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President João Lourenço’s mission impossible: Fixing Angola’s economy

In depth
This article is part of the dossier: João Lourenço’s Angola

By Estelle Maussion
Posted on Friday, 21 May 2021 00:20

Elected president in 2017 on the promise of delivering an economic miracle, João Lourenço has faced challenges with regard to debt, privatisation, Covid-19. Not to mention intense criticism, even from within his own political party.

This is part 5 of a 6-part series.

Angola’s President João Lourenço, at the helm of Africa’s second-largest oil producer, agreed to take on the ‘ mission impossible’ of reforming Angola’s economy. The problem is, unlike agent Ethan Hunt, the fictional character played by Hollywood actor Tom Cruise, he is unsure of his ability to succeed.

Since he took office in 2017, Lourenço – the successor of José Eduardo dos Santos and fellow member of the political party Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola (MPLA) – has faced enormous obstacles.

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When João Lourenço’s took over as president, it marked a turning point in Angolan history. In September 2017, after 38 years of rule by José Eduardo dos Santos, he took the reins as president of Africa’s second biggest oil producer. And with that, inherited a Herculean project of turning around the country.

Angola’s President João Lourenço tries to pull off a tricky balancing act

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Angola: Is Lourenço using his anti-corruption fight to settle scores?

On the campaign trail, Angola's João Lourenço had promised a stark break with the Dos Santos era. But since taking over the presidency, his anti-corruption crusade has proven extremely difficult to execute and has given rise to tensions. Not to mention, the whole thing could backfire.

Lourenço’s Angola: The winners, the losers and the escape artists

João Lourenço’s ascension to the presidency put an end to the influence of Isabel dos Santos, Manuel Vicente and General Kopelipa, yet other figures had managed to stay put after a regime change. Read on for a quick overview of the post-Dos Santos political landscape.

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Angola’s president has initiated a rebalancing of relations with China to the benefit of Europe and the United States, while maintaining the country’s regional influence.