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Anger and apathy in Angola

| August 28, 2015 | 0 Comments

Seasoned international correspondent Nicholas Kristof recently returned shaken from Angola, a country he describes as “oil rich”, “fabulously corrupt” and “the deadliest place in the world to be a child”.

Writing for the New York Times, Kristof said it took him five years to get a journalist visa to visit Angola this year.

There, he saw young children dying from malnutrition and malaria in clinics that have no medicines. Properly trained medical staff are also lacking. Countless villages have no access to clean water, sanitation or schooling. Infant mortality is an everyday occurrence.

More children (one in six) die before the age of five years in Angola than anywhere else in sub-Saharan Africa. A significant number of those who survive are stunted and have neurological damage. Only about 40% of the largely rural Angolan population has access to some form of healthcare.

Meanwhile, the streets of the capital city Luanda are lined with exclusive boutiques selling designer clothes and fine jewels to the nation’s elite. More Porsche cars are allegedly sold here than anywhere else in the world, to those with the right political connections.

Blame for the stark inequalities has been directed at President José Eduardo dos Santos, who has ruled for almost 40 years.

The Dos Santos regime repeatedly spends more money on defence and security than health. The nation’s rich supply of oil means politicians escape international censure time and again.

Falling oil prices mean that more than the expected 150 000 Angolan children will die this year, as Dos Santos’s regime has proposed a one-third cut in the health budget.

Category: Spring 2015

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