Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Angola's First Satellite

Angola’s first communications satellite, AngoSat-1, will be launched into orbit in November 2016 to provide telecommunication services throughout the country, announced Aristides Safeca, State Secretary for Telecommunications. This will be the first satellite operated by an African nation and will have a lifetime of 15 years.
The project contract was signed in 2009 by Angola and a Russian consortium which included- Rocket Space Corporation Energiya (RSC), Telecom-Projeto 5 and Rosoboronexport companies. The construction began in November 2013.
With an investment of over USD 403 million, Angosat 1, will provide Angola with communications and digital terrestrial services, replacing the current analogue system along with telecommunication, internet and e-government services. While 31% of the construction work has been completed, the satellite will be fully operational by the first half of 2017. (NexTv)

Monday, March 2, 2015

CEML Doctor Reaches Medical Milestone in Angola

Dr. Steve Collins is the CEML Hospital's resident ophthalmologist. 

Born in Angola to Canadian missionary parents, Dr. Collins
began ministry in Angola as a certified general-internist doctor. Realizing the great need for ophthalmology expertise in Angola, in 1995 he received training in cataract surgery in Nigeria and South Africa.  

In his 20 years of ophthalmic work in Angola, Dr. Collins recently completed his 20,000th cataract surgery on an Angolan patient!  Actually, all his cataract surgeries were performed on Angolan patients.   The amazing and mitigating fact in this feat is that Dr. Collins recently passed 76 years of age and performed all the surgeries by hand under a microscope; he has not used any of the new laser equipment. 

This is an amazing medical ministry to Angolans and one can imagine the impact that this one person has had on the lives of so many Angolans across the country.   Dr. Collins always maintains that it is a great privilege to minister here and admits that he is often challenged spiritually by the godliness of his Angolan patients.

Dr. Collins continues on in his ophthalmology work, committing 2 weeks per months at the CEML Hospital and the remainder of the month at remote outpost clinics using a portable operating theater to conduct cataract surgeries. In these remote conditions, during his 2 week outpost visits, he will perform 300 - 400 eye consultations and 50-60 cataract surgeries on average.   Dr. Collins will seek to retire soon and CEML will be looking to replace him with a new ophthalmologist. 

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Baia dos Tigres: Angola's "Ghost' Island

The Baia dos Tigres (Tigers Bay) is a small isolated and unpopulated island in the southwestern region of Angola with a land mass of 98  square kms.  As the largest and only sandy island off the coast of the 2000 km-long Namib Desert, it remains the least known coastal wetland along desert coast rich in shorebirds. 

The Island was once a thriving commercial fishing community in the Portuguese colonial era,  connected to the mainland by a small sand causeway.  The inhabitants abandoned the Island in 1974 to escape the strong wind, lack of drinking water and the transportation difficulties to the mainland.  Filled with hundreds of abandoned Portuguese-style buildings and properties, the structures are now being enveloped by the continual blowing sand.

Though the waters surrounding the island are very rich in fish stocks, the location is renown for its birdlife.  Two surveys of the Island region in 1999 and 2001 indicated a rich wetland bird diversity consisting of 25 species and a bird density of 33 birds per square kilometer. 

The Island is only visited now by adventure-seeking tourist groups. (AngoWebs - Angola) 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Angola Elected to UN Security Council

In October 2014, Angola was elected as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for two years (2015-2016).

Foreign Affairs Minister, George Chikoti said Angolans were proud that their country received the backing of other member states for the position.  He promised that Angola would strive to make the UN Security Council more efficient and balanced.

Minister Chikoti stated that, in the area of peace and security, Angola will be promoting dialogue among nations as an essential element for a culture of peace, respect for difference and conflict prevention.

"Angola will also contribute to a more efficient identification of the causes of conflict and to the reduction of violence through preventative diplomacy, promoting African agenda and contributing to peace and security in Africa and the world" (Sonangol Universe Magazine)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Angola's Grand New City

A new city being built outside of the capital Luanda, Kilamba Kiaxi, is considered the largest social housing project & EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contract in Africa and one of the newest, emergent Smart Cities. In the Kimbundu language the name means Land (Kiaxi) of Kilamba.

Built by the China International Trust and Investment Corporation, the city is designed to accommodate 500,000 people and includes 750 eight-story apartment blocks, occupying 880 hectares.

Located 20 km from the center of Luanda, the Kilamba project is the most advanced to date of the five new cities that are being built around Luanda alone and carries a price tag of $3.5bn.

Angolan officials are employing such a grand urban development scheme as a means of providing housing for the millions of Angolans who are without formal housing, 12 years after the end of the civil war.  During the war years, little social housing was built, with the result that ¾ of the 4.3 inhabitants of Luanda live in mussekes or informal settlements.

Constructing new city centers on the outskirts of existing cities is a new urban planning method employed to eliminate the difficulties involved in relocating populations who already live on development sites.

The Kilamba Kaixi buildings include 20,002 apartments and 246 shops, containing 24 (KG) kindergartens, 9 primary schools, 8 secondary schools, 2 substations, 1 sewage treatment plant and 1 water treatment plan, with primary & secondary municipal roads.  Beyond the normal municipal systems such as water supply, power supply, telecommunications, sewage, drainage, traffic signals, the original development plans entailed the integration of electronic systems to enable an Internet interconnectivity of housing and municipal systems. (Consolidated Consulting Group, African Business Magazine)

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Angola's Annual 10K Race

The São Silvestre De Luanda 10K running race is one of the most celebrated and traditional athletic events held in Angola.  Occurring on December 31 each year in the Angolan capital, Luanda, the race is an international sporting event that promotes athletics in Angola in its purest essence. 

Patterned under the race of the same name in Brazil, the São Silvestre was first held in 1954 and featured only Angolan runners until 1964 when recognized world athletes were invited to participate.   Consisting a plot of 10 Kilometers, the initial aims of the race were to equally celebrate one of the Catholic's Holy Day's of Obligation as well as to prove international athletic character.

Recognized athletes from Ethiopia, Portugal, South Africa, Kenya and Zimbabwe annually participate in the running event. (Sao Silvestre website)