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Angola - Combined initial, second and third periodic reports, under articles 16 and 17 of the Covenant [2008] UNCESCRSPR 8; E/C.12/AGO/3 (28 April 2008)



Economic and Social Council
28 April 2008
Original: FRENCH

Substantive session of 2008



Combined initial, second and third periodic reports, under articles 16 and 17

of the Covenant


[16 April 2008]

* The present document was not formally edited before being sent to the United Nations translation services.

** The annexes to this report may be consulted at the secretariat.

GE.08-41548 (EXT)


Paragraphs Page








V. EMPLOYMENT 125 - 132 42



NATIONWIDE 133 - 160 44



ENVIRONMENT 161 - 177 53

VIII. HIV AIDS 178 - 207 61



XI. CIVIL SOCIETY 313 - 323 86

Abbreviations 88




A. Article 1

1. Angola was colonized for five centuries by the Portuguese – a state of affairs which of course was contrary to the will of the peoples of Angola. During the pre-colonial period the current territory of Angola was inhabited by pre-Bantu peoples: the Khoisa, the Cuepes and the Cuisis, also known as the "Mukankala" (slave), who were forced by Bantu invaders towards the Namib Desert. The Bantu peoples who invaded what is now the territory of Angola were from Central Africa. Even at that time they had knowledge of metal-working, ceramics, farming and weaving. Settlement by Bantu peoples has continued to the present day, as illustrated by the Chokwe or Koko peoples, who settled the lands of the Nganguela people in the 20th century. The migration of the Bantu peoples has lasted over five hundred years. The Bakongo, Ambundo, Lunda-Quioco, Ovimbundo, Nganguela, Nyaneka-Humbe, Ambo, Herero and Xindonga peoples have settled in the current territory of Angola and creole societies have sprung up as a result of social and cultural merger process with the Portuguese over almost five hundred years. During the period when the Kingdom of Portugal was searching for a maritime route to India, the Portuguese made their first contact with the Kingdom of Congo, which had emerged in about 1400. The Kingdom of Ndongo was established subsequently.

2. The Kingdom of Congo was the most powerful. Its king, known at the time as Mani Congo, had authority over almost the entire northern area of present-day Angola. Other Kingdoms emerged later including Matamba, Lunda, Kassange, Bailundo, Nganguela, and Kwanyama. The Portuguese established trading relations with the Kingdom of Congo but met countless difficulties penetrating the area. Indeed, the Portuguese had an effective presence in the lands of Angola for over four hundred years but that presence was restricted to a small section of the coast near the mouth of the river Kwanza representing less than 10% of the total area of today’s territory. Leaving aside resistance from the Angolans, Portugal did not have a big enough population to occupy the immense territory. It was only after the Scramble for Africa at the end of the 19th century that the Portuguese extended their domination towards the interior and the shape of the territory as it is today emerged. The initial aim of the Portuguese was to establish trading relations with the coastal peoples. Subsequently their aims were the slave trade and silver mining (no silver mines were ever discovered). However, slave-trading became the sole economic activity, confirming that the region was one of the principal suppliers of slaves to the new world, especially the Americas.

B. Colonial discrimination policy

3. Typical of this period was the Christian evangelist movement which saw the baptism of various kings, the introduction of European civilization and, as a corollary, the acculturation of African religions and beliefs, leading to a weakening of the kingdoms in the region. Upon baptism the kings and other members of the kingdom gave up their Bantu names and were given Portuguese names, usually those of Catholic saints and kings. One of the most widespread colonial policies was to divide the peoples of Angola by manipulating existing tribal conflicts. The slave trade brought about a change in labour from farming, hunting, and metal work, devastating the pre-colonial economy. Farming collapsed, causing huge political and social instability. This aspect of the colonial occupation is regarded as one of the major causes of Angola’s economic and social backwardness as well as a factor in demographic falls. It is calculated that over 4 million slaves were exported from Angola. The colonial power had created a social class, the “assimilated”, who had the right to work in the civil service or occupations providing medical care and who lived in semi-urban areas in houses with better facilities: some had water and electricity; people in this class had access to basic schooling and an elite few obtained a university education in Portugal. People who maintained their cultures, practices and customs were discriminated against and viewed as uncivilized. Few Angolans had access to potable water and electricity and most of those who did were of Portuguese ancestry. Colonial education was the same for the few Angolans who had access to education as for the population of Portuguese descent. The language of instruction was Portuguese; Angolan children whose mother tongue was a language indigenous to Angola were always at a disadvantage compared to the children of Europeans, not only because of the content of the instruction, which bore no relation to life in Angola, but also because of the difficulties thrown up by the language of instruction. The Angolans were forced to learn Portuguese and to assimilate the colonial culture in order to be able to achieve better marks at school. It is therefore understandable that today many Angolans cannot speak local languages and that they use non-Bantu names. Schooling was restricted until the mid-70s with the result that only 15% of the adult population could read or write. The high level of illiteracy, the result of colonial policy and related to racial, ethnic, linguistic and sexual exploitation, gave rise to difficulties in implementing the right to participate in public life and the formal economy. The Portuguese held the highest posts in the hierarchies of public administration and the private sector as well as jobs as unskilled labourers in Angolan towns.

C. Colonial economy of Angola

4. Following the effective abolition of slavery in the mid-19th century, the economies of the countries which had exported slaves developed in another direction. After slavery, Angolans worked under a forced labour regime, then under the colonial labour contract system in force in iron mines, diamond mines, ivory, etc. After the Second World War, coffee became the principal agricultural export product owing to the rise in coffee prices in Europe. However, the development of the oil industry in Cabinda from 1968 onward made oil the principal export product in 1973, followed by coffee, diamonds and other raw materials; in other words, these export products fed the major industries developing in Europe because of the industrial revolution, one of the causes of the abolition of slavery. It should be noted that the Portuguese government from the 1950s onwards encouraged colonists to settle in Angola and as a result by 1974 the white population had increased by some 330 000. The colonists expropriated the best plots of land – in 1970 some 6 400 Portuguese farms occupied 4.5 million hectares of arable land, an area equal to that occupied by Angolan small farmers. The colonists were also in control of the public authorities, small and medium-sized enterprises and the system of rural trade. The export economy prevented subsistence farming from developing and forced indigenous peoples to grow export crops. The country was subjected to expropriation of its land, economic deterioration, and dependence on imports and changes to the system by which many of its people, especially the assimilated, lived. Overnight, a country which had been able to feed itself became a major exporter of raw materials and an importer of essential commodities. Infrastructures such as roads, bridges, ports and railways were also constructed at the time to facilitate transit of export and import products. Angolan industries began to benefit the colonial power. Nationalists emerged from the assimilated peoples and later encouraged the anti-colonial armed struggle. There was a coup d’état in 1974 against the fascist dictatorship; known as the “slaves’ revolution”, the aim of the coup was to change the colonial regime. The coup made some headway in laying the political foundations for Angola’s independence, something which Angolans had been demanding for over 500 years.

D. Situation following Angola’s independence

5. The date 11 November 1975 saw the constitution of the government of the People’s Republic of Angola and the first steps to establish institutions such as the People’s Assembly following the elections to the provisional assemblies. The State chose a socialist system and became a full member of the United Nations in 1976. The years following independence were characterized by the priority given to social issues, especially school enrolment at all levels, vocational training, literacy and healthcare which were free public services during that period. At the time the government also sought to respond to the lack of qualified administrators, a legacy of the colonial system. The level of school enrolment rose considerably during the second half of the 1970s. The government spearheaded a large number of national literacy campaigns which reached hundreds of thousands of adults. There were also many childhood vaccination campaigns, especially to eradicate polio, the first instance of such a campaign in Angola. The economy collapsed during this period. By way of illustration, the levels of industrial production fell to only 28% of the levels of 1973. Although Angola had natural resources and potential sources of wealth, the country’s economy experienced a severe recession for more than twenty years, which led to a spectacular fall in living conditions for the majority of the population. The levels of economic recovery were also affected by the war between the country’s three majority parties.

6. The effects of the war included:

(a) The destruction of bridges, railway lines, roads, power lines, water supply systems, factories (in some towns in the interior) and social structures.

(b) Fall in agricultural production because of the migration of rural populations to the safer environment of the towns, theft of cattle and other rural property, mines in agricultural areas of production, problems with rail transport;

(c) Fall in the production of export products such as coffee, cotton, diamonds, iron;

(d) Loss of the regional railway line of the Caminho de Ferro de Benguela, which connected landlocked countries such as Zambia and the DRC to the sea;

(e) Dependency on imported produce, some of which had previously been produced in Angola;

(f) Allocation of a substantial proportion of the budget to national defence;

(g) Fall in GDP from USD 1 000.00 in 1991 to less than USD 400 dollars per annum in 1993-1995 with a partial recovery to about USD 500.00 in 1996. The origin of this crisis can be found in the chaotic transition to independence when colonists fled the country, the devastating impact of the war and poor economic management;

(h) Presence of landmines and unexploded ordnances.

E. Current economic development

7. Economic growth has been strong since 2002 and the speed of change in GDP has become more acute since 2005. The real accumulated variation in GDP between 2002 and 2006 was 89.6%, reflecting an average annual rate of change of 13.6%. In 2006 Angola experienced the highest level of growth in Africa. Even though the petroleum sector predominates, there has been a significant recovery in the non-petroleum sector. The cumulative change was 81.4%, reflecting an average annual percentage rate of change of 12.7%. Diamond mining showed a cumulative change of 79.3% (average rate of annual growth of 12.4%) whereas other sectors of activity, namely farming, fisheries, processing industries, energy and water, construction and services, showed a cumulative growth of 61.63%, or an average annual rate of change of 10.1%. It is calculated that the real rate of growth of GDP was 18.6% in 2006 and 20.6% in 2005. Farming, the processing industries, and commercial services sectors even grew more than was forecast. By dividing GDP between the petroleum and non-petroleum sectors we can see that the trend recorded in 2006 was positive. Indeed, non-petroleum GDP recorded a percentage change of 25.7% last year. This performance can be attributed to the processing industry, commercial services and farming. Per capita GDP was USD 2 562.2 in 2006 (at constant prices), as compared to USD 1 984.8 in 2005, an increase of 29.2%. In 2005 the growth in per capita GDP was 57% compared to 2004. Real growth in Angolans’ average income was as much as 15.3% in 2006 and 17% in 2005 whereas population growth was 2.9%. The combination of real growth, public investment in the social field, effective control of inflation (31% in 2004, 18% in 2005 and 12.2% in 2006) and the existing social inclusion policies to eradicate poverty give a poverty index of 56% for 2005, which is 12.2% less than in 2000. Public investment, calculated at about USD 1.5 billion, representing growth of 76.5% in comparison with 2005, acted as a significant catalyst for the national economy not only in respect of encouraging private investment (estimated at USD 11.4 million) but at improving the population’s general living conditions. Indeed, of the overall State expenditure on investment, social sectors received 28.3%, economic sectors 8.3% and infrastructure sectors (roads, railways, energy, water) about 36.9%. Worthy of note among the policies included in the General Government Plan for 2005-2006 are the policies for macroeconomic stabilization and encouragement of economic growth in the most formative areas of the economy. For the former, the positive effects are shown in exchange rate stability, the renewed confidence in the national currency, as reflected in a significant rise in deposits in kwanza, the control of the budget deficit, the fall in inflation, greater transparency in public accounts and an improvement in the country’s international image with the main international financial and economic institutions. As regards policies to strengthen non-petroleum production, priority will have to be given to public works, the primary sector, the distribution of energy and water and the processing industry.

F. Aliens Act

8. Act No 3/94, of 21 January, laying down the legal system applicable to aliens in the Republic states that aliens who are resident or present in Angola enjoy, on a reciprocal basis, the same rights and guarantees as Angolan citizens and are subject to the same duties with the exception of political rights and other rights and duties which are expressly reserved to Angolan citizens.

9. Article 18(1) of the Constitution of Angola provides that all citizens are equal before the law, enjoy the same rights and are subject to the same duties without any distinction on grounds of colour, race, ethnicity, sex, place of education, economic or social circumstances. The law severely punishes all acts which may prejudice social harmony or give rise to discrimination or privileges based on such factors. Act No 12/91 introduced some amendments to the Constitution in March 1991 allowing the constitutional foundations to be laid which were needed for the introduction of multi-party democracy, an increase in the recognition and guarantee of citizens’ basic rights and the basic principles of a market economy. That review was only partial and was followed by the promulgation of the 2nd Act reviewing the Constitution, No 23/92, of 16 September. The basic principles are set out in Title 1 (article 1 to article 17). Following the establishment of a multiparty system and in accordance with the Peace Accords for Angola signed on 31 May 1991, the first legislative and presidential elections were held in September 1992 and voting took the form of direct, universal suffrage by secret ballot. The Act reviewing the Constitution changed the name of the State to the “Republic of Angola”, the Assembly of the People was renamed the “National Assembly” and the word “people’s” was removed from the title used by the courts. Title II contains new articles on safeguards for fundamental rights and freedoms based on the main international human rights treaties to which Angola had already acceded (articles 18 to 52). Title III amended the wording of the Constitution to state that Angola is a democratic State governed by the rule of law and organized on the basis of the separation of powers, the interdependence of the sovereign bodies and a semi-Presidential political system which confers an active role on the President of the Republic. The judiciary, the organization of the courts and the essence of the Judges’ Statute have been appropriately amended. The Act also provided for monitoring of compliance with the Constitution by a Constitutional Court, procedure, powers and restrictions on amending the Constitution (articles 53 to 164). Of note is article 21, which states that “The fundamental rights provided for in the present Act shall not exclude others deriving from the applicable laws and rules of international law. Constitutional and legal norms related to fundamental rights shall be interpreted and incorporated in keeping with The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the African Charter on the Human and Peoples’ Rights and other international instruments to which Angola has acceded. In the assessment of disputes by Angolan courts, those international instruments shall apply even where not relied upon by the parties”. The Constitutional Amendment Act also legislated on the right and duty to participate actively in public life, the right and duty to work, free choice of occupation, the right to fair pay, to rest, to holidays and protection, health and safety at work, the right to strike, the right to form a professional or trade union, the right to education, culture and medical and health care, the right to live in a healthy, unpolluted environment, and to care during childhood, maternity, disability and old-age, and care in any situation causing incapacity to work. Article 50 of Act No 23/92, of 16 September, 2nd Constitutional Review, provides that “The State shall create the requisite political, economic and cultural conditions to enable citizens effectively to enjoy their rights and fully perform their duties".

2.a) Below we have set out some information on the employment situation in 2001


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