Angola is the seventh-largest country in Africa and is bordered by Namibia to the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Zambia to the east, and the Atlantic Ocean to west.
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At 1,246,620 km2 (481,321 sq miles), Angola is the world’s twenty-third largest country. It is comparable in size to Mali, or twice the size of France or Texas.
It lies mostly between latitudes 4° and 18°S, and longitudes 12° and 24°E.
Angola has three seasons, a dry season which lasts from May to October, a transitional season with some rain from November to January and a hot, rainy season from February to April.
April is the wettest month.Angola’s average temperature on the coast is 16 °C (60 °F) in the winter and 21 °C (70 °F) in the summer, while the interior is generally hotter and dryer.
Angola has vast mineral and petroleum reserves, and its economy is among the fastest growing in the world, especially since the end of the civil war.
In spite of this, the standard of living remains low for the majority of the population, and life expectancy and infant mortality rates in Angola are among the worst in the world.
Angola’s economic growth is highly uneven, with the majority of the nation’s wealth concentrated in a disproportionately small sector of the population.
Angola has a rich subsoil heritage, from diamonds, oil, gold, copper, and a rich wildlife (dramatically impoverished during the civil war), forest, and fossils.
Since independence, oil and diamonds have been the most important economic resource. Smallholder and plantation agriculture have dramatically dropped because of the Angolan Civil War, but have begun to recover after 2002.
The transformation industry that had come into existence in the late colonial period collapsed at independence, because of the exodus of most of the ethnic Portuguese population, but has begun to reemerge (with updated technologies), partly because of the influx of new Portuguese entrepreneurs. Similar developments can be verified in the service sector.
According to The Heritage Foundation, a conservative American think tank, oil production from Angola has increased so significantly that Angola now is China’s biggest supplier of oil.
Growing oil revenues have also created opportunities for corruption: according to a recent Human Rights Watch report, 32 billion US dollars disappeared from government accounts from 2007 to 2010.
With a stock of assets corresponding to 70 billion USD (6.8 billion Kz), Angola is now the third largest financial market in sub-Saharan Africa, surpassed only by Nigeria and South Africa.
According to the Angolan Minister of Economy, Abraão Gourgel, the financial market of the country grew modestly from 2002 and now lies in third place at the level of sub-Saharan Africa.
The country depends on expensive food imports, mainly from South Africa and Portugal, while more than 90 percent of farming is done at family and subsistence level. Thousands of Angolan small-scale farmers are trapped in poverty.
Although by law education in Angola is compulsory and free for eight years, the government reports that a percentage of students are not attending due to a lack of school buildings and teachers.
Students are often responsible for paying additional school-related expenses, including fees for books and supplies.
In September 2014, the Angolan Ministry of Education announced an investment of 16 million Euros in the computerization of over 300 classrooms across the country. The project also includes training teachers at a national level, “as a way to introduce and use new information technologies in primary schools, thus reflecting an improvement in the quality of teaching.”
The name Angola comes from the Portuguese colonial name Reino de Angola (Kingdom of Angola), appearing as early as Dias de Novais’s 1571 charter.
Angola’s motto is Virtus Unita Fortior, a Latin phrase meaning “Virtue is stronger when united”
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