Angola: Council of Ministers approves new proposal to conclude "New Life Project"

News and Press Release
Originally published
unofficial translation

Luanda, 19 February 2003 -- The Permanent Commission of the Council of Ministers approved today a financial proposal to conclude the "New Life Project" and defined rules that will guide its marketing.

The document identifies financing modalities for public workers and others to acquire housing, including bank loans with a reimbursement period of 10 to 20 years.

The project includes a plan to use the resources obtained with the sale of the properties for the creation of a Housing Promotion Fund to be used to conclude the "New Life Project" and the extension of similar projects throughout the country in a sustained fashion with a view to increase the supply of housing.

Social Return

In a meeting held today, oriented as usual by the President of Angola, the government assessed the degree of compliance with the tasks included in the social integration framework for the demobilized and the closing down of the reception camps.

In this domain the executive has learned that in the period between November 2002 and February 2003 the country witnessed the movement of 93,000 people back to their areas of origin; of these 22,000 were demobilized combatants and over 70,000 were civilians. On the other hand, five reception camps were closed in the provinces of Bengo, Benguela, Kuanza Sul and Cunene.

In the meantime to consolidate stabilization and ensure the social and productive reintegration of the former military, training efforts were developed within the scope of the program Citizenship and Employment. This program aims at offering basic professional training to the demobilized so as to facilitate their resettlement in their destination areas and support their insertion in the work market through the participation in integrated programs of the National Reconstruction Program or through self employment. To reinforce these actions a General Program for Demobilization and Reintegration in partnership with the World Bank is being developed.

Also during this meeting the Government was made aware of information related to the repatriation process of Angolan refugees. According to this information the estimated number of Angolan refugees in Zambia, Namibia, Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo is estimated at 450.000.

Since April 2002 approximately 120,000 refugees have voluntarily returned to Angola,. Repatriation agreements are to be signed with South Africa and Botswana; there are also understandings with Angola's neighboring countries and the UNHCR.

Finally the Permanent Commission of the Council of Ministers studied the execution of the program for the return and resettlement of the populations affected by the armed conflict. Since beginning of its implementation this program has allowed more than 1.5 million people to return to their areas of origin in 17 provinces. The largest contingents have gone to the provinces of Bengo, Bié, Huambo, Kuanza Sul and Malange.

To ensure their accommodation and the normalization of the life of these populations, especially the displaced and former military, the government acquired resettlement "kits" which include household material, work tools, bath and cleaning material and blankets. Food was also distributed.