The president of Angola, President José Eduardo dos Santos has confessed that his country is broke. He attributed the dire economic situation to failure of the national oil company Sonangol, to remit cash to the government. Expectedly, President dos Santos, who is believed to be one of the richest African Presidents, did not mention corruption, nepotism, blatant stealing and excessive greed amongst President`s inner circle and cronies, as some of the major contributors of the severe economic woes in Angola, the second-largest producer of crude oil in Africa.
Often named as one of the continent’s fastest growing economies, Angola ““ like Nigeria – relies heavily on crude exports for two-thirds of her tax revenue. That is not all, 95 per cent of the country`s foreign currency receipts come from oil. Interestingly, with the economy growing at the average of 7 per cent annually, according to the United Nations` analysis, yet 38 per cent of the 26 million Angolans still struggle to put food on the table. Such a unbalanced economic statistics, definitely raises questions in view of President dos Santos`s declaration. How come could such a country be declared bankrupt? What has the government of President José Eduardo dos Santos done with the billions of dollars earned from the oil revenue? Has the oil money been used judiciously to the benefits of the ordinary Angolans? Or was the oil manna fastidiously shared amongst the few associates of the President?
But President José Eduardo dos Santos sees the situation differently. While addressing his cabinet shortly, the President, whose daughter Isabel don Santos, is rated as the richest woman in Africa, argued that Angola ““ like its other southern African country neighbors – has been managed in an “extremely complicated environment” due to the shortage of foreign exchange. Furthermore, he reiterated that the low oil price contributed to the foreign exchange shortage. That was not the only bad news. The president insisted that the country recorded a meager 1 per cent economic growth ““ contrary to the 6% projected by the analysts
“This means our economy is decreasing drastically and since January the government has not gotten revenues from Sonangol, due to the oil price depression.” President José Eduardo dos Santos rang the alarm bell.
What are the implications of the bad news? Being an ardent importer, Angola needs dollars to pay for the imported goods. Problematically, since the government receives little or no money recently from the state oil giant, Sonangol, the situation in Angola is critically dicey ““ especially amongst the poor masses. Unfortunately, analysts do not foresee a rapid increase in the prices of oil soon.
With the inflation sky rocked to 30 per cent in May 2016, crashing the country`s currency Kwanza and pushing it to the depreciation journey (now values at 40 per cent against the US dollar), a sharp slowdown in the non-oil sector, which Angola is presently experiencing, is a good reason to worry about.
Being in power for more than 30 years, with accumulated massive wealth, which has made him to be regarded by many as one of the richest Africans, it is now a common belief by many, that Angola belongs to the Family don Santos, just like the family belongs to Angola. Hence, it has become a norm in many quarters, not to question the source of billions made by President don Santos and his cronies. However, now that the country is seriously heading into an economic abyss, and little or no cent seems not to be coming from the oil section, the pillar of the Angola`s economy, many innocent citizens are definitely facing dare precarious economic uncertainty and vulnerabilities.
Yes, Angola might be broke, but is President José Eduardo dos Santos himself broke? As the Father of the nation, whose source of wealth is often neglected by many Angolans, perhaps it is time to give to Caesar what belong to Caesar. This is the time to test the degree of President José Eduardo dos Santos` love for his people, most of them miserably poor. The earlier, the President puts his love into action, the safer the country might be for him and his cronies. Otherwise, the country might boil. Very soon, perhaps.