Angola's left-wing MPLA government has launched a programme to completely restructure the country's economy. The?
Angola's left-wing MPLA government has launched a programme to completely restructure the country's economy. The move comes seven months after the victory of the ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola in the country's civil war.
SYNOPSIS: The MPLA were aided in their civil war victory by Cuban troops and advisors. Since then, Cuba has played a major part in Angola's attempts to restructure its economy. Work has already begun on increasing the country's relatively small industrial base. Angola's President, Agostinho Neto, has said the factories, machines and the tools are the social property of the people. But the government has not ruled out some private enterprise and its negotiating several large contracts with foreign corporations.
Negotiations for one of the largest contracts is with the Gulf Oil Company. Gulf is pumping more than 100,000 barrels of oil a day from its off-shore concession in Angola's Cabinda enclave. It is reported likely that Gulf will work for the Angolan state corporation controlling the nation's mineral resources.
Much of the country's economy is based on agriculture, and in particular the banana crop. Big plantations were abandoned by white Portuguese who fled from Angola at independence in November last year. Many have been confiscated by the government and handed over to Angolan farmers. President Neto has said that people should have the right to own and harvest land. But he declared that land could no longer be the property of some men who gained the profit from other men's work. The President said that the plantations could be worked by individuals, but he favoured collective exploitation of the land and state enterprises.
President Neto returned from his first official visit to Cuba at the beginning of August with a series of wide ranging co-operation agreements. Over the coming years, Cuba will provide doctors, nurses, teachers and engineers, as well as experts in internal distribution and external trade, and labour organisation. The Cuban leader, Fidel Castro, said that cooperation will cover every possible field and make it necessary for several thousand Cubans to volunteer for the trip to Africa. However, Dr. Castro said, Cubans were no longer needed in Angola as a military force and a gradual pullout of troops was underway. President Neto said that in future, Cuba's assistance would help Angola to make full use of its potential resources through a complete restructuring of the country's economy.