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Key findings
  • As of February-March 2022, a quarter (25%) of Angolans said that a member of their household had lost a job, business, or primary source of income due to the pandemic, and 7% said a household member had become ill with COVID-19 or tested positive for the virus.
  • Almost nine in 10 (86%) Angolan adults said they had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Only one in 20 (5%) said they were unlikely to try to get vaccinated.
  • Overall, almost two-thirds (64%) of Angolans said the government was doing “fairly well” or “very well” in managing the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • More than four in 10 citizen (44%) said the government is not prepared to deal with future public health emergencies.

Angola reported its first COVID-19 case on 21 March 2020, and has since recorded 105,095 cases and 1,930 deaths due to the virus (World Health Organization, 2023).

The government’s efforts to contain the pandemic included restricting entry into Angola by people from countries with high rates of COVID-19 infection and declaring states of emergency and calamity with partial lockdowns. Security forces charged with enforcing lockdown restrictions were accused of numerous human rights abuses, including killings and arbitrary arrests (Human Rights Watch, 2020). The case of Silvio Dala, a young doctor who died in police custody after being stopped for not wearing a mask in his car, led to widespread protests against police violence (Hossi & Anderson, 2020).

To mitigate the pandemic’s economic impacts, the government provided cash transfers, food, and health products for some households and capital and credit for businesses (UNCTAD, 2021). But critics complained about political partisanship and a lack of transparency in the distribution of government assistance (Amnesty International, 2020).

Angola was the first country in East and Southern Africa to receive COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX initiative (IOL, 2021) and began rolling out a vaccination campaign in early March 2021. As of January 2023, more than 15 million Angolans (46% of the population) had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Findings from the latest Afrobarometer survey, in early 2022, show that one-fourth of households lost a primary source of income because of the pandemic, but only about half as many received relief assistance from the government.

Overall, a majority of Angolans approved of the government’s handling of the pandemic, but many criticised its provision of relief assistance and said resources intended for the COVID-19 response were lost to corruption. Most respondents said they had received a COVID-19 vaccine or were likely to do so.

Tosin Salau

Tosin Salau is a data analyst for Afrobarometer and a PhD student in the Department of Political Science at Michigan State University.

David Boio

David Boio is the co-national investigator for Angola.