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