Angolan Poverty, Multinational Wealth
According to Angolense, a newspaper based in the capital, Luanda, ten Angolans have fortunes exceeding US$100 million, while another 49 have more than US$50 million. President JosÃ© Eduardo Dos Santos was rated as the richest of the rich
(de Morais, with Allimadi in background. Photo credit: William Farrington).
Angola's vast oil supply is making billions for multinational oil companies thanks to generous contracts signed with the former socialist government of Jose Eduardo dos Santos.
Meanwhile, the gap between rich and poor in Angola, Africa's second biggest oil exporter, is widening. More than two-thirds of the country's 16 million people live on US$2 or less a day, and 4 million of those survive on US$0.75 or less a day.
Those were among the many tragic images of modern Angola asserted by independent journalist Rafael Marques de Morais. Marques, in New York this month to receive the Northcote Parkinson Fund prize in Civil Courage, was speaking at the African Roundtable of Global Information Network, co-hosted by Milton Allimadi, publisher of Black Star News.
Marques noted that not only in New York are apartments renting and selling for astronomical prices. Million dollar homes are also available just outside of Luanda, the country's capital. The country's wealth is "concentrated in the hands of a small elite, who often use government positions for massive personal enrichment," he explained.
According to Angolense, a newspaper based in the capital, Luanda, ten Angolans have fortunes exceeding US$100 million, while another 49 have more than US$50 million. President JosÃ© Eduardo Dos Santos was rated as the richest of the rich, followed by a parliamentary deputy, two officials in the president's office, an ambassador, a former army chief of staff, and the minister of public works. The seven richest Angolans were all in the ruling MPLA government.
Marques also noted that non-governmental organizations from western countries fail, in many cases, to listen to the people they are assigned to serve and for that reason, their projects use a lot of money wastefully.
The African Roundtable is intended to bring unique and thoughtful voices and perspectives from the continent that rarely find a platform in the U.S. The online edition of Black Star News can be seen at www.blackstarnews.com
The Civil Courage Prize honors steadfast resistance to evil at great personal risk â€” rather than military valor. More information about Marques and the prize can be found at the website of Northcote Parkinson: www.civilcourageprize.org
The Roundtable's host was Lisa Vives, Executive Director, Global Information Network (GIN). www.globalinfo.org. 212-244-3123 (voice)
GIN distributes news and feature articles on Africa and the developing world to mainstream, alternative, ethnic and minority-owned outlets in the U.S. and Canada.
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