As such large dwelling areas have been cleared for office and business development forcing already poor Angolans to displace themselves into either slums or shanties unable to afford the housing prices at places such as Nova Cidade de Kilamba (Kilamba New City) built by the China International Trust and Investment Corporation to rehouse those moved from their homes in the building program in Luanda. At the lowest price of £54,000 most of these new homes understandably remain empty.

It is estimated that the gap between the richest 10% of Angolans differs by 130 times that of poor Angolans ($25,000 and $190 respectively.) As U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon commented "Angola has great wealth, but it also has large gaps between rich and poor," adding "the government should do more to strengthen the social fabric by promoting social equity and ensuring a better distribution of income. This is a matter of stability, prosperity and justice."

Angola Poverty PicturesThere have been reports that much of this wealth created by the oil industry has gone missing and there have been calls for Angola's government to account for $32 billion that appears to have disappeared from its coffers in recent years, money that appears to have found its way into the bank accounts of the already rich, not spent on meeting the needs of those living in poverty in Angola.

The government has dismissed these allegations citing poor record keeping and accounting, however, Transparency International, the anti-corruption campaigning body, ranked Angola in the top 20 most corrupt countries in the world in recent years.

Poverty is more severe, as expected, in rural areas of the country where few houses have running water or sanitation with most fetching water from unsafe sources. Housing is very basic and access to health services is poor with the highest infant mortality rate in the world. 45% of children in Angola suffer from malnutrition and life expectancy is just 38yrs with subsistence farming being the main livelihood for the majority of Angolan citizens.

The video (top, right) shows the disparities between the rich and poor in Angola. The table below shows the poverty situation in Angola compared with two other countries for illustrative purposes.

Angola’s MPI for 2011 relative to selected countries

  MPI Value Intensity of deprivation Population vulnerable to poverty Population in severe poverty Population below income poverty line
Angola 0.452 58.4% 10.7% 54.8% 54.3%
Senegal 0.384 57.4% 11.6% 44.4% 33.5%
Zambia 0.328 51.2% 17.2% 38.4% 64.3%

MPI = Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), which identifies multiple deprivations in the same households in education, health and standard of living.


Human Development Index for Angola 2000 - Present

Angola is in 148th place out of 186 countries and territories in the 2013 HDI (Human Development Index) and the chart below shows how levels of poverty and living standards Angola are slightly above sub-Saharan standards but well below world standards.

Angola Poverty

Angola Poverty

Angola Poverty

Angola Poverty


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