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Angola is the second largest producer of oil in Africa, yet a baby born there today is expected to live to just 55. This needs to change. Read more

Angola is often cited as a classic example of the resource curse. Immense oil and diamond resources have fuelled conflict, environmental destruction, and high-level corruption. Global Witness is now campaigning to ensure that Angola’s natural wealth is used to its maximum to fund development, and not to line the pockets of the wealthy elite.

The civil war in Angola spanned over 40 years and claimed the lives of at least 500,000 people, leaving thousands more maimed by landmines which still litter its landscape. Global Witness’s landmark report, A Rough Trade, revealed how the rebel group UNITA, was using the sale of diamonds to fund its increasingly brutal war effort, thrusting ‘blood diamonds’ into the global spotlight for the first time. This report helped kick-start a global conversation about the steps governments, diamond companies, and consumers should take to create a more transparent and accountable diamond industry, from which the Kimberley Process was eventually born.

Meanwhile, corruption in Angola’s oil industry played a major role in prolonging the conflict, as documented in Global Witness’s 1999 report, A Crude Awakening. Sadly, very little has changed since the conflict ended in 2001. Angola’s oil industry remains shrouded in mystery, while questions remain as to whether revenues are still being siphoned off from the public purse for personal gain. In 2014, Global Witness raised questions about payments of $350m from BP and Houston-based Cobalt to Angola’s state oil company, to fund a research centre that is nowhere to be seen.

Internationally, Global Witness’s work in Angola has inspired a great deal of legislative change. Our diamond work has contributed to a global movement towards companies carrying out checks on their supply chains to mitigate the risk of funding violence. In the extractive industries, ground breaking efforts like the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and Publish What You Pay movement have grown out of the problems seen in countries like Angola, and brought laws in the EU and UK which will force companies to disclose the payments they make to overseas governments.