If there is one thing that is certain on Earth, it is how Africa is abundantly and richly endowed with vast and precious natural resources. In this regard, Angola is an interesting case as it is one of Africa's leading nations in producing oil. As of 2015, it was second ranked, with Nigeria best placed at position one.
Angola has recently witnessed major political changes which saw long-time leader Jose Eduardo dos Santos relinquishing power. In his place rose Joao Lourenco, who has been on a path of fighting corruption and has begun taking pro-active steps to this effect. Most of these include targeting and purging the former loyalists of Jose Eduardo dos Santos. His major scalp taken has been Isabel dos Santos, daughter of the former president, whom he removed from the helm of Sonangol, Angola's state oil company.
Over the past seven days there has been an acute shortage of fuel supplies. Long, winding queues of motorists waiting to get a splatter of the scarce fuel have been a marked feature in the capital of Angola, Luanda. "We don't have any more," said Henriques Carvalho, a pump attendant in the Bairro Popular district.He further remarked, "They came here to refuel but demand has been so great that we sold our last few litres tonight. I'm waiting for the next tanker." It is not only prevalent in Luanda but in other provinces as well.
Rationing has caused the price of fuel to surge on the black market. One litre of super unleaded has more than tripled in Luanda - surging from 160 to 500 kwanzas (0.80 euros to 2.50 euros). As it is clearly evident that the fuel is in severely short supply, it is not however clear why it is in short supply. This has fueled a lot of speculation and rumours, fanned by statements on social media as well.
Most of the people blame the shortages on the political opponents of Joao Lourenco. Since some of the top leaders that were purged by Lourenco were former allies of dos Santos, citizens accuse these of sabotaging service delivery. "All of this is an attempt to obstruct the government of President Joao Lourenco," said Agostinho dos Santos, a political analyst with close ties to the opposition. "The majority of filling stations in Angola belong to or are controlled by the generals who were in the regime of the former president (Jose Eduardo dos Santos) and his daughter Isabel dos Santos. These owners want to avenge the old president."
It is ironical how a top oil-producing nation is facing fuel shortages. State oil company Sonangol has not provided clear reasons into the prevailing shortages, only talking of "delays in processing fuel at the country's ports because of minor issues around the payment of certain suppliers". They have said they are not in short supply of fuel.
African countries do not have domestic refining capacity so they import processed petrol and diesel. As the patience of the motorists is running out, it is imperative on Lourenco to act with incredible, dashing and decisive swiftness.