Luanda — Angola President Joao Lourenco has said the country will increase its daily oil production next year by more than 35,000 barrels in a bid to revive an economy hurting from drought.
In a State of the Nation Address to Parliament on Tuesday, President Lourenco said output would jump from 1,401, 235 barrels per day to 1, 436,900 barrels per day.
Angola is grappling with a biting drought that has cost both commercial and traditional cattle farmers without grazing land, pushing them to penury.
However, Angola continues to be heavily dependent on oil which contributes half of the country’s economic wealth, 80 per cent of government revenue and 95 per cent of exports.
As a result, the country’s economy has been severely affected by the sharp decline in oil prices and the government is looking for ways of diversification.
That has hampered job creation with President Mnangagwa 161,000 jobs were created in the public and private sectors between 2017 and 2019.
That is below the target of 500,000 jobs he pledged to create in his first five years in office.
However, he has had a better showing in stabilising the economy with inflation down from 19.2 per cent to 17.2 per cent over the period.
Angola is the second biggest sub-Saharan Africa oil producer after Nigeria which produces 1.6 million barrels of crude barrels per day but lacks adequate refining capacity.
Though he did not devote much time in the speech to the fight against corruption, President Lourenco had on October 10 lambasted critics living abroad who had siphoned off public funds.
This was in a thinly veiled reference to former President Eduardo dos Santos family whose female scions Welwitschia dos Santos Tchizé and Isabel dos Santos reside in Europe after fleeing what they viewed as intolerance by their father’s erstwhile trusted successor.
President Lourenco accused them while opening the ruling MPLA youth wing congress of sponsoring the youth to destabilise the country.
After the speech Ms. Tchise said the president was using the first family and the erratic oil market to divert the people’s attention from lack of food and jobs.
“All people see that (oil) prices have tripled since 2017,” Ms Tchizé added in an interview with VOA Radio, adding the president had also benefitted from the system as defence minister and MPLA secretary general.
Amnesty International (AI) warned on Tuesday that tens of thousands of pastoral farmers were exposed to hunger and starvation in southern Angola after they were driven off their land to make way for commercial ranches.
“The current drought in Angola has exposed the devastating impact of commercial cattle farming on communities in Gambos. Traditional cattle farmers have lost their best grazing land and now watch helplessly as their children and families go to bed on empty stomachs,” AI Regional Director for Southern Africa Deprose Muchena said.
*Arnaldo Vieira – The East African
Row with dos Santos family