(Reuters) - Angola holds its third national elections on Friday since independence from Portugal in 1975.
It is still recovering from a 27-year civil war that killed half a million people, uprooted more than one million, destroyed infrastructure and littered the country with landmines. The ruling MPLA party has invested heavily in rebuilding but critics say it has done too little to reduce widespread poverty in Africa’s second largest oil producer.
* Angola recorded GDP growth of 3.4 percent in 2011, the same as in 2010, driven mainly by rising oil prices and strong non-oil sector growth of 7.7 percent which helped to offset production problems in the energy sector.
It is expected to record GDP growth of 8.2 percent and 7.1 percent in 2012 and 2013 respectively. This will be driven mainly by the start of a $9 billion Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project and the expected increase of oil production to over 2 million bpd. Inflation remained high at 13.5 percent in 2011 but, according to the African Development Bank, is expected to fall to 10 percent and 9.4 percent in 2012 and 2013 respectively.
* Angola is Africa’s second largest oil producer, behind fellow OPEC member Nigeria. Its exports briefly rivalled Nigeria’s in 2010 but have fallen back due to a natural decline at some fields and maintenance work. Oil output was below forecasts in 2011. But exports are set to average 1.67 million bpd in October 2012, up from 1.57 million bpd in September.
* The ruling MPLA party says it cut poverty levels from 68 percent of the population in 2002 to around 39 percent in 2009.
* The country is ranked 148 out of 187 in the U.N.’s Human Development Index, with life expectancy at 51.1 years. Child and maternal mortality rates are among the highest in the world, with almost one child in five not surviving to age five, while maternal mortality is 610 per 100,000 live births. Angola has about 200,000 people living with HIV/Aids with a prevalence rate of around 2 percent of the population - compared with an estimated HIV prevalence rate in South Africa of about 10.6 percent with 5.4 million people living with HIV/Aids in 2011.
* Angola was ranked 168 out of 183 countries in Transparency International’s latest Corruption Perception Index for 2011 along with Chad and Libya, the same as in 2010.
* Malaria and cholera outbreaks still occur. Poor health, water and sanitation services and malnutrition compound the effects of recurrent floods and droughts.
* Doing business in Angola : Some Numbers 2012
Income category: Lower middle income
GNI per capita (US$): $3,960.00
DB2012 rank: 172 out of 183 countries
Starting a business rank 167
According to data collected by Doing Business, starting a business in Angola requires eight procedures, takes 68 days and costs 118.9 percent of income per capita.
Sources; Reuters/here Bank/African Development Bank/EIA/UNAIDS/UNESCO
Reporting by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit
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