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Key findings
  • Almost half (44%) of Angolans say the level of corruption in the country decreased during the 12 months preceding the survey, outnumbering those who say it increased (33%).
  • However, a majority (54%) of Angolans say the government is doing a poor job of fighting corruption.
  • And a plurality (39%) say the president is using the fight against corruption as a tool for removing political opponents within the ruling People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA).
  • More than half (55%) of Angolans believe that people who report corruption to the authorities risk retaliation or other negative consequences.
  • Among Angolans who had contact with key public services during the previous year, about four out of 10 say they had to pay bribes to obtain police assistance (42%) or avoid problems with the police (42%), to get an identification document from the government (39%), or to obtain public school services (39%).
  • The National Police are more widely perceived as corrupt than other key public officials. Four in 10 Angolans (39%) say “most” or “all” police officials are corrupt.
  • Slightly more than half (51%) of respondents oppose the idea of pardoning all those involved in corruption before 2017, and a larger majority (58%) say the government should recover all assets stolen through corruption

In just one year, Angola improved from 167th to 146th on Transparency International’s (2020) Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), largely on the strength of anti-corruption reforms introduced after President João Lourenço took office in 2017 (Jornal de Angola, 2020; O Observador, 2020a).

While the country’s CPI score still trailed the sub-Saharan African and global averages, corruption investigations pressed ahead, and courts froze the assets of Isabel dos Santos and Irene Neto (daughters of former presidents José Eduardo dos Santos and António Agostinho Neto). Yet João Lourenço and his attorney general, who have denounced corruption and appealed to citizens to join a national crusade against it, have remained silent in the face of recent news reports accusing the president’s cabinet director of graft (Voz da América, 2019; Público, 2020; O Observador, 2020b; TVI24, 2020).

How do citizens perceive anti-corruption efforts in Angola?

Findings from the first Afrobarometer survey in Angola show that a substantial proportion see corruption declining, but even more rate the government’s anti-corruption performance as poor. In part, this may be because a plurality say the president is using the anti-corruption fight as a political weapon. In addition, a majority fear retaliation or other negative consequences if they get involved by reporting corruption to the authorities.

Despite these reservations, a majority of Angolans are opposed to a blanket pardon for pre- 2017 corruption and want the government to recover ill-gotten gains.

Portuguese version

Carlos Pacatolo

Carlos Pacatolo is the national investigator for Angola.

David Boio

David Boio is the co-national investigator for Angola.