For the past fifteen years, civil war and poverty has swept over Angola, but economists believe tourism can help get this country back on its feet.
US Ambassador to Angola Christopher Dell said that, “Angola has huge potential.” Dell explains that Angola has many things to offer such as rich culture, hospitality, wild life, wide sandy beaches, beautiful landscapes and plains, and waterfalls.
Unitedworld-usa.com reports that the minister of Hotels and Tourism Jorge Alicerces Valentim believes that tourism is a key component in developing Angola and is working with the National Private Investment Agency (ANIP) in order to promote Angola.
ANIP Administrator Ari Carvalho speaks proudly of Angola and what the country has to offer visitors, “It is a hopeful and optimistic country-when you walk down any street here, even after the worst war, people are always laughing and smiling. When Americans visit Angola, I always say tell them to forget work, forget about business, the firs thing they need to do is get to know the Angolan people.”
There are several benefits of tourism. Tourism supports the countries culture by drawing tourists’ attention to art, sports and other events. It promotes the up-grading of buildings, lands and roads in order to appear attractive.
In addition, it helps local businesses such as restaurants and shops and instills a sense of pride in its residents, all of which would be valuable to Angola. The capital, Luanda, is where most tourists spend their time and is where most of the projects are concentrated.
Tourism, most importantly, promotes economic growth and employment, which encourages people to get training and learn skills.
“Our social objectives manifest themselves in aspects such as education, health, technology and scientific development, culture, and sports,” said Ismael Diogo da Silva, president of the Eduardo dos Santos Foundation, a major educational development in Angola.
“However, we are particularly concerned with education. We believe education is fundamental for the growth of a country and its people.”
Angola became independent of Portugal in 1975, and a civil war began shortly after. In 1991 warring factions attempted to implement a multiparty government by holding an election. However, one party felt the results were fixed and the fighting resumed for the next eleven years. As a result, the Angolan government has been implementing projects to promote peace and stability.
Among some new projects to attract tourists are the redevelopment of 13 national parks and reserves, primarily the Kissama National Park near Luanda, which is one of the largest natural reserves in the world. Supporters noticed the need to revamp these parks in order for them to function properly again.
Another project underway is the reconstruction of the Noah’s Ark Project, which transports Angola’s wildlife from other nations to Angola. Developers are also rebuilding the roads and landscapes in Angola as most of them were destroyed during the war.
According to Angola’s Minister of Planning, Ana Dias Lourenco, in 2003 the government approved a US $20 million infrastructure investment program in each province of Angola.
The post-conflict Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Program was initiated during 2003-
2005 and focused on “consolidating the peace and reestablishing state administration throughout the country.” This project also aimed to reestablish transportation and boost security.