The Flag


Flag Description

The flag of Angola was adopted on November 11, 1975. The flag has horizontal bands of red and black that stands for freedom or death. The yellow emblem, which is symbolic of the country's mineral wealth, consists of a star, symbolizing internationalism and progress, a machete, symbolizing agricultural workers, and half of a cogwheel, symbolizing industrial workers.





Angola Location

Angola is located in Southern Africa, borders the South Atlantic Ocean, and is between Namibia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.


Angola is rebuilding its country after the end of a 27 year civil war in 2002. Fighting between the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola, or MPLA, led by Jose Eduardo Dos Santos, and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola, or UNITA, led by Jonas Savimbi, followed independence from Portugal in 1975. Peace seemed imminent in 1992 when Angola held national elections, but fighting picked up again by 1996 with UNITA. Up to 1.5 million lives have been lost and 4 million people displaced in only the quarter centurt of fighting. Savimbi's death in 2002 ended UNITA's insurgency and strengthened the MPLA's hold on power. President Dos Santos held legislature elections in September 2008, and despite promising to hold presidential elections in 2009, has since made a presidential poll contingent on the drafting of a new constitution.


  • Area: 1,246,700 sq. km. (481,400 sq. mi.)

    • About twice the size of Texas

  • Terrain: A narrow, dry coastal plain that rises abruptly to vast interior plateau

    • Extends from Luanda in the far north to Namibia in the south

    • Well watered agriculture

  • Highlands: Savanna in the far east and south and the rain forest in the north

  • Climate: Tropical

  • Border Countries:

    • Total: 5,198 k.m.

    • Democratic Republic of the Congo 2,511 k.m.

    • Republic of the Congo 201 k.m.

    • Namibia 1,376 k.m.

    • Zambia 1,110 k.m.

  • Natural Resources:

    • Petroleum

    • Diamonds

    • Iron Ore

    • Phosphates

    • Copper

    • Feldspar

    • Gold

    • Bauxite

    • Uranium

  • Land Use:

    • Arable Land: 2.65%

    • Permanent Crops: 0.23%

    • Other: 97.12% (2005)

  • Natural Hazards: Heavy rainfall causes periodic flooding on the plateau

  • Environmental Issues:

    • Overuse of pastures and subsequent soil erosion attributable to population pressures

    • Desertification

    • Deforestation of tropical rain forest

    • Soil erosion contributing to water pollution and siltation of rivers and dams

    • Inadequate supplies of potable water


  • Population: 12,799,293

  • Population Growth Rate: 2.095%

  • Age Structure:

    • 0-14 years: 43.5% (male 2,812,359/female 2,759,047)

    • 15-64 years: 53.7% (male 3,496,726/female 3,382,440)

    • 65 years and over: 2.7% (male 153,678/female 195,043)

  • Birth Rate: 43.69 births/1,000 population

  • Death Rate: 24.08 deaths/1,000 population

  • Net Migration Rate: 1.34 migrants/1,000 population

  • Infant Mortality Rate:

    • Male: 192.24 deaths/1,000 live births

    • Female: 167.58 deaths/1,000 live births

  • Life Expectancy:

    • Male: 37.24 years

    • Female: 39.22 years

  • Major Infectious Diseases:

    • Degree of risk: very high

    • Food or waterborne diseases: Bacterial and Protozoal Diarrhea, Hepatitis A, Typhoid Fever

    • Vectorborne diseases: Malaria, African Trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness)

    • Water contact disease: Schistosomiasis

  • Nationality: Angolan

  • Ethnic Groups:

    • Ovimbundu 37%

    • Kimbundu 25%

    • Bakongo 13%

    • Mestico (mixed European and native African) 2%

    • European 1%

    • Other 22%

  • Religions:

    • Indigenous Beliefs 47%

    • Roman Catholic 38%

    • Protestant 15%

  • Languages:

    • Portuguese (official)

    • Bantu

    • Umbundo

    • Kimbundu

    • Kikongo

    • Other African Languages

  • Literacy:

    • Age 15 and over can read and write

    • Male: 82.9%

    • Female: 54.2%

  • Education:

    • 2.4% of GDP


  • Government Type: Republic

  • Capital: Luanda

  • Currency: Kwanza

  • Independence: November 11, 1975

  • Constitution: Adopted by People's Assembly August 25, 1992

  • Legal System

    • Based on Portuguese civil law system and customary law

    • Modified to accommodate political pluralism and increased use of free markets

    • Has not accepted cumpulsory ICJ jurisdiction

  • Suffrage:

    • 18 years of age

    • Universal

  • Executive Branch:

    • Chief of State: President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos

      • Since September 21, 1979

    • Head of Government: President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos

      • Since September 21, 1979

    • Cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president

  • Legislative Branch:

    • Unicameral National Assembly

    • 220 seats

    • Members elected by proportional vote to serve 4-year terms

  • Judicial Branch:

    • Supreme Court and separate provincial courts

    • Judges are appointed by the president


  • Economic Overview:

    • Angola's high growth rate in recent years was driven by its oil sector, and high international oil prices. Oil production and its supporting activities contribute about 85% of GDP. Increased oil production supported growth averaging more than 15% per year from 2004 to 2007. The global recession and lower prices led to a contraction in GDP in 2009. 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 most of the people, but half of the country's food must still be imported. Since 2005, the government has used billions of dollars in credit lines from China, Brazil, Portugal, Germany, Spain, and the EU to rebuild Angola's public infrastructure. Although consumer inflation declined from 325% in 2000 to under 13% in 2008, the stabilization policy proved unsustainable and Angola abandoned its currency peg in 2009. Angola became a member of OPEC in late 2006 and in late 2007 was assigned a production quota of 1.9 million barrels a day (bbl), somewhat less than the 2-2.5 million bbl Angola's government had wanted. In November 2009 the IMF announced its approval of Luanda's request for a Stand-By Arrangement; the loan of $1.4 billion aims to rebuild Angola's international reserves. Corruption, especially in the extractive sectors, is a major challenge.

  • GDP (Purchasing Power Parity): About $107 billion
  • GDP (Official Exchange Rate): About $68.76 billion

  • GDP (Real Growth Rate): About -0.3%

  • GDP (Per Capita): About $8,400

  • GDP (Composition by Sector):

    • Agriculture: 9.6%

    • Industry: 65.8%

    • Services: 24.6%

  • Labor Force: About 7.769 million

  • Labor Force By Occupation:

    • Agriculture: 85%

    • Industry and Services: 15%

  • Agriculture Products:

    • Bananas

    • Sugarcane

    • Coffee

    • Sisal

    • Corn

    • Cotton

    • Manioc (tapioca)

    • Tobacco

    • Vegetables

    • Plantains

    • Livestock

    • Forest products

    • Fish

  • Industries:

    • Petroleum

    • Diamonds

    • Iron Ore

    • Phosphates

    • Feldspar

    • Bauxite

    • Uranium

    • Gold

    • Cement

    • Basic Metal Products

    • Fish Processing

    • Food Processing

    • Brewing

    • Tobacco Products

    • Sugar

    • Textiles

    • Ship Repair

  • Exports:

    • About $40.65 billion

    • Commodities:

      • Crude Oil

      • Diamonds

      • Refined Petroleum Products

      • Coffee

      • Sisal

      • Fish

      • Fish Products

      • Timber

      • Cotton

    • Partners:

      • China 35.65%

      • US 25.98%

      • France 8.83%

      • South Africa 4.13%

  • Imports:

    • About $15.74 billion

    • Commodities:

      • Machinery

      • Electrical Equipment

      • Vehicles

      • Spare Parts

      • Medicines

      • Food

      • Textiles

      • Military Goods

    • Partners:

      • Portugal 18.71%

      • China 17.39%

      • US 8.51%

      • Brazil 8.22%

      • South Korea 6.72%

      • France 4.51%

      • Italy 4.28%

      • South Africa 4.02%


  • Telephone:

    • Main Lines In Use: About 114,300

    • Mobile Cellular: About 6.773 million

  • Internet:

    • Hosts: 3,717

    • Users: About 550,000

  • Transportation:

    • Airports: 193

    • Railroads (Total): 2,764 k.m.

    • Roadways (Total): 51,429 k.m.

    • Waterways: About 1,300 k.m.


  • Military Branches:

    • Angolan Armed Forces (FAA): Army, Navy

    • Angolan National Air Force (FANA)

  • Military Service Age and Obligation

    • 20-45 years of age for compulsory

    • 18-45 years for voluntary military service

    • Angolan citizenship required

    • Minimum age for women volunteers is 20

Transnational Issues

  • Illicit Drugs: Used as a transshipment point for cocaine destined for Western Europe and other African states, particularly South Africa


  • January 1 - New Year's Day

  • January 4 - Martyrs of the Colonial Repression Day

  • March 8 - International Women's Day

  • April 2 - Good Friday

  • April 4 - Peace and Reconciliation Day

  • April 5 - Easter Monday

  • May 1 - Labour Day

  • May 5 - Africa Day

  • June 1 - International Children's Day

  • September 17 - Nation's Founder and National Heroes Day

  • November 1 - All Souls Day

  • November 11 - Independence Day

  • December 25 - Christmas Day

    • Holidays falling on a Saturday or Sunday are observed the following Monday.

Angolan Society and Culture

  • The Angolan People:

    • Although many people when asked may say they are Angolan, most of them will really have their primary sense of identity and loyalty to a tribe. The various tribes and ethnic groups tend to cluster in certain areas of the country each with their own customs, language and history.

    • The major ethnic groups are the Ovimnumdu, the largest, who live predominantly in the central highlands; the Mbundu who cluster around Luanda province; and the Bakongo who live in the northwest provinces. Other large groups include the Nganguela and the Lunda-Chockwe.

  • Spirit Worship:

    • Traditional Angolan religions believe in a close connection with the spirit of dead ancestors. They believe that ancestors play a part in the lives of the living. Therefore, the spirits of dead ancestors remain prominent members of the community.

    • Ancestral worship is a common thread through many indigenous religions. It is considered that not revering the dead can jeopardize the living. It is thought that people must appease the ancestors so that they do not harm the living. It is believed that ancestors can bring famine, plague, disease, personal loss, and other catastrophes.

    • Ancestors are worshiped through ritual performances and ceremonies that often involve the sacrifice of animals.

Etiquette and Customs

  • Meeting People:

    • The most common greeting is the handshake.

    • Close friends may embrace, kiss, or offer a friendly backslap.

    • As in most African countries, greetings should never be rushed.

    • It is important to take time to inquire about the person’s family and other matters of general interest during the greeting process.

    • Always greet elders first. It is also customary to bow when introduced to someone who is obviously older or has a more senior position.

    • In rural areas, women do not look the other person in the eye, although this practice is less pronounced with younger Angolans and in Luanda.

  • Gift Giving Etiquette:

    • Gift giving is only really practised in urban areas.

    • It is not so much a part of Angolan culture and as a result there are not many tips surrounding it.

    • If you are invited to an Angolan's home, bring fruit, flowers, or chocolates to the host.

    • A small gift for the children is always appreciated.

    • Gifts are not always opened when received.

  • Dining Etiquette:

    • Angolans are extremely hospitable and enjoy entertaining friends and family in their homes.

    • In Luanda, they may also entertain in restaurants or cafés since they have adopted more Western ideas about socializing.

    • The Angolan approach to entertaining retains much of the Portuguese influence, including the time of dinner invitations which are often 8 p.m.

    • Dress as you would in the office. Dressing well demonstrates respect towards your hosts. Shake hands with each guest individually.

    • Try not to discuss business in social situations.

    • Food is often served from a communal bowl.

    • Use the serving spoons to scoop food from the communal bowl on to your individual bowl.

    • Hierarchy dictates that the eldest person is the first to take food from the communal plate.

    • If offered the last serving of an item, offer an initial refusal and expect your host to then offer the item a second or third time, in which case you may accept.


1975 - The last Portuguese forces withdraw, leaving the Soviet and Cuban backed Marxist Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) in control of Luanda.

1979 - MPLA leader Agostinho Neto dies, replaced by Soviet-trained Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

1989 - Dos Santos and Savimbi agree on a ceasefire, but it collapses within two months.

1991 - Dos Santos, Savimbi sign peace accord in Lisbon.

1992 - United Nations monitors multiparty polls for president and national assembly. UNITA accuses government of fraud after MPLA wins both votes. Fighting flares again.

1994 - Government and UNITA sign Lusaka Protocol peace accord in Zambia.

March 1998 - UNITA declares its effective demobilization. Angola legalizes the rebel movement.

2002 - Savimbi is killed in battle in February and a formal ceasefire is signed in April.

April 2006 - Angola and UNITA rebels sign a truce to end one of Africa's longest wars.

2008 - Angola's rapidly expanding oil output puts it neck and neck with Nigeria's as the biggest producer on the continent.


Works Cited

Africa by April Pulley Sayre