Angola: Drought risk (as of 4 Nov 2013)
Angola is considered an ‘extreme risk’ in Maplecroft’s Drought Risk Index 2013, and is ranked 17 out of 197 countries globally (where a lower score indicates a greater risk). The United Nations (UN) estimates that over 1.8 million people were affected by drought in July and August 2013, with five provinces in the south of the country – Cunene, Namibe, Cuando Cubango, Huila and Benguela – particularly afflicted by persistent drought conditions. The drought, which comes after three years of inadequate rainfall, has led to deaths as a result of malnutrition and the spread of water-borne diseases.
Where commercial activity increases pressure on scarce water resources, extreme drought has the potential to generate threats to operational continuity and corporate reputation. Water scarcity is a particularly important consideration for oil and gas operators, given the extent to which a company’s corporate reputation can be adversely affected if their business activities compromise community access to water. The Angolan government has insisted that it has adequate capacity to respond to the drought, and mitigate adverse societal impacts. However, aid officials suggest that government assistance has been inadequate, and the extent of the crisis has been downplayed.