As Angola booms, poverty persists for most

By Sharon LaFraniere 

Angola is gushing oil, pumping out about two million barrels a day, more than any other African country except Nigeria. The International Monetary Fund projects whopping 24 percent growth in Angola’s economy this year – one of the fastest growth rates in the world. The government is taking in 2½ times as much money as it did just three years ago.
But Angolans, by many indications, remain as poor as ever. The poverty rate is a matter of debate: the government claims a 12 percent drop in the past five years; analysts for the Catholic University of Angola’s research center say two in three Angolans still live on $2 or less a day, the same percentage as in 2002. Still, no one disputes that most Angolans face appalling living conditions, sky-high infant mortality rates, dirty water, illiteracy and a host of other ills.
The United Nations ranked Angola last year as the world’s 17th least developed country. In a December poll by a pro-democracy group and the U.S. Agency for International Development, 6 in 10 Angolans said their economic situation was no better now than five years ago.
The question many have is that if the economy is growing so fast, when will the population start feeling the benefits? The simple answer is that it takes time.

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Angola’s poverty reflects how economic prosperity does not always filter down to the country’s poorest citizens. The Millennium Development Goals are aimed at addressing the needs of the world’s poorest, and the Borgen Project is working to support the success of these Goals for countries like Angola.


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