Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Is Angola the next Egypt?

Rumours and internet chatter suggest that Angola may be on the verge of protests against the government. According to social networking sites, the protests were supposed to begin on Sunday. Some people are not taking the threat seriously, but police were patrolling from Sunday and some reports (here and here) suggest that 20 people were arrested yesterday for attempting to take part in anti-government demonstrations. The ruling party also organised a pro-government rally with more than 20 000 people on Saturday.

Angola is a oil-producing nation with a multi-decade presidency but there the similarity to other recently-revolutionary countries mostly ends. Egypt is a reasonably developed country with pretty good human services, a strong middle-class, an average life-expectancy of 70 years and undernourishment in the population at less than 5%. Angola is poor, with infrastructure still lying in ruins after a 27 year civil war, has an average life-expectancy of 48 years, with 44% of the population undernourished. Angola gets excited when the government launches a programme to supply drinking water, electricity and roads to the provinces that are almost entirely without them. Angola 3.1 internet users per 100 people, against Egypt's 16.6 users per 100 people. If Angola were to follow Egypt, Tunisia and Libya in protests to overthrow the long-term ruler, it would raise some interesting questions about domino effects across very different contexts.

It will be very interesting to watch the situation develop but it seems unlikely anything will happen today - it's carnival in Angola.

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