Few states constituted since the 1970s have had such traumatic national histories as Angola and Mozambique. They bore the brunt of the general and prolonged crisis in southern Africa following the collapse of Portuguese colonial power and the armed resistance of the white regimes in Rhodesia and South Africa to the claims of African nationalism. In Angola, there was a seamless continuity from colonial war to civil war and foreign intervention. Mozambique went through a similar syndrome of foreign-inspired intervention, civil war and social destabilisation soon after achieving independence. Mozambique’s vicious internal war persisted up to the early 1990s, Angola’s to the early 2000s. As well as a dreadful toll in life, limb and displaced persons, these conflicts distorted state expenditures and brought economic development and social amelioration to a halt. In 1998, their social indicators of life expectancy and child mortality were amongst the worst in the world (Agadjanian and Prata, 2001). Mozambique was Africa’s most impoverished state and the most dependent on foreign aid. Angola is potentially one of the continent’s wealthier countries, yet throughout the 1990s its oil and diamond resources were shamelessly exploited by the MPLA government and its rival, UNITA, in order to continue their appalling conflict. The general population, meanwhile, lived in misery, at permanent risk of being killed or maimed by ubiquitous land mines or press-ganged into military service, and denied access to much of the best agricultural land.
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