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Voting is on for the Legislative Assembly elections to be held in Angola on August 24. Among the major electoral issues: the economic situation. After five years of recession, Angola has returned to growth in 2021. But the “miracle” promised by President Joo Lourenço has not happened: the economy of this oil country is struggling to diversify and unemployment is at the highest.
Five years ago, Pramod Asija made the biggest bet of his career. The owner of several shops and restaurants in Luanda, the Angolan capital, has invested $75,000 in Tupuka, the country’s first home delivery start-up. Today, the platform is successful with more than 1,000 orders per day and franchises in several countries in the region.
“Here, apart from diamonds and oil, there are still many sectors in which you can invest,” he explains. “If you have an idea that hasn’t been launched yet and is doing well elsewhere, there’s definitely an opportunity to start a business.”
Despite important reforms such as the liberalization of its currency and the consolidation of public finances, the Angolan economy is lagging behind. After five years of recession, and although growth resumed in 2021, inflation reached 25% and the unemployment rate rose from 24% to 30%.
rise in unemployment
In Zango, on the outskirts of Luanda, Cristina Antonio Salvador has been unemployed since March. “Since I lost my job, it has become difficult to pay the rent, the children’s school fees, electricity…”, laments this former waitress. “It’s really complicated because only my husband works and his salary is not enough to cover everything. For example, we still haven’t paid the rent.
In 2017, President Joao Lourenço presented himself as the man of the economic miracle, promising to diversify the economy and create 500,000 jobs.
“Angola has one of the twenty worst business environments in the world. We have no infrastructure, we have poor education services. Unless the state takes responsibility for solving these problems, the private sector must do the rest. By going to care, we will not be able to diversify the economy”, analyzes the economist and journalist Carlos Rosado de Carvalho.
In Angola, oil still accounts for 30% of GDP and 90% of export earnings.