Angola: Background & Geography

Introduction Angola
Background:
Civil war has been the norm in Angola since independence from Portugal in 1975. A 1994 peace accord between the government and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) provided for the integration of former UNITA insurgents into the government and armed forces. A national unity government was installed in April of 1997, but serious fighting resumed in late 1998, rendering hundreds of thousands of people homeless. Up to 1.5 million lives may have been lost in fighting over the past quarter century. The death of insurgent leader Jonas SAVIMBI in 2002 and a subsequent cease-fire with UNITA may bode well for the country.
Geography Angola
Location:
Southern Africa, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Namibia and Democratic Republic of the Congo
Geographic coordinates:
12 30 S, 18 30 E
Map references:
Africa
Area:
total: 1,246,700 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 1,246,700 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly less than twice the size of Texas
Land boundaries:
total: 5,198 km
border countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo 2,511 km (of which 225 km is the boundary of discontiguous Cabinda Province), Republic of the Congo 201 km, Namibia 1,376 km, Zambia 1,110 km
Coastline:
1,600 km
Maritime claims - as described in UNCLOS 1982 (see Notes and Definitions):
territorial sea: 12 NM
contiguous zone: 24 NM
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
Climate:
semiarid in south and along coast to Luanda; north has cool, dry season (May to October) and hot, rainy season (November to April)
Terrain:
narrow coastal plain rises abruptly to vast interior plateau
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Morro de Moco 2,620 m
Natural resources:
petroleum, diamonds, iron ore, phosphates, copper, feldspar, gold, bauxite, uranium
Land use:
arable land: 2.41%
permanent crops: 0.4%
other: 97.19% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
750 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
locally heavy rainfall causes periodic flooding on the plateau
Environment - current issues:
overuse of pastures and subsequent soil erosion attributable to population pressures; desertification; deforestation of tropical rain forest, in response to both international demand for tropical timber and to domestic use as fuel, resulting in loss of biodiversity; soil erosion contributing to water pollution and siltation of rivers and dams; inadequate supplies of potable water
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
the province of Cabinda is an exclave, separated from the rest of the country by the Democratic Republic of the Congo

See Also: