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Inside Story
Will elections usher in a new era in Angola?
As Angolans are electing a new president, we ask if change is likely to happen in this oil-rich African country.
Last Modified: 01 Sep 2012 18:27

Voters in Angola have been casting their ballots in an election to choose a new president amid calls for a better share of the country's wealth.

President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos' ruling party is expected to win comfortably. A victory would extend his 33-years in power as Africa’s second-longest ruling leader.

But 10 years after the end of civil war in Angola, his party faces growing popular discontent over persistent poverty and inequality in a nation rich in oil, diamonds and land.

And with nearly ten million Angolans registered to vote, there are also concerns over the voting process.

So, with the ruling party confident of staying in power, is change likely to happen in this oil-rich African country? And will it address its economic and social problems?

Inside Story, with presenter Hazem Sika, discusses with guests: Matlotleng Matlou, the director of Africa Institute for South Africa and a political analyst specialising in African affairs; Markus Weimer, an Africa Programme research fellow at Chatham House; and Rafael Marques, an anti-corruption campaigner.

"I'm sure the government has heard those voices [of anger] - for one-and-a-half years now there have been protests on the streets of Luanda, so it's not something that's catching the government by surprise. The real question is how can the government address the problems? It's about job creation, it's about the provision of basic services. But that is not easily done, those are real challenges. It's a matter of transforming the economy away from oil into other areas where you create better and more jobs. The oil industry only provides jobs for about one per cent of the population, this is nothing, this is a drop in the ocean. Some of the transformations that are necessary are huge and arguably they cannot happen without a transformation and change of the Angolan state and government model .... Oil wealth has a great potential to use in order to transform and diversify the economy to achieve greater economic equality and opportunities for the majority."

Markus Weimer, an Africa Programme research fellow at Chatham House

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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