- Implementing democracy, gaining political stability and guaranteeing human rights -
Albina Assis Africano, Special Advisor to the President for Regional Affairs

pecial Advisor to the President for Regional Affairs Albina Assis Africano has been involved with Angola’s ruling party, the MPLA (Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola) since she was 14 years old. Since then, and throughout the second half of the last century, Angola has undergone great change and prolonged periods of upheaval. A civil war ended Portuguese colonialism in 1975, then continued for 27 years as factions fought for dominance and the country became embroiled in the Cold War. Peace arrived in 2002, followed by the almost insurmountable task of rebuilding a country in ruins. As a chemical engineer, Ms Assis Africano has spent a great deal of this time involved in managing what is Angola’s most important resource and a key element in its past and future – oil. She began as the director of Chemical Analysis for the National Laboratory in 1975, moved to the position of Deputy Director of Fina Petroleum, Angola Refinery, in 1985, and was made president of the state oil company, Sonangol, in 1991, just before the country’s first multiparty elections in 1992.

“There has been a great turnaround in this country, in the party and in our history.”

Later Ms Assis Africano would become Minister of Petroleum, and Minister of Industry, until finally assuming her current position as Special Advisor to the President for Regional Affairs, as well as Chairman of CPLP. Her long history with the MPLA has allowed her to experience first hand and directly participate in the phenomenon that was pre- and post-colonial Africa throughout the 20th century, and has helped to convert her into a new breed of 21st century African leaders – those facing the task of developing the continent. Ms Assis Africano is now focused on strengthening Angola’s regional alliances and on developing the nation’s capacity as an African leader. In her spare time, Ms Assis Africano works to promote women’s rights in the country.

“I am a member of the MPLA, and I can say without a moment’s hesitancy that this is the party that founded a new nation in Angola, that led it to Independence and that has been governing it since then,” she states. The MPLA adopted a market economy for Angola, began microeconomic reforms, implemented programs for poverty reduction, and began the country’s reconstruction, according to Ms Assis Africano, who says that the MPLA’s top objective has always been to improve the quality of life, health and education of all Angolans.

The result has been the creation of a new Angola, one that is facing many challenges but is presenting a united front. Ms Assis Africano says, “There has been a great turnaround in this country, in the party and in our history. We are managing to put aside our differences and to work towards the same goal – the development of the country. Although Angola is governed by the majority party, our ideas seem to be converging – we need to sort out the consequences of the war.”

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