(ECONOMIST) Generally deemed wretched after a 14-year war for independence from Portugal followed by 27 years of civil war that only ended in 2002, Angola is now one of Africa’s economic successes—thanks almost entirely to oil. With a population of 20m, it has Africa’s fifth-biggest and fastest-growing economy. Between 2004 and 2008 its GDP surged by an average of 17% a year, topping 22% in 2007. It is the continent’s second-biggest oil producerafter Nigeria. Foreign investment is pouring in at a rate of more than $10 billion a year. In the past decade GDP per person is said to have tripled.
Yet most of its people are still very poor. Two-fifths are undernourished. One in three adults is illiterate. Infant and maternal mortality rates are among the highest in the world, life-expectancy among the lowest. Corruption is rampant. Angola’s human-rights record is poor, the police brutal, the courts and the press both still hobbled. In an array of league tables, Angola comes near the bottom.