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Angola — Former Portuguese colony's growth rate attracts professionals

28 September 2009

35 years after winning independence from Portugal, the African country of Angola is being populated by its former colonisers once again. This time by professionals and scores of workers laid off amid the economic slump, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Portugal's economy is expected to shrink by 3.7% this year. Unemployment in the second quarter of 2009 was 9.2%. Temporary employment opportunities in other European countries have been drying up for Portuguese workers.

Angola, however, has emerged in recent years as one of the world's fastest economies. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has grown well over 10% per annum since 2004 and topped 20% in 2007, bolstered by oil production and mining. Even with the drop in oil prices in 2008, GDP grew by 14.8%.

Joao Carlos da Costa of Lisbon-based recruitment company Jobfair Global Search said, "we don't even bother advertising jobs. If we said that we are looking for Portuguese applicants, we would have thousands at our door within the hour."

One of the appeals of Angola's job market is high salaries. For many of Mr. da Costa's clients in Angola, a starting salary for an entry level position in banking or civil engineering is between $2,000 and $5,000 per month compared to only 1,000 Euro per month in Portugal.

While Angola is luring unemployed and under-employed Portuguese, it has many internal problems including an unemployment rate of 40%, increasing inflation and wide-spread poverty.

Filomeno Vieira Lopes, an economist and member of the Angolan opposition party 'Front for Democracy' said, "this reality has created a certain level of animosity towards foreigners, who are seen as taking jobs from Angolans."



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