Angola's economy is in a state of fragility. Its tough economic restructuring programme at the beginning of the year focused on the sale of state-owned oil and diamond assets, reform of the national budget. The major hit it has taken from the coronavirus epidemic, has also weakened the country. But perhaps Angola would have weathered the storm better had over $100bn not been stolen from state coffers during the four decade presidency of José Eduardo dos Santos. In this five-part series, Patrick Smith and Zoe Eisenstein report on the campaign to find those stolen funds and how it is changing the politics and economy of Angola.
Globally, the number of cases is fastly approaching 4 million. This past week, however, we saw a loosening of the lockdown in South Africa, Nigeria and Ghana. That is not to say things are back to normal; numbers are still rising across the continent. But the African continent seems to be faring better than other regions.
The number of confirmed cases has now surpassed three million. Despite efforts across the African continent there are now 34,000 confirmed cases. Both France and Italy have entered a recession. On the plus side, lockdowns worldwide have led to a record drop in C02 emissions. This week, we begin to look ahead to life post-lockdown and even post-pandemic.
Nine years ago, after publishing a comprehensive survey of the damage, the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP) called for the launch of a $1bn fund to clean up decades of oil spills there. It is a 600 square kilometre area full of shut-off oil wells and a labyrinth of ageing pipelines converge. Today it remains one of the most contaminated stretches of water and marsh land in the world.
The US has surpassed China and Italy with the most cases of COVID-19, just as South Africa announces an easing of its lockdown with a five-level plan. This week, we look at how the global pandemic has affected the continent from news of a looming recession to moments of a medical breakthrough.