About Angola

The second largest and most populous Portuguese-speaking country in the world, behind only Brazil, the Republic of Angola lies on the southwestern coast of Africa, along the Atlantic Ocean. Angola’s neighbors include Namibia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Zambia. The country also includes a small province called Cabinda, which is geographically separated from Angola by a small area of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Angolan population of 33.6 million people is made up of several ethnic groups such as the Ovimbundu, Kimbundu, Bakongo, and Mestico. Languages spoken include Portuguese, the official language, as well as Umbundu, Kikongo, Kimbundu, Chokwe, Nhaneca, Ngaguela, Fiote, Kwanhama, Muhumbi, and Luvale. The majority of Angolans live in urban areas, and in the western half of the country and near the capital of Luanda.

Angola achieved independence from Portugal in 1975, after a long and difficult anti-colonial struggle. Post-independence, Angola experienced several decades of conflict and instability, including a civil war that ended in 2002. Despite remaining stable since then, the country still has high rates of poverty, with about 40 percent of the population living below the poverty line. In addition, unemployment is high and literacy levels are low. Angola’s economy is one of the fastest growing in the region due to oil production and other mineral resources, but this growth has not benefited the majority of the population.

High levels of poverty have contributed to lacking health indicators in the country. Angola suffers from high rates of child and maternal mortality, and life expectancy is among the lowest in the world, at 61 years. Leading causes of death include neonatal disorders, HIV/AIDS, diarrheal diseases, lower respiratory infections, tuberculosis, malaria, stroke, ischemic heart disease, road injuries, cirrhosis, and protein-energy malnutrition. The risk factors that contribute most to deaths and disabilities include malnutrition, unsafe sex, air pollution, alcohol and tobacco use, high blood pressure, high fasting plasma glucose, high body-mass index, dietary risks, occupational risks, and insufficient sanitation and clean water.

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