Angola (Re)Model

How Angola’s honeymoon with China came to an end

By Cláudio Silva

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Posted on May 10, 2022 19:36

In 2002, as Angola lay in ruins after a 27-year long civil war, its government desperately sought western help to rebuild the country. None was immediately forthcoming, however.

International financial institutions and the Paris Club of creditor countries were wary about working with a country with a well-known propensity for corruption and a glaring lack of transparency. Indeed, the International Monetary Fund had just discovered a $4.2bn hole in the country’s coffers that authorities could not readily explain.

As the calls for democratic reform, accountability, and the embrace of rule of law grew, Angola decided to look eastward. Thus began its highly pragmatic and initially lucrative — arrangement with China.

The Angola Model

Angola and China had not always seen eye to eye.

During the Angolan war for independence, the Chinese supported all three liberation movements but favoured the União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola, the bitter rival of the Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola (MPLA) that eventually came out on top in 1975.


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