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Women's Empowerment in AngolaAs a country that experienced war until 2002, women’s empowerment in Angola was a neglected subject until recently. In 2009, the Angolan Executive began to implement the goals of the Beijing Platform for Action, which promotes gender equality and basic human rights.

Laws and Programs

In response to the Beijing Platform for Action and a desire to bridge the gender gap, Angola enforced several new laws. The Labour Code, the Family Code, the HIV/AIDS laws and the Nationality Law were all designed specifically to end the disparities in employment, land ownership, health and basic human rights between genders.

Following the laws, the National Development Plan for 2013-2017 was implemented in Angola to ensure equal opportunities were extended to men and women economically, socially, culturally and politically.

The government of Angola designed the Programme of Support to Gender and Women Promotion, Support to Victims of Violence, Valorization of the Family and Community Development and Rural Women Promotion. All programs are meant to target specific areas that act as barriers to women’s empowerment in Angola.

Literacy

Furthermore, beginning in 2013, USAID aided Angola through a project called Basic Education – Triumphant Women and Youth Project, which teaches literacy and strives to eliminate all illiteracy in Angola by 2025. USAID designated $1.2 million to the project, promoting Angolan’s access to the project’s classes.

In 2015 alone, around 500 Angolan women earned their two-year literacy diplomas. The Women and Youth Project has provided 5,600 women with adult courses, while also increasing the enrollment rates of students in primary schools. The project also supplies students with textbooks and other school materials.

Through literacy and education, women become much closer to ending gendered discrimination.

Ensuring Jobs

Since 2015, Africa has sought to include more females in the workplace. Through a project called Power Africa, female participation in the power and energy sectors has increased.

Women gain skills in business, electrical engineering, communication or salesman services. Power Africa is providing women with networking opportunities and a chance to rise to higher positions. Ending gender discrimination in the workplace throughout all of Africa is key to Angolan economic success.

Combining the equality efforts of the government, organizations like USAID and Africa’s overall influence, there has been a kickstart to the country’s goals of achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment in Angola.

– Brianna White

Photo: Flickr

development projects in AngolaAngola has an extremely diverse population of approximately 29 million people. It is a developing country with over 40 percent of its population living beneath the poverty line. There are various projects underway to develop the country. Here are 5 development projects in Angola.

  1. Institutional and Sustainability support to Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Service Delivery. Fifty percent of the population does not have access to clean water and sanitation facilities. This program would finance 5 Provincial Water and Sanitation Utilities in order to increase sanitation, increase water connections and promote hygiene.
  2. Local development project. According to the World Bank, the purpose of this project is to improve access of poor households to basic services and economic opportunities and to enhance local institutional capacities among Angola’s municipalities.
  3. Smallholder Agriculture Development and Commercialization Project. This project would increase smallholder agriculture productivity, production and marketing for selected crops in the project areas. This is beneficial since 10 percent of the population works in agriculture. Smallholder agriculture is key to food security in the region.
  4. Fisheries sector support project. The project will result in an increase of income from artisanal fishery and fishery-related activities, like fishing, processing, marketing, servicing and trade, according to African Development Bank. Since one of the agricultural products Angola is known for is fish, this is an exceptional development project in Angola.
  5. The Lauca Dam. The Lauca Dam is one of the largest projects underway in Africa. The dam will greatly affect Angola’s economy as it will provide access to more reliable energy and has provided jobs to 8,000 workers.

Due to the creation of these projects, Angola is moving forward and sparking development within the country. Angola is usually dependent on its oil, but as demand for oil changes so too does Angola’s market. With these development projects in Angola, the country can decrease the poverty faced by citizens.

– Dezanii Lewis

Photo: Flickr

Cost of Living in AngolaAccording to Mercer’s Annual Cost of Living Index, Luanda, the capital of Angola, is the world’s most expensive city. Renting a two-bedroom apartment costs $6,800 a month on average.

Around half of Angolans live on less than $2 a day, which raises the question: how has the cost of living in Angola become so unreachable to most of the population?

Several factors have produced the current economic situation. The Angolan Civil War, which lasted from 1975 until 2002, destroyed the country’s infrastructure. As a result, importing and exporting is a laborious and expensive process. The country’s business elite, who largely control the import companies, have made little attempt to bring down costs from which they profit.

Angola’s large expat population helps explain why the country is able to sustain its status as more expensive than Singapore or Hong Kong, despite the bulk of the population living in extreme poverty. Angola has Africa’s second-largest oil reserves and as a result, a large expat population based in Luanda has high levels of expendable income.

Post-civil war, Angola’s GDP grew at an astronomical rate, reaching 23 percent growth in 2008, buoyed by a flood of foreign investment. Housing and infrastructure failed to keep up. This has left the cost of living in Angola at its current unattainable level, with only Luanda’s expat population able to afford it.

Extreme poverty has indeed declined by one-third since the civil war, but economic inequality has grown exponentially throughout Angola’s oil boom. For rural Angolans, the country’s economic windfall has done little, aside from making the capital city an inaccessible place of extreme expense. The rural poverty rate stands at 57 percent, compared to 19 percent among urban Angolans.

The government is looking for resolutions and bringing down prices on basic foods has been made a priority. If this is successful, Angola’s cost of living can become less of a burden on its largely poverty-stricken population, who are currently shut out of the new wealth the country is enjoying.

Jonathan Riddick

Photo: Flickr


For nearly three decades, Angola struggled with instability fighting for its independence from Portugal and then faced a crippling civil war which left many citizens displaced in and out of the country. Now, Angola faces a new issue on the brink of their reparations for their returning citizens. Refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo are flooding into the country. Here are 10 Facts about Angola refugees.

  1. The three decades of war left 550,000 Angola refugees primarily fleeing to Zambia, Congo, The Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Africa.
  2. Since the ceasing of war in 2002, around 70,000 Angola refugees have returned home. Many of the different types of soldiers have also returned. “There are also an estimated 4.1 million IDPs, of which 80,000 are former UNITA soldiers,” according to the Council of Foreign Relations.
  3. Though there are many refugees who have returned, there are still 73,000 people in exile. A lot of these people are scared to return home.
  4. In the end of 2016, South Africa was allowing Angola refugees, living in the country to apply for permanent residency status, for a limited time, ending the application process on the December 15th, 2016.
  5. In 2012, the Democratic Republic of the Congo ended the refugee status of Angola Refugees. This was part of a government plan to get refugees to return to Angola. During this time 23,000 people returned but as of 2014, 47,815 remained, not wanting to leave.
  6. For those who have returned to Angola, they have found the re-integration process hard to adjust to. Luckily the economy in Angola is getting a lot better but still high rates of unemployment and poverty remain. As Reported by Aljazeera.com, “Some even returned to the DRC after discovering little had been done by Angolan authorities to prepare for their arrival.”
  7. Now, refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo are flooding into Angola, due to problems back home. More than twenty thousand refugees from the DR Congo have fled to Angola since April 2017. In the second week of March 2017, nearly 3,000 had entered Angola with 70 percent of that population being women and children.
  8. Many of the Democratic Republic of the Congo refugees entering Angola arrive with severe wounds and burns and must be brought to emergency medical treatment immediately. In the second week of May alone, 70 patients were being treated for extreme burns injuries.
  9. The UNHR is helping the Angolan government cope with the current and urgent influx of refugees. The organization provides the government with: food and relief to new arrivals, distributing and pitching up tents for makeshift shelter and finding places that are able to successfully accommodate the refugees.
  10. Children make up one third of the Democratic Republic of the Congo refugees entering Angola. These child refugees are also the most vulnerable group, who are dying because of lack of food, medicine and basic hygiene.

The refugee situation in Angola has come full circle for the government and people of Angola. Luckily with a stable government, Angola is now able to help refugees who are coming from neighboring countries.

Maria Rodriguez

Photo: Flickr


Poverty in Angola runs high; roughly 40 percent of the population currently lives below the poverty line. The combination of a long, drawn-out civil war, systematic political corruption and economic crisis have prevented the country from establishing itself as a stable and prosperous state since Angola received its independence from Portugal in 1975.

While Angola does not have many lucrative exports, oil does make an important contribution to the country’s economy. Between 2006 and 2016, it accounted for as much as 97 percent of exports on average each year and, while there has been some reinvestment into national infrastructure, the president, José Eduardo dos Santos, has received criticism for not redistributing the profits fairly and using the financial boost from oil exports to reduce poverty in Angola as much as he could have.

Beyond its meddling in the oil industry, other forms of government corruption and nepotism are also rife in Angola. One particularly prominent example is the appointment of the president’s daughter, Isabel dos Santos, to the position of chief executive of the state-run oil firm in 2016. Forbes ranks her the richest woman in Africa, and she has an estimated net worth of more than $3 billion. Meanwhile, there is extreme poverty in much of Angola and subsistence farming is the main source of income for the majority of her countrymen and women.

This over-reliance on oil causes another problem: Angola is especially vulnerable to the fluctuations in the global oil market. Just last year, a global drop in oil prices resulted in an economic catastrophe for Angola. This triggered a rise in prices on everything from food and fuel to healthcare, putting an even greater strain on the country’s poorest inhabitants. The situation was exacerbated when the government imposed tough austerity measures, a move the U.N. Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights deemed regressive and concerning.

Meanwhile, in a bid to diversify the economy with additional sources of revenue, huge land grabs have taken place at the hands of government officials and private businesses. In many cases, citizens have been forcibly evicted without adequate housing alternatives and proper compensation. Instead, they have been resettled in makeshift housing with little access to amenities such as healthcare, education, water and electricity.

Even before this move, access to healthcare and education has been severely limited, helping to reinforce a cycle of poverty. So while progress – although slow – has been made in both areas since peace was established in 2002, there is still much progress to be made. More investment is needed in the country’s public services to alleviate levels of poverty in Angola.

Rosie McCall

Photo: Flickr

 Zambia Refugees
Zambia has been welcoming refugees for more than 50 years and is currently hosting over 54,000 refugees. The majority come from Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Rwanda. Here are 10 facts about Zambia refugees:

    1.  Many Angolan refugees have been living, working, and raising families in Zambia for over 40 years. Historically, the Zambian government has tried to repatriate refugees to their country of origin, but refugees that have lived in Zambia for a long period of time have little desire to leave.
    2.  In 2014 the Zambian Government, UNHCR and the U.N. Refugee Agency launched a three-year local integration strategy. The Strategic Framework for the Local Integration of Former Refugees in Zambia is to benefit refugees who want to remain in Zambia.
    3. The Strategic Framework for the Local Integration of Former Refugees in Zambia provides refugees with long-term residence permits, country-of-origin identity documents, and passports. Residents will live in one of two settlements — Meheba in North-Western and Mayukwayukwa — chosen for this purpose. Refugees will have access to education, health services, and demarcated land.
    4. In 2016, The World Bank approved a $20 million International Development Association credit to help implement the local integration program.
    5. A study conducted by the Institute of Economic and Social Research reveals that refugees contribute to Zambia’s economy by farming, running small businesses and employing Zambians.
    6. Refugees each bring their own set of skills to Zambia, including how to run a small business, rice and cassava farming, and making clay roofing tiles.
    7. Over 24,000 refugees will be given residency permits. Zambia refugees can apply for citizenship after living in Zambia for five or 10 years (the length of time varies depending on if the refugee was born in Zambia or in a country outside Zambia).
    8. The Strategic Framework for the Local Integration of Former Refugees in Zambia will provide families with 5-hectares of land, homes, and farming inputs and tools.
    9.  Refugee rights are protected by the 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. Among those rights is the right to freedom of movement and residence in whichever country they choose to live, as long as they abide by the laws in that country.
    10. Beginning in 2015, UNHCR will provide cash-based assistance to refugees instead of food. UNHCR will also help governments to provide access to social services.

 

Mary Barringer

Photo: Flickr

HIV/AIDS in Angola
On Aug. 5, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Global Fund announced a $30 million grant to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS in Angola, as well as improve coverage of therapy and treatment.

In 2014, there were 300,000 people in Angola living with HIV and 26 percent of adults received antiretroviral treatment coverage. The grant for HIV/AIDS seeks to solve challenges like the elimination of mother-to-child transmission, adherence to antiretroviral treatment and prevention for young people.

The grant for HIV/AIDS in Angola will also increase coverage in several areas like antiretroviral therapy, testing and counseling and the promise of long-term treatment. Antiretroviral therapy recently proved itself to be an effective way to suppress the HIV Virus and prevent the disease from progression and transmission to more people.

This course of treatment is particularly effective at reducing death and infections when performed in a regimen.

The grant also seeks to include key populations into its strategy for HIV/AIDS in Angola. The grant has a strong focus on sex and reproductive health education and rights including HIV for adolescents, youth and girls. According to the WHO, the strategy is to increase the amount of “HIV-positive pregnant women on antiretroviral therapy.”

The national strategic plan for key populations in Angola also includes “sex workers and men who have sex with men.” The grant includes funds for a legal environment assessment and will propose steps for strengthening the human rights environment to create a more effective HIV response. According to the UNDP, training is provided for “health workers, prison workers and police to reduce stigma and discrimination” towards these key populations.

The grant for HIV/AIDS in Angola will run from July 2016 to June 2018 with a focus on preventing future spread of the disease within the country and lowering the numbers of people living with HIV/AIDS.

Taameen Mohammad

Photo: UNDP

Decreased_Poverty_AngolaThis past week, the Director General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) discussed Angolan anti-poverty goals. Specifically, Director General José Graziano de Silva stated that the Angolan government is prioritizing the reduction of the country’s poverty rate by one half.

The Brazilian diplomat went on to remind his audience of the extreme conflict situations that Angola has faced in the past. He stressed that the country had all of its farming fields contaminated by landmines, but ended on a positive note, stating that the country is now recovering extraordinarily.

He made it clear that he wants Angola to serve as an example for other countries. For African countries still facing similar conflicts, the FAO is doing all that it can to spread the word of Angola’s experience.

For Angola specifically, the FAO has pledged its willingness to provide help and cooperation in fields such as agriculture, rural development, forests, fisheries and all other necessary focus areas. The hope is that, with time, these types of assistance will be provided across the entire continent.

Deputy Permanent Representative of Angola to the U.N. Agencies in Rome, Carlos Amaral, echoed the FAO Director General’s enthusiasm and determination. When asked about the situation of poverty rates and hunger in Angola, he boasted of the country’s recent accomplishments.

Amaral revealed to his audience that, although in the past the country hosted 6.8 million undernourished people, current records show only 3.2 million people suffering from malnourishment. He stated, “There is still work to be done regarding poverty reduction, but anyways there are indications that Angola is on the right track.”

Along with Angola, African countries like Ethiopia, Ghana, Rwanda and Uganda have been making notable strides in poverty reduction. They all share the same strategy: making a commitment to their own agricultural development.

For low-income farmers, lack of access to the capital required to help adapt their outputs to market demands presents a major issue. The protection of certain resources, such as access to proper land, water and human resources, could potentially allow all of Africa to achieve a sustainable food security system.

Continued urbanization amidst a growing population will create continued agricultural growth in Africa. Between 2000 and 2010, Africa’s agricultural GDP grew 3.2% each year. This was an increase from the previous decade, in which it grew by only 3% annually.

This moderate growth in the agricultural sector has helped to greatly reduce poverty levels in many African countries. With the FAO’s pledge to increase efforts in providing access to agricultural resources, Africa can now look ahead to an even brighter future.

Existing programs that target the agricultural sector, such as the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme and the African Green Revolution, have already gotten the ball rolling.

With a continued broad emphasis on agricultural development and improved focus in areas like protecting resources, creating wealth, and defining strategy and investment, Africa could redefine itself as a continent. It could shift from a continent known for poverty and scarcity to one filled with abounding agricultural potential.

Sarah Bernard

Sources: All Africa 1, All Africa 2, Huffington Post
Photo: VOA

AngonixA platform for neutral Internet traffic exchange was set up in Luanda, the capital of Angola. It is called Angonix and it is meant to help serve all Internet users with improved content viewing by structuring a better connection with global networks and content providers. With a previously less optimal experience in Angola, Angonix will expand Internet usage to the South African Development Community and elsewhere.

Angonix will change the connection performance. Content delivered by outside sources had provided minimal performance and high latency. The main goal of Angonix is to ensure every member connected to the platform will have low latency and improved content.

Angonix is operated by Angola Cables, who also oversee the connectivity of Angola with the world’s undersea fibre-optic cables. With Angonix, quality service to content will enable the progression of African Internet outreach and global connection. Places in Africa, such as Zambia, still rely on satellite Internet connectivity, which is ultimately unreliable.

Launched March 16, 2015, the expected traffic has enhanced quality content especially in exchanging information between clients and providers. In the past, local clients had to travel some distance to interconnect. This was thanks to configuration problems of network providers.

Working to minimize that distance, providers will have easy access in communicating with clients and vice versa. This development is meant to dramatically change the African Internet landscape. It’s been designed to reach beyond Angola and to help provide low latency between Africa, East Asia and the Americas.

iHub is an online and offline community that hosts a place for 50 companies to connect to clients and has held 500 events. It is a space for online developers working with technology software and is a very well known site in Africa.
Sites like this need to be able to connect elsewhere on the continent. Governments are currently struggling with net neutrality debates and whether or not laws should be in place to support investments that connect rural Africa to enabled environments.

Fibre-optic cables are still needed in South Africa to improve Internet access and link those citizens to the world. The problem is that homes and businesses cannot connect.

Rural Africa is the untapped market. Lesser-developed regions such as Somalia had 200 users in 2000, but 163,185 users in 2014 with a population of 10 million. The Congo Democratic Republic had 500 users in 2000, but 1.7 million users in 2014 with a population of 77 million.

The Communication Commission of Kenya reported 330 thousand mobile users in 2001, and 30 million in 2013. The Angola population had 30 thousand people using the Internet in the year 2000, and 4 million in 2014 with a population of 19 million. Kenya had 200 thousand Internet users in 2000, but 21 million users in 2014 with a population of 45 million.

In sub-Saharan Africa there are over 754 million connections and over 35 mobile networks operators. An SMS-based banking system called M-Pesa in Kenya transfers $24 million daily. Zimbabwe’s EcoCash signed up 2.3 million people in more than a year, after starting in 2011. More than a million accounts push $200 million through EcoCash monthly.

Yet, the continent produces less than one Terabits per second. Angola produces 20 gigabits per second. The demand of improved, constant Internet access is supposed to raise Terabit per second to 10 by 2020, according to TeleGeography.

Projects like West African Cables Systems and South Africa Cable Systems improve connectivity as Angonix improves capacity services. With this, better quality increases capacity of performance, communication and outreach.

The Southern African Development Community has advanced its Internet market. The opportunity for expansion and innovation comes from this improvement. Angola Cables is working to better the growth of Africa with its new technologies in providing services. By improving outreach to the World Wide Web Africa’s communication and business, practices will continue to enhance and expand to rural areas.

– Katie Groe

Sources: IT News Africa, Angola Cables, Angonix 1, Angonix 2, UN, Internet Word Stats
Photo: Africa 21

ethiopia_school_girls
Aid coming in from governments, national charities, and private fundraisers have made stories of success possible. Even though the majority still continue to struggle and suffer from extreme poverty, there are occasional glimmers of light that shine through.

Ethiopia has made strides when it comes to learning how to purify water. Learning this essential task has strengthened the community of Germaam and improved health.

A family living in Cambodia was saved from the unsafe task of scavenging through piles of garbage in order to make money for food and shelter. A World Vision worker directed the family to aid that eventually helped the young family out of poverty. Now with education and training, the family is able to provide the essentials for themselves, which includes food, water, and shelter.

Remote villages in Uganda receive much needed aid for basic health care, as well as high risk procedures, such as pregnancies and child birth. Since aid has arrived to these communities, infant and maternal deaths have decreased, along with the decrease of illness due to cholera and hepatitis exposure.

In Ethiopia and Angola, the amount of girls receiving an education has risen dramatically. In fact, both countries have seen over a 40 percent increase in enrollment between 2000 and 2011.

Rwanda and Liberia have each seen a 40 percent to 50 percent reduction in child mortality rates these past few years.

There continues to be great strides in the fight to eradicate global poverty. Every day, poverty-stricken people and their communities benefit from the aid sent to them, though unfortunately, more foreign aid is needed in order to eradicate poverty.  Still, millions of adults and children suffer from preventable diseases, lack of clean water, and lack of food every day. Every second, a child dies from poverty.

Every day, 22,000 children die from poverty, 1.8 million die from diarrhea, and 2.2 million die from not having access to vaccines.  Global poverty continues to and will forever be a growing problem unless committed foreign aid is put in place.

– Amy Robinson

Sources: Global Issues, World Vision, Global Hope Network, World Vision – Campaign
Photo: Michael McCasky