Thursday, June 10, 2010

Angolan Food: Pearls of the Palate

Many storied travelers and cultural analysts have raved that, "Amongst Angola's greatest riches are encountered some real pearls for the palate. Angolan gastronomy is delicious and varied.”

The aspect of food and cuisine plays a significant part in defining Angola's collective identity as part of the ideology of nationalism; a country is supposed to have its own distinctive cuisine which all its citizens can enjoy together and yet claim as their own derivation.

In those countries which were part of the former Portuguese empire, such as Angola, cuisine has become an important part of the national culture. In examination of Angolan cuisine in detail, it is essential to recall the role played by the Portuguese in introducing new foodstuffs to Africa. Many of the common foods now eaten in Africa, for example manioc (cassava), maize, peppers, peanuts, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, beans and tomatoes, originated in the Americas and spread around the globe after Christopher Columbus discovered the New World in 1492.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Angola's Resurging Power Grid

Approximately 77% of Angola's power supply is generated by hydropower: the remaining is diesel generated. With numerous powerful rivers crossing the country, Angola has tremendous potential for generating electricity with an estimated hydropower potential of 150 000 GWh/year, of which about 65 000 GWh/year is considered to be firm potential. With 10 hydro plants constructed in Angola, the power industry is making progress in rehabilitation after years of wars and neglect; several dams are still out of service following damage sustained during the civil war.
Despite the rapid expansion of capacity, Angola's internal electricity grid is weak and poorly integrated, with much power lost in transmission. Power outages are common, worsened by poor maintenance and below-cost tariff structures. Less than 20% of Angola's population has access to electricity, with most depending on wood or charcoal. Around 75% of national electricity output is consumed in Luanda, but only around one-quarter of the city's residents have access to a regular power supply. Owing to power cuts, 68% of businesses are forced to rely on their own generators for power, the highest recorded rate in Africa. The  government is attempting to reduce this constraint on economic growth, and in April 2007 it announced plans to invest US$2bn in electricity infrastructure, with a focus on boosting output and extending the national grid. (Info adapted from Economist Intelligence Unit: Angola)