Strategic framework: Angola 2003-2005

The present strategic framework outlines what Norway wishes to focus on in its co-operation with Angola in the initial post-conflict period (2003-2005)

Strategic framework: Angola 2003-2005

(August 2003)


Angola is currently facing many challenges, but also tremendous opportunities. After nearly 40 years of conflict, peace now reigns in the country, and there are good prospects that the peace will endure. Angola has great economic potential, and also the potential to become a major, and very constructive, political actor in the region. The main challenge will be to consolidate the peace. A number of things are necessary to achieve this: human security, national reconciliation, democracy-building and good governance, and sustainable social and economic development with a focus on the eradication of poverty.

Now that there is a prospect of a lasting peace, Norway has undertaken a review of its involvement in Angola. The review looks at our relations with Angola from every angle – foreign policy, development policy and private sector policy. The present strategic framework outlines what Norway wishes to focus on in its co-operation with Angola in the initial post-conflict period (2003-2005). A fresh review will then be carried out at the end of 2005.

The overriding goal of Norway’s involvement in Angola during this post-conflict period is to contribute to a lasting and stable peace based on:

  • National and regional security
  • Democracy and good governance
  • Resource management that promotes poverty eradication and sustainable social and economic development

Humanitarian efforts and development assistance will continue to be important instruments for Norwegian public policy. To ensure that the available resources are focussed and used as effectively as possible, development activities should target specific priority areas. Norway’s development co-operation with Angola will be based on the Millennium Development Goals, the Norwegian Government’s Action Plan for Combating Poverty in the South towards 2015, and Angola’s Interim PRSP. It will also be guided by Norwegian expertise and experience and the efforts of other actors.

Norway’s involvement as outlined in this framework will be organised on the assumption that armed conflict does not flare up again. It will also assume that the Angolan authorities demonstrate their willingness to follow up their plans to promote national reconciliation, democracy, good governance and poverty eradication.

1. Introduction

The cease-fire agreement signed by the Government of Angola and UNITA on 4 April 2002 ended 27 years of armed conflict. Angola has been torn by conflict for nearly 40 years, and in spite of its rich natural resources, it is a country in ruins. However, provided that Angola’s enormous potential is managed properly, the recent positive developments in the country do hold a promise of lasting peace, and the outlook for building a society based on democracy, human rights, social welfare and economic prosperity is good.

Now that there is a prospect of a lasting peace, Norway has decided to review its involvement in Angola and to develop a strategic framework for future co-operation. Every aspect of our relations with Angola has been examined – foreign policy, development policy and private sector policy. This strategic framework document outlines the main elements of Norway’s involvement in Angola in the initial post-conflict period (2003-2005), with an emphasis on a co-ordinated and coherent approach. A further review will be carried out at the end of 2005.

While the war was going on, flexibility and the necessity to respond rapidly to emergencies often had to take priority over long-term planning, and efforts were often fragmented and ad hoc. The cease-fire and the prospect of lasting peace have brought a new degree of stability and predictability to the situation. This makes it easier to plan and to give our efforts a stronger focus and clearer priorities. In drawing up this strategy, every effort has been made to identify areas in which Norway possesses expertise that can enhance the value of national and international efforts.

The total amount of Norway’s assistance to Angola has been around NOK 150 million per year in recent years. There are no plans to increase our allocations during the period 2003-2005. What Norway is particularly interested in doing is stepping up the dialogue with Angola on political and economic issues. There are no plans for development co-operation beyond the medium term, as Angola is presumed to have sufficient economic resources of its own in a long-term perspective. Petroleum revenues, for example, are expected to rise substantially over the next few years.

2. Framework conditions and major challenges

Although the peace now appears to be a lasting one, Angola still faces many challenges. The peace must be consolidated, which will require human security, national reconciliation, democracy-building and good governance, and sustainable social and economic development with a focus on poverty alleviation.

After decades of civil war, a number of problems relating to national stability still remain. The further development of democratic governance and measures to promote national reconciliation and deal with potential conflicts will be crucial for a stable and lasting peace.

Another major challenge is to establish a cohesive administration based on good governance and the democratic, open management of state revenues. The centralisation of the government administration and the absence of functioning local and regional administrations hamper both effective governance and democratic control. Corruption, too, is a major problem.

Angola is one of the richest countries in Africa in terms of natural resources, particularly oil, hydropower and diamonds. It also has a favourable climate and fertile soil. Nevertheless, poverty is a huge problem. Two-thirds of the population live below the poverty line. Unemployment is widespread. Angola scores extremely low on health and education indicators, and infant mortality is extremely high (250 children per 1000 live births die before the age of five). The discrepancy between the economic potential and the social reality is a challenge to the Angolan government, and will require the country to change the way it uses its resources, and give priority to economic development and equitable distribution.

These challenges have all been publicly acknowledged in Angola by the president, by government officials and by representatives of civil society. Norway wishes to support Angola’s efforts to meet these challenges.

2.1 What are the reasons for Norway’s involvement in Angola?

Norway has been involved in Angola for many years and has invested substantial sums in development co-operation and humanitarian assistance. Norwegian involvement has been based on a desire to build peace, promote human rights, democracy, good governance, development and the eradication of poverty, and alleviate human suffering. During the period 2003-2005, our efforts in these areas will continue to occupy a central place in our development co-operation with the country. Our longstanding development co-operation with Angola has given us valuable knowledge and contacts with civil society, multilateral organisations and government institutions, and also a credibility that will be of fundamental importance in the work ahead. In our dialogue with the authorities, we wish to continue to be a frank and outspoken partner, particularly in respect of the acknowledged problems associated with distribution policy and transparency.

Norway is an important donor to activities carried on by the UN and other multilateral organisations in Angola. Like other countries, Norway has emphasised how important it is that the UN plays a central and balanced role in the political efforts underpinning the peace process, in humanitarian assistance and in development co-operation. Support for the efforts of the UN and other multilateral institutions in Angola will continue to receive high priority. We will work for the harmonisation of international measures with Angola’s own national measures and with other international activities. Co-ordination requires close co-operation with the Angolan authorities, international finance institutions, the UN and other donor countries.

Angola has the necessary qualifications to become a major regional actor, politically as well as economically. Peace in Angola will have a positive impact on stability in the region. If the country’s internal development follows a positive course, Angola is expected to assume a more active role in international politics, especially on the African continent. Its seat on the Security Council in 2003-2004 will further enhance Angola’s status as an interesting partner in political dialogue and co-operation in a geographical area where Norway is deeply involved.

Angola’s special qualifications in the economic field make it an interesting partner for business co-operation, particularly in areas where Norway has a high level of expertise (petroleum, hydropower, fisheries). Norwegian petroleum companies and equipment supply companies have already established a presence in Angola and have made major investments. Relations between Norway and Angola will increasingly be based on economic and commercial ties rather than on development assistance. Like Angola, Norway’s economy is largely based on the exploitation of renewable and non-renewable natural resources. The Norwegian authorities and business sector have acquired a high degree of expertise in the petroleum, fisheries, and energy/hydropower fields and on the environmental problems and challenges associated with the management of these resources, which makes these areas a natural focus for both development and commercial co-operation. Norway has experience in exploiting the spin-off effects of the petroleum industry to create sustainable growth and jobs in other economic sectors.

3. Overriding goal, subsidiary goals, and measures

The overriding goal of Norway’s involvement in Angola during this post-conflict period is to contribute to lasting and stable peace based on:

  • National and regional security
  • Democracy and good governance
  • Resource management that promotes poverty eradication and sustainable social and economic development

To ensure that the available resources are focussed and used as effectively as possible, development co-operation should be designed to target specific priority areas. Norway’s development co-operation with Angola will be based on the Millennium Development Goals, the Norwegian Government’s Action Plan for Combating Poverty in the South towards 2015, and Angola’s Interim PRSP. It will also be guided by Norwegian expertise and experience and the efforts of other actors.

Human rights considerations should be integrated into every aspect of Norway’s efforts. Women are particularly vulnerable in conflict and post-conflict situations, and they are often at a disadvantage when it comes to rights and participation. Children, too, are a vulnerable group. Our efforts should therefore have a special focus on women and children, especially in connection with reintegration projects and education and competence-building measures.

The proportion of HIV-positive people in Angola’s population is relatively low (8.6 per cent in 2001) for the SADC region. However, this is four times what it was in 1997, and unless special measures are taken, the situation will soon be as serious in Angola as it is in the rest of southern Africa. Prevention efforts and the consequences of HIV/AIDS should therefore be taken into account when considering all development projects and integrated wherever relevant.

Competence and capacity-building, institutional co-operation and research will be important elements of development projects in relevant areas.

3.1 Humanitarian assistance

The humanitarian situation in Angola is still precarious. Nearly two million people receive humanitarian assistance in one form or another.

Norwegian aid is mainly channelled through the UN system, but some goes through NGOs. Humanitarian efforts in Angola, in the sense of efforts to save lives and alleviate suffering, have a short-term perspective. The country’s needs are expected to decline from 2003-2004 and donors’ efforts will be correspondingly reduced. Norwegian efforts will also reflect this trend.


  • To help save lives, alleviate suffering and provide better protection


  • Provide funds and contributions in kind for distribution of food and essential non-food items by UN organisations and NGOs
  • Co-ordinate efforts with other development actors, both to promote effective utilisation of resources and to encourage Angola to increase its own funding
  • Monitor the situation closely, to assess priorities and to ensure that humanitarian efforts do not supplant local and national crisis resolution mechanisms

3.2 National and regional security and stability

a) Demobilisation/reintegration, small arms and land mines

Over 80 000 former UNITA soldiers have been demobilised and are to be reintegrated into civil society. Thirty thousand government soldiers are also to be demobilised and reintegrated. It is essential that the planned reintegration projects are carried out as soon as possible in order to avoid uncertainty and delays which can create a background for frustration, unrest and crime. It will also be important to ensure that reintegration projects take account of women and children, including ex-child soldiers and those who, whether by force or by choice, were under the care of soldiers.

Decades of armed conflict have allowed a culture based on violence and the use of weapons to develop. This constitutes a real threat to the individual. In a society in which a large proportion of the population have experienced war-related traumas, the widespread availability of small arms is a particular threat.

Angola is one of the most mine-affected countries in the world, and the accident rate is expected to rise sharply as people start returning to their homes. Mine survey and clearance operations must be carried out before people can resume farming, industrial and other income-generating activities. Thus, humanitarian mine activities are essential. This is an area where Norway has developed a high degree of expertise, and has gained experience in Angola, primarily through Norwegian Peoples Aid.

An independent centre for strategic studies has recently been established in Angola. Independent research institutes and think-tanks in this field will be important opinion-makers and pro-active contributors to policy formation and the political debate on security issues, including security sector reform, at both the national and the regional level.


  • To help improve security and stability


  • Encourage the Angolan government to involve other groups in a dialogue on security issues in the broad sense as they relate to the peace process, security sector reform, measures to control small arms, etc.
  • Humanitarian mine activities
  • Support for demobilisation and reintegration programmes for ex-combatants, especially measures targeting women and child soldiers
  • Support for arms collection projects

b) Reintegration of refugees and internally displaced persons

At the signing of the cease-fire there were around 4 million displaced persons in Angola. Since April 2002, nearly 1.8 million have returned to their homes. Another 400 000 Angolan refugees were in neighbouring countries – Namibia, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The presence of land mines, the lack of infrastructure and the inadequate public administration make the reintegration of IDPs and refugees very difficult, and the limited opportunities for making a living in rural areas in the next few months make things even more difficult. The reintegration of refugees and IDPs is a major challenge.


  • To support voluntary repatriation and reintegration


  • Support for humanitarian measures that facilitate reintegration of refugees and internally displaced persons
  • Dialogue with the Angolan authorities on reintegration issues

c) Regional stability

Angola has the potential to become a major political actor in the region. It has a seat on the Security Council for 2003-2004, which will enable it to play a constructive role, particularly in regional conflicts. Security Council membership carries obligations, however, and will place demands on Angola as regards national issues and international relations. As chair of the SADC for 2003, Angola plays an active part in the organisation, including in the fields of politics, defence and security.

The war and the large number of Angolan refugees living in neighbouring countries have complicated relations with these countries. The normalisation of relations with these countries is essential to regional stability, and the peace agreement and repatriation of refugees will enhance this process. Agreements have already been signed with Zambia, Namibia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on organising the voluntary repatriation of over 400 000 refugees. Angola is also in a good position to make a positive contribution to the peaceful resolution of the conflict in the DRC, as was shown, for example, by its involvement in the agreement between Uganda and the DRC in August 2002 regarding the withdrawal of Ugandan forces from the DRC.

Southern Africa is a priority area for Norway. For this reason, Norway considers it important to seek to ensure that Angola’s strength – both political and economic – becomes a positive factor for stability in the region.


  • To help strengthen Angola’s involvement in regional security and stability


  • Promote political dialogue on the importance of regional co-operation measures
  • Encourage and support regional co-operation
  • Work towards a focus on Angola and Angolan participation in the Training for Peace in Southern Africa programme (TfP).
    (TfP is a Norwegian-funded programme that has been running since 1995. Its main objective is to help build sustainable capacity among countries in southern Africa for participation in international peace operations. This is part of the overarching goal of promoting state and human security in the SADC region.)

3.3 Democracy building and good governance

a) National reconciliation, democracy and human rights

Angola faces a long and difficult reconciliation process. Even if the parties succeed in negotiating their way to agreement on political and administrative solutions, the painstaking process of restoring mutual confidence and empathy within the population as a whole still remains. A greater focus on the necessity of national reconciliation and the inclusion of many different groups in the peace and reconciliation process is crucial. Mechanisms must be found to promote peaceful co-existence and deal with potential conflicts.

Civil society has the potential for playing a stronger role in the reconciliation process. Although it is still very weak, it is becoming better organised and taking a more active part in the public debate. The church network has contributed to the peace effort and could promote popular participation and help ensure that the peace process has a firm popular footing.

The participation of civil society in the public debate is also an essential part of democracy building, and the church network can play an important role here too. The media have an important democratic function to perform as channels of information to the public and as fora for a range of differing views. Research and other academic institutions are important contributors to the public debate, both as pro-active contributors to and as participants in the debate.

The upcoming elections present major challenges and give rise to major expectations. An enormous amount of technical work will be necessary (including revision of the constitution and of elections legislation, and the reestablishment of the electoral roll), and extensive political efforts will have to be made within the parties. How the elections are conducted will be an acid test of the consolidation of the peace.

Fundamental human rights are enshrined in Angola’s constitution and legislation, and Angola has ratified major international human rights conventions. The end of armed conflict will give the country greater scope for meeting the commitments these instruments entail, and the UN Mission in Angola is there to help the authorities carry this out.

Norway considers it important to support measures to promote national reconciliation and popular participation, and to enhance the democratic control mechanisms in Angola. Such measures include support for institutions, independent news media, NGOs and interest groups.


  • To promote national reconciliation, democracy building and respect for human rights


  • Encourage UNITA and the government of Angola to continue their political dialogue and to include other actors, such as civil society, in their reconciliation efforts
  • Support flexible forms of support for civil society, research institutions and news media to enable them to play more prominent roles in the public debate and as facilitators of reconciliation measures
  • Support public education on human rights, particularly through local organisations
  • Support the UN’s democracy and human rights efforts
  • Support the preparation, execution and observation of elections

b) Good governance and transparency

Corruption and lack of transparency in the management of state resources are among the greatest challenges facing Angola. They undermine democracy and good governance and are an obstacle to economic development. Greater control over state revenues and expenditures is also crucial to the government’s ability to plan and conduct its activities. Positive developments in the area of governance will therefore yield substantial rewards. The government of Angola has acknowledged these governance challenges and has taken steps, both on its own and in co-operation with multinational institutions and donor countries. Much still remains to be done, however.

Norway will emphasise reforms in this area in its co-operation with Angola, and will attach importance to progress in this field when further reviewing its development assistance activities (the review in 2005). Our main aim is to assist Angola, through bilateral channels and multilateral co-operation, in its efforts to fight corruption and increase the transparency of its public administration. This means supporting reform and strengthening key institutions. It also means supporting those elements in Angolan society that are working to promote good governance.


  • To promote good governance and transparency in public administration


  • Emphasise the importance of governance reforms that promote transparency in the public administration, improve social welfare and advance democracy, human rights and the rule of law
  • Organise multilateral and bilateral development co-operation to target projects that promote good governance, with a particular emphasis on institutional co-operation and support for civil society, and projects aimed at economic development and resource management
  • Work towards common donor positions on issues relating to governance, both in multilateral fora (the international finance institutions, UN agencies and other international/intergovernmental organisations) and bilaterally.

3.4 Sustainable economic and social development

a) Eradication of poverty

Poverty is an enormous problem in Angola. The Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) will be the overriding document for combating poverty and will be required by many donors as a condition for development co-operation with Angola. For this reason, it is important for the government to keep up its consultation processes in the provinces and with civil society, and its dialogue with the donor community on the PRSP process. It is also important to prepare planning documents for translating the poverty strategy into practical policy. The Interim PRSP and other planning documents are expected to be completed before the scheduled donor conference and will form a basis for Norway’s development co-operation with Angola.

The international finance institutions will play a central role in the work on macroeconomic reforms in Angola and in projects relating to economic and social development. Co-ordination between donors is very important, both that between the donor countries and the finance institutions and that between the finance institutions themselves.

The unequal distribution of income leads to rising imports and investment/savings abroad (there is little domestic investment) and this generates little in the way of economic activity in Angola. A more equitable distribution policy would not only promote social development, it would also boost demand in the domestic market and thus promote private sector activity.


  • To promote a more equitable distribution policy and poverty eradication


  • Promote a constructive dialogue between the Angolan authorities and the donor community on the PRSP process
  • Support processes and measures aimed at poverty eradication, and underline the importance of a more equitable distribution policy
  • Promote donor co-ordination between all development actors, and a common approach by and towards the international finance institutions

b) Education

Education is a human right. Moreover, it plays a crucial role in economic, social and cultural development. The need for basic education is particularly great in a country like Angola, where, due to years of civil war, several generations have grown up with only a minimum of education. Education is essential for economic growth and the eradication of poverty. Training and competence building are crucial for strengthening the public administration and the private sector in Angola. Education can also be an important channel for the dissemination of information on HIV/AIDS.

Norway has many years of experience with regard to education in Angola, particularly through the work of the Norwegian Refugee Council and UNICEF and the co-operation with the Angolan Ministry of Education. We have expertise in education in emergency situations, as well as in special educational methods for post-conflict situations. This could be of considerable help in strengthening the educational efforts in Angola. Norway’s involvement in the educational sector would support the Angolan government’s own goal of ensuring a minimum of six years of primary education for all by 2015, which is also reflected in the Millennium Development Goals.


  • To help raise the level of education in the population in general, and in women and girls in particular


  • Urge the authorities to give priority to education by allocating a larger percentage of the national budget to education, especially education of women and girls, within the context of the PRSP process
  • Continue development co-operation in the field of education aligned with Angola’s own development plans
  • Explore the potential for engaging the Norwegian business community in vocational training/competence building

c) Stable and predictable conditions for economic activity

The outlook for lasting peace, along with Angola’s economic potential, offers a tremendous scope for commercial activity and investment. Stability and predictability are important conditions for activity in the private sector. Norway wishes to help develop stable conditions for economic activity in Angola.

In order to establish a stable and predictable environment for private sector development, corruption must be combated. Reforms designed to ensure greater transparency are a fundamental tool in the fight against corruption and in order to secure investment and long-term private sector development outside the profitable petroleum and diamond industries.

Commercial activity is crucial for the reconstruction of Angola’s economic sector. Norwegian private sector activity in Angola can contribute to economic growth and social development. The Norwegian authorities feel it is important that Norwegian companies conduct their operations in foreign countries according to the same ethical standards and good business practices as they do in Norway, and thereby contribute to transparency and sustainability in the private sector and in economic policy. Building local competence is important, and corporate social responsibility is a keyword here. Companies, donor countries and international institutions must have a single agenda when it comes to working with the Angolan authorities on these issues.

There is no doubt that a greater degree of transparency is necessary with regard to state revenues from multinational corporations involved in the extraction and export of natural resources from Angola. This issue must be dealt with in an international context, however. Norway actively supports the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.


  • To help establish more stable and predictable conditions for economic activity, including greater transparency and anti-corruption policies


  • Support institution-building and competence building in the areas of budgeting, accounting, auditing, statistics and legislation
  • Encourage the Angolan authorities to keep up their dialogue with the IMF with a view to concluding an agreement on economic reforms and greater transparency in the economy
  • Seek to achieve common donor positions in relation to the international finance institutions
  • Support international initiatives to promote greater transparency in connection with the activities of the extractive industries
  • Seek to co-ordinate positions in order to get the authorities, companies and NGOs to work toward the same goals
  • Encourage and support the CSR efforts of companies and business organisations, including through KOMpakt
  • Assist Norwegian companies wishing to establish a presence in Angola and maintain a continuous dialogue with companies already established there

d) Private sector development

Angola’s petroleum output assures the state of high revenues and hard currency, but it also leaves Angola vulnerable to international economic fluctuations. So far, though, the petroleum sector has not had any large-scale impact on job creation. There is therefore a pressing need to develop a more diversified economy based, among other things, on agricultural reconstruction and on job creation and private sector development in peri-urban and rural areas. It is also important to revive the formal economy as the main arena for employment and economic activity (most people make their living in the informal sector at present), and create a policy and regulatory environment conducive to private sector development.

On the basis of the priorities set by the Angolan government for the development of the economy and the private sector, and in line with the Norwegian strategy for support for private sector development in the South, Norway should target sectors and measures in which Norwegian development co-operation and the Norwegian business sector are especially experienced and well-qualified.


  • To promote the development and strengthening of the framework conditions for trade and private sector development, and the re-establishment of a formal economic sector


  • Support co-operation on institutional frameworks and competence-building
  • Use support schemes for private sector development to stimulate investment and the establishment of partnerships
  • Seek to involve the Norwegian business community in competence-building efforts
  • Assess the possibility of bringing Norwegian and Angolan employees’ and employers’ organisations into contact with each other so that they can co-operate on strengthening the Angolan organisations and stepping up the focus on rights, safety and competence-building

e) Sound management and sustainable utilisation of natural resources

Angola has abundant natural resources in the form of fertile soil, fish, forests and petroleum and other minerals, but little in the way of human and institutional capacity to manage these resources. Developing a sound base of expertise in Angola and bringing natural resources under sound management should be high on the list of priorities for poverty alleviation. Long-term capacity-building, with a focus on policy development, institution-building and the development of legislation, is important for strengthening governance.

Norway possesses special expertise in petroleum, fisheries, hydropower and the environmental challenges involved in managing these resources. Norway already has experience of co-operating with Angola in the fisheries and energy sectors, of institutional co-operation, for example between the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate and the Angolan Ministry of Petroleum, and of co-operation on institutional development in the electricity and water sector.

The two countries have environmental and resource management interests in the petroleum, energy and fisheries sectors on which to base research co-operation and co-operation in international environmental policy fora.


  • To help set up regimes for the sound management and sustainable utilisation of natural resources


  • Capacity-building with a special focus on policy development, institution-building and the development of legislation
  • Continue supporting co-operation between Norwegian and Angolan institutions with a view to transfers of expertise and the exchange of experience
  • Co-operation in international fora on following up commitments under the environmental conventions