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Economic Crisis: Angolan President Sacks Finance Minister

Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos fired Finance Minister Armando Manuel on Monday two months after the government of Africa’s biggest oil producer broke off talks with the IMF over emergency funding.

A statement said Manuel, who was appointed in 2013 and whose term had been due to run to 2017, would be replaced by capital markets commission head Augusto Archer de Sousa Hose, more commonly known as Archer Mangueira.

Over the last two years, Manuel had presided over an economic slump caused by a sharp drop in oil prices that sapped dollar inflows, hammered the kwanza and prompted heavy government borrowing.

The kwanza slid more than 30 percent against the dollar in 2015, and in January the central bank allowed for another 15 percent weakening to 155 against the dollar.

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The currency was bid at 165/dollar on Monday, according to Thomson Reuters data. On the black market, it has been trading as low as 600.

Before his appointment, 53-year-old Mangueira was President of Angola’s Capital Markets Commission, making him a familiar face to foreign investors, and had recently been brought onto the central committee of the ruling MPLA party.

Diplomats said his promotion was not a major surprise, especially in the wake of the government’s decision in late June to end emergency financing talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Angola’s economic slump has fuelled opposition to dos Santos’ 36-year rule, although the MPLA re-elected him as its leader last month ahead parliamentary elections in 2017.

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Written by PH

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