Angola’s J-Lo Anti-Corruption Drive

Politics in Angola, Africa’s second largest oil exporter, has caught observers by surprise. The new president, João Lourenço, has launched a vigorous anti-corruption crusade that has directly targeted his predecessor’s family, the powerful Dos Santos Clan. 

Lourenco, known popularly as J-Lo, was expected to quietly acquiesce to the family’s enormous  economic power, accrued during the 38-year rule of President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos. Instead, Lourenco has launched a number of high profile corruption investigations against the former president’s inner circle. Two of these were against the ex-president’s children: son Jose Filomeno dos Santos, former head of Angola’s $ 5 billion sovereign wealth fund, and daughter Isabel dos Santos, one of Africa’s richest women. But the investigations have also been launched against Angola’s former central banker and the head of Dos Santos’s private foundation.

Angola is known for its oil wealth. However, it also suffers from endemic corruption. An estimated $ 28 billion from government budgets between 2002 and 2015 remains unaccounted for. Lourenco has launched a vigorous campaign to repatriate the billions that are believed to have been siphoned out of the country over the years. The economy is struggling with low growth, high debt and inflationary issues and this extra capital would come in handy. So far, Lourenco has been strongly supported in his efforts by the mid- level of the ruling MPLA party. Dos Santos himself has publicly denied leaving the country’s coffers empty.




November 29, 2018

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About the Author

Pramit Pal Chaudhury

Pramit Pal Chaudhuri, Foreign Editor, Hindustan Times, and Distinguished Fellow & Head, Strategic Affairs, Ananta Aspen Centre

Pramit Pal Chaudhuri writes on political, security, and economic issues. He previously wrote for the Statesman and the Telegraph in Calcutta. He served on the National Security Advisory Board of the Indian government from 2011-2015. Among other affiliations, he is a member of the Asia Society Global Council, the Aspen Institute Italia, the International Institute of Strategic Studies, and the Mont Pelerin Society. Pramit is also a senior associate of Rhodium Group, New York City, advisor to the Bower Group Asia in India, a member of the Council on Emerging Markets, Washington, DC, and a delegate for the Confederation of Indian Industry-Aspen Strategy Group Indo-U.S. Strategic Dialogue and the Ananta Aspen Strategic Dialogues with Japan, China and Israel. Born in 1964, he has visited over fifty countries on five continents. Mr. Pal Chaudhuri is a history graduate from Cornell University.