Oil and Capital Flight: The Case of Angola

Part of PERI's Capital Flight from Africa Working Paper Series
>> Read other publications in the series

Abstract

Angola’s “paradox of plenty,” as a country with rich resources and poor development outcomes, makes it ideal for the study of capital flight. With the fifth largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa, the country is known not for what it has done with its vast natural resource endowment, but what it has failed to do with it. The country features prominently in the literature on the ‘resource curse,' as the discovery and exploitation of petroleum has suffocated the development of other economic sectors while profiting the national elite and its foreign partners. This has been accomplished notably through establishment of a powerful parastatal to manage oil, Sonangol, which observers have described as “an island of competence” yet has been instrumental to wealth extraction. Angola’s oil and diamonds also played a critical role in motivating and financing the country’s prolonged and devastating civil war.

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