Luanda | Angola
Luanda, formerly named São Paulo da Assunção de Loanda, is the capital and largest city in Angola, and the country's most populous and important city, primary port and major industrial, cultural and urban centre. Located on Angola's coast with the Atlantic Ocean, Luanda is both Angola's chief seaport and its administrative centre. It is also the capital city of Luanda Province, and the world's third most populous Portuguese-speaking city, behind the Brazilian cities of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, and the most populous Portuguese-speaking capital city in the world, ahead of Brasília, Maputo and Lisbon.
The city is currently undergoing a major reconstruction, with many large developments taking place that will alter its cityscape significantly.
In the 17th century, the Imbangala became the main rivals of the Mbundu in supplying slaves to the Luanda market. In the 1750s, between 5,000 and 10,000 slaves were annually sold. By this time, Angola, a Portuguese colony, was in fact like a colony of Brazil, paradoxically another Portuguese colony. A strong degree of Brazilian influence was noted in Luanda until the Independence of Brazil in 1822. In the 19th century, still under Portuguese rule, Luanda experienced a major economic revolution. The slave trade was abolished in 1836, and in 1844, Angola's ports were opened to foreign shipping. By 1850, Luanda was one of the greatest and most developed Portuguese cities in the vast Portuguese Empire outside Continental Portugal, full of trading companies, exporting (together with Benguela) palm and peanut oil, wax, copal, timber, ivory, cotton, coffee, and cocoa, among many other products. Maize, tobacco, dried meat, and cassava flour are also produced locally. The Angolan bourgeoisie was born by this time.
In 1889, Governor Brito Capelo opened the gates of an aqueduct which supplied the city with water, a formerly scarce resource, laying the foundation for major growth. Like most of Portuguese Angola, the cosmopolitan city of Luanda was not affected by the Portuguese Colonial War (1961–1974); economic growth and development in the entire region reached record highs during this period. In 1972, a report called Luanda the "Paris of Africa". Throughout Portugal's Estado Novo period, Luanda grew from a town of 61,208 with 14.6% of those inhabitants being white in 1940, to a wealthy cosmopolitan major city of 475,328 in 1970 with 124,814 Europeans (26.3%) and around 50,000 mixed race inhabitants. Luanda has also become one of the world's most expensive cities.
Around one-third of Angolans live in Luanda, 53% of whom live in poverty. Living conditions in Luanda are poor for most of the people, with essential services such as safe drinking water and electricity still in short supply, and severe shortcomings in traffic conditions. On the other hand, luxury constructions for the benefit of the wealthy minority are booming. Luanda is one of the world's most expensive cities for resident foreigners.
New import tariffs imposed in March 2014 made Luanda even more expensive. As an example, a half-litre tub of vanilla ice-cream at the supermarket was reported to cost US$31. The higher import tariffs applied to hundreds of items, from garlic to cars. The stated aim was to try to diversify the heavily oil-dependent economy and nurture farming and industry, sectors which have remained weak. These tariffs have caused much hardship in a country where the average salary was US$260 in 2010, the latest year for which data was available. However, the average salary in the booming oil industry was over 20 times higher at US$5,400.
The central government supposedly allocates funds to all regions of the country, but the capital region receives the bulk of these funds. Since the end of the Angolan Civil War (1975–2002), stability has been widespread in the country, and major reconstruction has been going on since 2002 in those parts of the country that were damaged during the civil war. Luanda has been of major concern because its population had multiplied and had far outgrown the capacity of the city, especially because much of its infrastructure (water, electricity, roads etc.) had become obsolete and degraded.
Luanda has been undergoing major road reconstruction in the 21st century, and new highways are planned to improve connections to Cacuaco, Viana, Samba, and the new airport.
A Supreme Court serves as a court of appeal. The Constitutional Court is the supreme body of the constitutional jurisdiction, its Organic Law was approved by Law no. 2/08, of June 17, and The legal system is based on Portuguese and customary laws, but it is weak and fragmented. There are only 12 courts in more than 140 counties in the country. With the approval of Law no. 2/08, of June 17 – Organic Law of the Constitutional Court and Law n. 3/08, of June 17 – Organic Law of the Constitutional Process, the Legal Creation of the Constitutional Court. Its first task was the validation of the candidacies of the political parties to the legislative elections of 5 September 2008.Thus, on June 25, 2008, the Constitutional Court was institutionalized and its Judicial Counselors assumed the position before the President of the Republic. Currently, seven advisory judges are present, four men and three women.
In 2014, a new penal code took effect in Angola. The classification of money-laundering as a crime is one of the novelties in the new legislation.
The Economist reported in 2008 that diamonds and oil make up 60% of Angola's economy, almost all of the country's revenue and all of its dominant exports. Growth is almost entirely driven by rising oil production which surpassed 1.4 million barrels per day (220,000 m3/d) in late 2005 and was expected to grow to 2 million barrels per day (320,000 m3/d) by 2007. Control of the oil industry is consolidated in Sonangol Group, a conglomerate owned by the Angolan government. In December 2006, Angola was admitted as a member of OPEC.
Operations in its diamond mines include partnerships between state-run Endiama and mining companies such as ALROSA which operate in Angola.
The Angolan economy grew 18% in 2005, 26% in 2006 and 17.6% in 2007. Due to the global recession the economy contracted an estimated −0.3% in 2009. The security brought about by the 2002 peace settlement has allowed the resettlement of 4 million displaced persons and a resulting large-scale increases in agriculture production.
Although the country's economy has grown significantly since Angola achieved political stability in 2002, mainly due to fast-rising earnings in the oil sector, Angola faces huge social and economic problems. These are in part a result of almost continual armed conflict from 1961 on, although the highest level of destruction and socio-economic damage took place after the 1975 independence, during the long years of civil war. However, high poverty rates and blatant social inequality chiefly stem from persistent authoritarianism, "neo-patrimonial" practices at all levels of the political, administrative, military and economic structures, and of a pervasive corruption. The main beneficiaries are political, administrative, economic and military power holders, who have accumulated (and continue to accumulate) enormous wealth.