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Key findings
  • More than one in three Angolans (36%) say the level of corruption in the country increased “somewhat” or “a lot” over the past year.
  • ix in 10 Angolans (59%) say the government is doing a poor job of fighting corruption, up from 54% in 2019.
  • More than six in 10 citizens (62%) believe that people who report acts of 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 in 10 say they paid a bribe to avoid problems with the police (37%), obtain assistance from the police (42%), obtain public school services (39%), or obtain a government document (43%).
  • More than four in 10 citizens (45%) say “most” or “all” police officials are corrupt, the worst rating among 12 institutions and leaders the survey asked about.

Between 2018 and 2022, Angola improved from 165th to 116th on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, largely on the strength of anti-corruption reforms introduced after the inauguration of President João Lourenço in September 2017 (Transparency International, 2023; Ropes & Gray, 2021).

In February and March 2023, headlines exploded with public accusations of drug trafficking against senior national police officers and of involvement in embezzlement, extortion, and corruption against Supreme Court Chief Justice Joel Leonardo, whose offices were closed and searched by the Attorney General’s Office, and against Court of Auditors Chief Justice Exalgina Gamboa, who resigned (Maka Angola, 2023a, b; Club-K, 2023; Angola24Horas, 2023; Novo Jornal, 2023a, b; Jornal de Angola, 2023a, b).

These events have reignited public debate on the seriousness of corruption problems in the country, especially considering that it may affect the institutions charged with administering justice on behalf of the people. President Lourenço refused to deliver the opening speech of the 2023 judicial year, citing reports that the corruption crisis had reached the superior bodies of justice (Jornal de Angola, 2023b).

At the same time, critics charge that corruption complaints involving presidential and government personnel are not investigated, as in recent allegations against the director of the President’s Office and the minister of energy and water (Novo Jornal, 2022; Kesongo, 2023).

How do citizens perceive efforts to fight corruption?

Findings from the latest Afrobarometer survey in Angola show that a considerable proportion of citizens see corruption as being on the rise in the country, particularly in public institutions such as the national police and the Presidency, and a majority rate the government’s performance in the fight against corruption as poor. Many Angolans report having to pay bribes to obtain government services, and most say ordinary people risk retaliation if they report corruption.

Carlos Pacatolo

Carlos Pacatolo is the national investigator for Angola.

David Boio

David Boio is the co-national investigator for Angola.