Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Benguela - Angola's Success Story

During the present African Cup of Nations Soccer Tournament in Angola, the foreign press is discovering previously hidden examples of Angola's progress in rebuilding the country.

Here is a good BBC report  about the rebuilding and regeneration of the city of Benguela, located along the Atlantic Ocean, some 700 km south of the Angolan capital of Luanda.  Spared the worst by the civil war that reduced most other inland towns to piles of smouldering rubble, Benguela is Angola’s second city and self-appointed cultural capital. It was founded by the Portuguese in 1617 and is a former slave port and the erstwhile terminus of the cross-continental Benguela Railway. 

Many cast the future of Angola in the railway's reconstruction. Prior to Angola's civil war, the 1,500-kilometre Benguela Railroad was a major transportation thoroughfare that carried Zambian copper to Angolan ports in Lobito and Benguela.  As one government official recently stated, "The demolition of the railway, starting at Benguela was like cutting an artery. Reconnecting it and the economy will flow once again, and then….well, who knows? Anything is possible."  It is great to see the hope and positive outlook of the people of Benguela in the rebuilding effort.

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