Angola

The Republic of Angola is nestled on the western coast of Southern Africa, bounded by Namibia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, and the Atlantic Ocean while its exclave province of Cabinda is tucked between the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Angola is the second-largest Portuguese-speaking nation in terms of population and area.

Angola has rich reserves of oil and diamonds as well as agricultural land. Angola’s economy is heavily dependent on oil production as well as supporting activities, which accounts for nearly 85% of GDP. In recent years, the high growth rate of Angola’s economy was fueled by the high international oil prices. An increment of oil production has also contributed to the growth of more than 15% per annum from 2004 until 2008. While agriculture provides a livelihood for the majority of Angolans, the country still imports about 50% of its food.

Despite its rich natural resources, the country remains poor due to the civil war that lasted 27 years. The war has damaged much of its infrastructure. To reconstruct its infrastructure, the country spent billions of dollars in credit lines from foreign institutions. The rehabilitation and the resettlement of refugees contributed to the high growth rate. However, growth was temporarily interrupted with lower oil and diamond prices caused by the global crisis.

The Angolan kwanza (AOA) is the country’s currency which is divided into 100 lweis. The kwanza was introduced in 1977, replacing the Portuguese escudo. Banknotes of the first kwanza depict the date of the country’s first anniversary of independence from Portugal, an allegorical tribal scene, and a portrait of Antonio Agostinho Neto who served as the first president. It also features the coat of arms of the country.

Novo kwanza was introduced in 1990, replacing the old kwanza. On June 1, 1995, readjusted kwanza banknotes were issued in denominations of 500, 1,000, 5,000, 10,000, 50,000, 100,000, 500,000, 1,000,000, and 5,000,000 kwanza reajustados. On November 12, 1999, the second kwanza was launched, divided into 100 centimos. A recent version of Angolan banknotes was released in 2012, featuring the first president Antonio Agostinho Neto and second president Jose Eduardo dos Santos.