Backgrounder: Basic facts about Angola

13:47, May 22, 2011      

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China's top legislator Wu Bangguo is scheduled to arrive in Angola for an official visit on Sunday. The following are some key facts about the country.

Located in southwest Africa and overlooking the Atlantic Ocean on the west, Angola covers an area of 1.24 million square km with a population of 17.4 million. Luanda is the capital.

Portuguese is the country's official language, and major indigenous languages include Umbundu, Kimbundu and Kikongo.

Forty-three percent of the population are Roman Catholics, and another 13 percent are Protestants. The rest are mostly followers of indigenous religions.

Angola had been a colony of Portugal for more than 5 centuries. After its independence in 1975, the country was dragged into 27 years of civil war until 2002 when a truce was reached between the government and the anti-government National Union for Total Independence of Angola (UNITA).

The civil war left Angola one of the least developed countries in the world, with a severely-damaged economy. The government has since then been dedicated to socioeconomic development, and the recent years have seen steady economic growth in the country with a notable upward trend.

Angola boasts rich natural resources such as crude oil, natural gas, diamond, iron ore, copper, gold, quartz and marble, with oil reserves estimated at 12.5 billion barrels and natural gas reserves at 7,000 billion cubic meters.

Oil industry and diamond mining are the backbones of Angola's economy while the nation's fertile farmland and abundant water resources provide huge potential for agricultural development.

China and Angola established diplomatic ties in January 1983, and since then bilateral cooperation in political, economic and other areas have been advancing steadily. In November 2010, the two countries declared the establishment of a bilateral strategic partnership.

The two-way trade grew rapidly over recent years, and Angola has become China's second-largest trading partner in Africa as bilateral trade volume reached 24.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2010.

Source: Xinhua
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