Anna is a New Yorker writing about her globe-trotting, culinary, and healthy living adventures.
Angola is booming!
The oil and diamond-rich country is currently rebuilding at full swing after suffering from civil war for 27 years since independence from Portugal in 1975. Now the country of 19 million is finally at peace and is going through a dramatic rebirth.
The capital, Luanda is located on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean and has a population of over 5 million inhabitants. The city's streets are now being paved and widened, lots of new businesses are opening up and there is a lot of construction going on all around. Foreigners are flocking to the country.
Keep reading for a set of fun and interesting facts about Angola.
Here Are Some Interesting Facts About Angola You May Not Know
- Luanda, Angola's capital is the world’s most expensive city for expats
- Angola's economy is one of the world's fastest-growing – Between 1994 and 2004, Angola had one of the world's fastest-growing economies. Economic growth in 2012 is expected to exceed 7%
- Angola is very rich in natural resources – The country is the 2nd largest oil and diamond producer in sub-Saharan Africa
- Luanda is known as the " Paris of Africa" – This title is apparently due to the city's sophisticated culture and atmosphere
- Portuguese is the official language – Other spoken languages include Umbundu, Kimbundu, Kikongo, and Tchokwe
- Angola gained independence in 1975 – The country got independence from Portugal on November 11, 1975. It is the last country in Africa to gain independence from Portugal
- Civil war lasted from independence (1975) to 2002 – After Angola gained independence, the country went through a long period of civil war, causing millions of lives to be lost
- Angola has a very young population – Interestingly, nearly 70% of the population in Angola is under the age of 24
- Life expectancy for both men and women is 54.59 years, according to the CIA Factbook (2012 est.)
- Angola has the highest death rate (mortality) in the world – According to the CIA Factbook, for every 1000 people, there are 23.4 deaths a year (2011 statistics)
- The name of the country is derived from the Kimbundu word N'gola, meaning King – N'gola (King) Kiluange was the king of the Ndongo Kingdom at the time of the Portuguese arrival in what is now Angola
- Angola is twice the size of Texas – The country spans 481,354 square miles, making it the world's 23rd largest country. It's the seventh-largest country in Africa
- The local currency is called the Kwanza (AOA) – 1 USD is about 95 Kwanza
- The Angolan flag is red, black and gold – The red part of the flag represents the blood of Angolans killed in conflicts, the black represents the Angolan people, and as for the gold parts—the cogwheel represents industry, the gold machete represents peasantry, and the gold star is modeled after the star on the flag of the former Soviet Union
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More Fun Facts About Angola
- The current Miss Universe is Angolan – Leila Luliana da Costa Vieira Lopes, known simply as "Leila Lopes" holds the title of Miss Universe
- Angola's traditional music is the semba – Brazilian samba is believed to have originated in Angola, where it's known as "semba". The two are very similar. Angolan semba was danced to celebrate different occasions and is known as the music of the sea
- Angola's national tree is the majestic imbondeiro – There is one tree that is special to Angolan, it's called "imbondeiro". There was a popular belief that God planted this tree, also known as "Boabob" upside down. The unusual-looking imbondeiro tree can be found growing all over the country and on local artwork
- Angola is the birthplace of the dreadlocks hairstyle
- Growing Portuguese diaspora – in 2010, the number of visas issued to Portuguese was at 23,787
- Shortage of men – After 27 years of civil war, there's a shortage of men in the country. So it's not unusual for a man to have several "non-official" wives
Questions & Answers
Question: Why did Angolans starve?
Answer: There was a long civil war in Angola, followed by a man-made famine
Question: Who is the president of Angola?
Answer: The current president is João Lourenço.
© 2012 Anna