ENERGY POVERTY IN ANGOLA- UNDERSTANDING THE CHALLENGES.
By: Cornel GAVATA and Andrew Mutuura for the Globecraft Institute, Geneva, Switzerland.
Emerging from a 3 decade civil war that devastated the country, Angola is posed to make significant changes to its current and future development.
Its impressive economic growth rate and the abundance of its natural resources coupled by its strategic location could, if harnessed properly provide the country with an enviable model of development.
It has extensive offshore oil and gas deposits, diamonds, precious metals and extensive and fertile agricultural land, abundant fishing grounds, forestry resources coupled by a low population density of an average of 11p/km in 2000 to the projected estimate of 18p/km by 2015 and a very young population. Estimates from the UN population division show the country’s mean age as 17.4 years, which is estimated to rise to 18.0 years by 2015.
The country is a leg up in its pursuit of development agenda and social progress due its oil windfall and the revenues accrued from the extractive industries. It is currently Africa’s second largest oil exporter which has meant an impressive GDP growth rates.
However, the country faces enormous challenges in its quest for social progress. It has one of the highest infant mortality rates,220/1000 live births in 2008 massive and widespread poverty-54.3% of the population lives below the poverty line, ranks poorly in the Human Development Index and faces severe health challenges. It still has to make progress on the Millennium Development Goals. The Millennium Development Goals that Angola has to tackle are:
1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, the country is rated as being off track, according to the MDG monitor.
2. Reduce child mortality; the country has to make some significant improvements in its health care system in order to be able to meet this goal.
3. Improve maternal health, which can be...