Working Paper
A Land Cursed by its Wealth?

Angola's War Economy 1975-99

In Angola, the availability of two abundant resources (oil and diamonds) has prolonged the conflict beyond its Cold War context. The geography and political economy of these resources were crucial to the course taken by the conflict. Matching the regional and ethnic differentiation articulated by party leaders for political ends as well as the military strategies of belligerents, these resources not only fuelled the Angolan conflict but aggravated its consequences by drastically reducing productive economic activities as well as government efficiency and popularity. The conjunction of politics, geography, and military strategies sustained - and was sustained by - financial flows redirected from peace and reconstruction towards war and self-interest. These dynamics have been facilitated by the corporate sector as industries and markets were to a large extent sheltered from the direct impact of the conflict and its ethical dimensions. The contrasting situation of Mozambique highlights in this regard the importance of political accountability of resource and capital flows. The paper stresses the significance of the geographical dimensions of conflicts and calls for greater corporate responsibility during wartime and transition to peace.