The death of UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi one year ago brought an end to war in Angola. For the first time in decades the people of Angola face a future which is not determined by military forces.
However, there has been growing criticism that international aid donors have failed to take the opportunity to take a partnership role in rebuilding the country. Aditi Sharma, Head of Campaigns at Action for Southern Africa, ACTSA, stated that "the effects of the long war in Angola has left the economy in ruins and millions of people destitute. The international community has played a vital role through the United Nations World Food Programme in feeding hundreds of thousands of people in rural areas who would otherwise have starved to death. Yet it has so far failed to respond far beyond delivering the bare minimum for survival. Nor has it moved forwards in assisting Angola rebuild so that it can stand on its own feet".
For 2002, the United Nations produced a Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal which identified projects in Angola totalling $232 million. This total was revised upwards after the end of the war in recognition of the huge costs associated with the demilitarisation of UNITA soldiers and the emergency needs of hundreds of thousands of people who were previously out of the reach of the aid agencies in war zones. This pushed the total needed from the international community to over $296 million.
Of this total only $202 million was raised, which represents only 68 percent of requirements. Three quarters of donations went to the vital work of the World Food Programme, which brought food to those under threat of starvation. The work of UNICEF was also well supported, with the children's organisation raising 95 percent of its $22.67 million requirements.
However, while the international community did respond to the life-or-death emergency needs of the Angolan people, it hardly responded at all to the opportunities that peace offered the country.
For the first time in decades no land mines were planted in Angola, and on 5 July 2002 the country ratified the Mine Ban Treaty. Yet Angola is still one of the most mine-infested countries in the world.
The size of the danger should not be underestimated. Three quarters of landmine accidents in Angola involve Internally Displaced People (IDP) walking in unfamiliar areas. In Angola, this high-risk group is on the move. Since the end of the war in April over a million IDP's have made their own way home. Furthermore, the threat of land mines is a barrier to agricultural production and has been responsible for slowing down the distribution of food aid.
According to Aditi Sharma, "Politicians were keen to associate themselves with the campaign against landmines when it was a hot media topic. So it is quite shocking that, when peace has finally offered a chance to tackle Angola's appalling landmine legacy, they are unwilling to put their money where their mouth is".
The Consolidated Appeal sought only $10 million for demining and mine awareness programmes. There are no politicians or bureaucrats who would deny the importance of mine action. But the total received was zero. Below we list the 22 mine action projects ignored.
Project requirement($) received
- Prevention of landmine accidents and
victim support: 63,687 NIL
- Mine awareness in Cunhinga and Kuito
Municipalities, Bie Province: 89,398 NIL
- Support to mine victims in Kapango,
Moxico Province: 13,240 NIL
- CARE Angola Mine Related Initiatives
(CAMRI) in Kuito, Bie Province: 933,000 NIL
- Emergency mine clearance, explosive
ordnance disposal,survey and mine awareness in the Planalto: 500,000 NIL
- Mine awareness and mine risk education
400,822 NIL Mine and UXO clearance and assistance in Kanongondo and Matala,
Huila Province: 495,772 NIL
- Emergency response and area clearance
in Cunene and Moxico Provinces: 1,001,976 NIL
- Landmine and UXO surveying, verification
and clearance in Bengo, Kuando Kubango and Kuanza Sul Provinces: 500,000
- Landmine and UXO surveying, verification
and clearance on the Benguela Railroad Line: 350,000 NIL
- Community mine action in Bengo Province:
- Support to the national mine action
database: 132,000 NIL
- Mine awareness: 250,000 NIL
- Demining activities in support of food
security and resettlement: 639,600 NIL
- Community-based mine awareness programme,
Bie Province: 377,284 NIL
- National production of prosthetic feet:
- Mine awareness and mine risk education,
Moxico and Luanda Sul provinces: 27,560 NIL
- Emergency mine action, Kuando Kubango
Province: 2,419,367 NIL
- Minefield and route clearance, Bengo
and Kuanza provinces: 1,066,500 NIL
- Minefield and route clearance, Huila
Province: 303,750 NIL
- Emergency mine action coordination at
the provincial level1:
- Expanded national mine action capacity: 779,048 NIL
There were other vital sectors covered by the Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal.
- The sector "Economic Recovery and
Infrastructure" covered 17 projects at a cost of $10 million. However,
no money was donated to this sector.
- 17 educational projects were identified
at a total cost of $8.31 million. Only one project, a UNICEF initiative
to give learning opportunities to women and children, was funded at a cost
of $3.84 million.
- 4 projects to give family shelter and
non-food items were proposed, but no funds were donated.
- 31 health projects only four received
any funding. Out of a requirement of $29 million only $12 million was donated.
Seven of the ignored projects focus on HIV/AIDS, which is a growing problem
in Angola. With the increased movement of people around the country since
peace was restored the rate is expected to rise rapidly. Currently, there
are no reliable figures on the percentage of the population carrying the
HIV virus that causes AIDS, but it is a far lower rate than in neighbouring
countries. Health Minister Albertina Hamukwaya puts the number of HIV positive
people at over one million.
- 14 projects came under the heading "Protection/Human
Rights/Rule of Law", yet only two received funding, ninety percent
of which went to a UNICEF project to protect vulnerable children. Only
$3.44 million was donated out of a required $8 million
- 13 projects were identified under the sector "Water and Sanitation", but only one project - again run by UNICEF - received funding. The need was $10.3 million - the response was $1.9 million.
The largest donor by far was the United States of America, which gave $104 million, ninety percent of which was in the form of donated food. These donations were vital for the survival of so many Angolans. However, it should be noted that most of the food came from the US agricultural surplus.
The next largest donor was the European Commission, giving a fifth of the total aid valued at $42 million, two thirds of which was in the form of food aid.
Britain donated $6,190,542 to the Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal, which represented 3.07 percent of the total received. According to the DFID, Britain has given over =A39 million if one includes its mandatory contribution of 19.7% of EC funds to Angola and donations outside of the UN appeal.
The attitude of the British government was summed up in a letter written on 11 September 2002 to ACTSA President, Lord Hughes of Woodside. The Minister for Africa, Baroness Amos, stated that "we share the view of the international community that the Angolan government needs to be seen to be devoting a larger share of its own resources to meeting the humanitarian needs of its own people. The prospects of a good response to the UN appeal by the international community would undoubtedly be helped if it were seen that the Angolan government is playing its full part in responding to the emergency".
The British government's attitude matches that of other international donors, which link the issues of corruption and lack of financial transparency by the Angolan government with the lack of social spending by the Angolan government. However, it should be noted that Angola's first post-war budget devotes over three-quarters of spending to rebuilding the country's economy, agricultural base, education and health care systems. According to Paul de Souza of the consultants KPMG, quoted in Business Day on 5 March, "the government has oil revenue, and is beginning to spend a lot more money on infrastructure, services and goods ".
In 2003 the United Nations is appealing for $386,846,451 for its Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal. The World Food Programme has increased its requirements from $153 million to $243 million to meet its increased workload and the longer than hoped for dependence on food aid. The UN High Commission for Refugees has increased its budget to $25 million in expectation that in May it will begin the organised repatriation of 150,000 refugees in Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
In the first two months of the appeal - a sixth of the total period covered - there have only been four donations: the European Commission has given $3.19 million for the reduction of infant and maternal mortality in resettlement and return areas, South Africa has given $45,000 to the International Office of Migration, and the British government has given two donations to the UN's OCHA totalling $1.1 million. Only 1.1 percent of the total requirements has been met so far.
No donor conference on horizon
Ever since UNITA were brought back to the negotiating table following the death of Jonas Savimbi, there have been promises of an international donors' conference where commitments would be made towards reconstructing Angola's war shattered economy and infrastructure.
However, the promises have never been met, with no firm date set for the donor conference, which will be held in Brussels. The UN had begun to speak about a March conference, but is now talking vaguely about holding it in the first half of 2003.
It is not known what amount of money is needed to begin to rebuild the country. However, in September 1995 donors met in Brussels under the auspices of the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, and promised over a billion dollars for reconstruction - none of which materialised.
Over seven years down the line the economy has worsened, and roads and bridges have deteriorated further. In his report to the UN Security Council on 7 February (S/2003/158), the Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, wrote that "with a virtually non-existent infrastructure in the provinces and an overall economy devastated by, among other factors, more than three decades of war, Angola's recovery, reconstruction and long-term development needs remain formidable. The United Nations is expected to assist with major gap-bridging initiatives in order to enable the transition of the country from relief dependency to development and self-reliance".
He continued that "during my meeting with the G-8 States in Kananaskis, Canada, from 27 to 28 June 2002, I identified Angola as one of three countries in Africa most in need of post-conflict and peace-building assistance. The international donors' conference for Angola, which is scheduled for the first part of 2003, should provide an opportunity for the international community to channel its assistance to the country".
However, he continued by stating that "the Angolan Government is aware that it needs to exert more effort in order to allay donors' concerns and to reach understanding with the Bretton Woods institutions. In preparation for that conference, an option under consideration is to convene a meeting with the donors beforehand, which would allow the Government to brief them on its efforts to promote transparency and accountability and on its own financial contributions to the emergency and transitional phases".
A major block to international aid to Angola beyond the bare minimum is the inability of the Angolan government to reach agreement with the International Monetary Fund. One of the key issues of concern to donors is the lack of transparency and the various irreconcilable sets of statistics that have led organisations such as Global Witness to accuse very senior Angolan figures of stealing a billion dollars of oil revenue each year.
Angola also needs to reach agreement with the IMF in order to restructure its huge debt. Much of the country's debt is guaranteed by oil revenues, so a high proportion of the state's revenues never reach the country, despite high crude oil prices.
International focus on UN Security Council vote
Angola has received huge attention in recent weeks as the United States has sought to gain a majority of support in the United Nations Security Council for a mandate to launch war on Iraq. The United States and Britain have tabled a motion which, if passed, would give UN endorsement to an invasion of Iraq.
Angola is serving a two-year term as a non-permanent member of the Security Council, along with Bulgaria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Mexico, Syria, Chile, Germany, Pakistan and Spain. The United States and Britain are desperate to get nine votes in favour of their resolution, despite the expectation that three permanent members of the Security Council - China, Russia and France - will veto the resolution in favour of giving the UN weapons inspectors more time to complete their mission.
Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos has received telephone calls from President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell, French President Jacques Chirac and Portuguese Prime Minister Durao Barrosa. He has also received Prime Minister Tony Blair's special envoy, Baroness Amos, and US Assistant Secretary of State Walter Kansteiner.
A constant theme in the rumours surrounding talks between the United States and Angola is that if Angola votes for the second resolution on Iraq it will open the door for an international donors conference at which it could expect generous donations from the United States.
Meanwhile, the Observer newspaper revealed on 2 March that the United States' National Security Agency is intercepting the telephone conversations and e-mails of Angolan diplomats and other diplomats who are members of the Security Council, in order to gather information on how countries intend to vote.
Angola is expected to reveal its decision at the Security Council on 7 March after hearing the latest inspection report from Hans Blix. It is not yet clear whether the motion will be put to a vote, or whether the British and American governments will decide to pursue the warpath without a second resolution.
Angola is part of the African Union, which on 4 February issued a statement urging all parties to "avoid the use of force, while ensuring the implementation of the relevant resolutions of the Security Council". The African Union stressed that "the territorial integrity of Iraq should be respected and underlines that all diplomatic means should be pursued by the International Community to ensure that the Iraqi Government complies fully with the provisions of Resolution 1441".
United Nations Mission in Angola closes down
The United Nations Mission in Angola (UNMA) on 15 February came to the end of its six month mandate. Following consultations with the Angolan government and UNITA the United Nations has decided not to renew its UNMA's mandate.
Instead, the UN Resident Coordinator, Erick de Mul, will be the senior UN official in Angola. The UN will not have a "mission" in Angola, only a presence, and progress in implementing peace will no longer be brought before the UN Security Council.
Report warns of returnees facing abuses
A report by the Swiss-based Global IDP Project has warned that "returning IDPs face ongoing human rights abuses and grim humanitarian conditions". The NGO, that is allied with the Norwegian Refugee Council, pointed out that "those IDPs returning to areas without humanitarian support and with no basic social services in place will be among the most vulnerable populations in 2003".
Among the concerns of the NGO are human rights abuses on IDPs and examples of local authorities forcibly returning displaced populations.
The report states that over a million IDPs have already returned home, and many of the remaining 2.8 million IDPs are expected to follow this year. However, the project states that "donors are wary of supporting a country whose oil industry is one of the strongest in Africa and whose vast diamond wealth consistently eludes ordinary Angolans".
Global IDP Project pinpoints lack of funding as the main constraint affecting humanitarian operations, "forcing agencies to prioritise among acutely vulnerable populations and slowing down emergency response ".
ICG reports peace at crossroads
The International Crisis Group on 27 February has released a report stating that "emerging slowly from decades of civil war, Angola stands at a crossroads between a spectacular recovery or further cycles of instability and crisis. The government that won the fighting must now move on a number of fronts - with international support - to win the peace".
The ICG report, "Dealing with Savimbi's Ghost: The Security and Humanitarian Challenges in Angola" shows that the most immediate humanitarian issues have political and security implications.
The report highlights the legacy of the war, which ICG estimates left a million dead, a third of the population displaced, and a heavily militarised society.
The report focuses on three central issues: the reintegration into society of 105,000 former UNITA soldiers and their families; the resettlement of the millions of war displaced and refugees; and demining.
According to ICG's Africa Programme Director, John Prendergast, "if the government meets these challenges responsibly, and the international community provides complementary support, Angola's stability will be ensured. But if the government minimises these issues, particularly the reintegration of ex-combatants, the resultant crime and warlordism will form the basis for serious trouble not far down the road".
1 The British Department for International Development, DFID, states that it gave the UN Development Programme =A3300,000 to cover the costs of this project. This amount was sent on 31 January 2003 but has not appeared in the United Nations statistics as either being given or promised.
The Angola Peace Monitor is produced every month by ACTSA - Action for Southern Africa.
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