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Lusa - Business News - Angola: Country on right track but reforms insufficient - Cambridge academic




Lisbon,Oct.21,2019 (Lusa)–A British academic expert on African affairs on Monday told Lusa that Angola’s current president has put the country on the right track but warned that the measures implemented so far are not yet sufficient to assure the country’s development.
"In the last two years, since the election of João Lourenço, Angola has been in a transitional period, and the end point is still not certain," said Justin Pearce, a professor at the University of Cambridge’s Centre of African Studies, in an interview in Lisbon, where he was taking part in a meeting of the Angolan academic network.
"There have been changes towards economic decentralisation, but the problem is that during the presidency of José Eduardo dos Santos the rise in oil prices in 2004 created no incentives for the diversification of the economy and that is why Angola has been in a very precarious condition since the drop in oil prices in 2014," Pearce said. "João Lourenço took power three years after the oil price drop and, because of that, he began to implement certain the right measures, but they are still not enough."
According to Pearce, the mere fact that the country has changed leadership "is significant, because it took 38 years, during which José Eduardo dos Santos and his family ended up dominating the political and economic sphere in Angola."
Under the country’s new leadership, "it is clear that a certain space has already opened, there is already more possibility of freedom of expression that there was not previously," Pearce said, warning however that it is difficult to foresee how this process will develop.
"So far, Angola has been more or less on the right track,” he said. “Many people were surprised by the speed of change, especially those who had said that Lourenço was just a puppet of José Eduardo dos Santos, and were surprised when he began to implement changes, but it's still hard to tell where we're going from here on."
For this Cambridge professor, the problem also lies in the lack of organised opposition to the government.
"The Angolan opposition is in a very weak state,” he observed “The problem is that when dos Santos was president, the discourse of opposition parties and also of the civic opposition was very directed against the president: the main message was 'dos Santos out', but now that dos Santos has left, it seems that the opposition no longer has the right targets."

MBA/ARO // ARO.
Lusa


Agency : LUSA

Date : 2019-10-22 09:18:00







 

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