By Kiana Wilburg
Angola, a South African nation with plush, tropical Atlantic beaches, is awash with natural resources. It has diamonds, iron ore, bauxite, uranium, and feldspar. But its greatest asset is oil.
Since it was first discovered in 1955, oil has a blessing and a curse. For the friends and family of former President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, it has been a blessing. But for most of its citizens, it has been a curse as they remain desperately poor.
In fact, the former President who served from 1979 to 2017 paved the way for his daughter, Isabel, to become Africa’s richest woman. She opened a shell company, and within a two-year span, the former President gave his daughter several contracts, four of which were worth over US $22 billion.
As for his son, he was put in charge of Angola’s Sovereign Wealth Fund and allegedly transferred US$500 million from the fund to an account in Britain.
Considering this state of affairs, Attorney-at-Law, Sanjeev Datadin says that Guyana must ensure that it closely guards the oil wealth to come from the same fate.
He is hopeful that Guyana can take a page from Botswana’s book where there is the efficient management of the oil resources as opposed to what occurred in Angola.
“We can only hope that we get it right,” Datadin added.
HOPING TO BOUNCE BACK
As a result of the rape of the oil resources, Angola has had to turn to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a loan to restructure and diversify its economy.
The Fund said that the US$3.7B loan will cover a period of three years and will not only be dedicated to the diversification of the economy but also to curbing corruption.
The IMF also said that the loan aims to help the southern African country restructure state-owned enterprises and take other measures to improve economic governance.
It was reported by Angolan news agencies that the nation had experienced a surge in growth because of oil exports under former president Jose Eduardo dos Santos, but poverty and cronyism persisted.
A fall in commodity prices years ago tipped the economy into crisis and showed that it was too reliant on oil.
President Joao Lourenco, who succeeded dos Santos, has distanced his administration from his predecessor, pledging to fight corruption and meeting with government critics. (https://www.voanews.com/africa/imf-approves-37-billion-loan-oil-rich-angola)
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