Deteriorating economic conditions, combined with growing dissatisfaction with the ruling MPLA, are forcing Lourenço to make tough choices. He faces an unenviable trade-off between prioritising the necessary but politically draining long-term reforms that Angola needs and the immediate demands of an increasingly disgruntled population struggling to make ends meet.
Angolans face considerable economic challenges from inflationary pressure stoked by the plunging value of the national currency, the kwanza, and a contracting economy. The general economic decline has spiked poverty-induced violent crime and led to almost daily demonstrations in Luanda and other major cities. That some of these have been met by a violent response from the Angolan security forces does little to boost Lourenço’s popularity. Neither did he endear himself much with his attempt – at the IMF’s instigation – to cut domestic fuel subsidies.
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