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Tue, 02 May 2017 14:28 - Updated Tue, 02 May 2017 14:27

Moxico: From ashes to peace and progress

Luena - In 2002, the capital of eastern Moxico province, Luena, won the title of “Peace Sanctuary” for having hosted and witnessed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding for peace in the country between the Government and the Unita rebel movement.

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Moxico: Luena irrigation project

Photo: Kynda Kyungu

Moxico: Luena power sub-station

Photo: Kynda Kyungu

By Yambeno Jamba, Domingas Gaieta and Isalvina Upite

The Memorandum of Understanding is a deal that followed the signing of the Peace Accords of 4 April 2002, in the Luanda’s Palace of Congresses, to complement that Bicesse and Lusaka Protocol that put an end to the armed conflict in Angola.

After this important event that marked and will continue to mark the coming generations, the Government launched the National Reconstruction Program, through President José Eduardo dos Santos, as head of the Executive.

Within the framework of the ambitious and promising program, in Moxico the bases for its applicability were laid. Until 2002, the province was an example of the absence of industrial park, social, economic, cultural, sports and other infrastructures, compared to the ashes to which it had been reduced.

The term, still latent in the population of Moxico, locally known as "45 five days", was one of the most hostile times of war that the province experienced, characterized by uninterrupted shelling.

On the other hand, the National Reconstruction program not only minimized, at least concerning infra-structure, but also restored, although in a timid way, the dignity to the population and visitors.

It rises everyday and "shows itself to the world, taking advantage of its important geostrategic and geopolitical location, alike in the beginnings of the national liberation struggle, considered one of the most sublime and strategic Military Fronts to the East.

 In this regard, Moxico is the "port" and "bridge" for the connection of the Atlantic coast to the center of Africa, as it has the last station of the Benguela Railways (CFB), through the border municipality of Luau, eastern Angola.
 The CFB starts in Lobito, on Angola’s central Benguela province, across Huambo and Bié (center), ending in Luau (Moxico), over a 1344 kilometers route, in a center of convergence with the Congo Railways , in the capital city of the Congolese province of Katanga, Lubumbashi, located in the southeastern part of the country (DR Congo).
 Through this link internationally known as the "Lobito Corridor", one can reach Zambia, from Mozambique and Tanzania, by the Indian Ocean, being able to connect to South Africa, becoming a transcontinental rail network.
 Education "paddles" towards training of personnel
 The Moxico province, which was relegated to a lesser prominence due to the armed conflict, had 49,000 primary students in the education system until 2002,  plus 1,159 in the first cycle, and 2,317 in the second cycle of education the secondary system, totaling 52,526, of these 23, 808 females.
 Fifteen years after peace was attained, the region has one of the plausible rates of schooling, with close to 290,000 students in the education system, of which 136,544 are females.
 The increase in the number of students is justified by the increase in classrooms, from 304 in 2002 to the current 2008, just 15 years after the war, distributed to 1,290 of the primary education system, 391 of the I cycle and 327 of the II Cycle of the general secondary education, and technical and vocational training.
 In terms of school, the province had 13 eleven of which for the primary education, one for the I cycle and another one for the II cycle.
 A decade and a half now, the number rose to 266 primary schools, 36 for the 1st cycle and 19 for the 2nd cycle of the secondary system, normal secondary and vocational and technical training, making up 321 facilities.
 With regard to teachers, in 2002 there were 1,138 teachers in primary education system.  There are now 3,366 teachers, while in the pre-primary, there were 41 in the first cycle. At present, there are 165 in the I cycle. In the second cycle, the number rose from two to 455.
 The literacy process evolves in a stupendous way. By 2002 the province had trained 432 people, counting on 25 teachers, a figure that has sharply  increased to more than 23,417 trained students supported by more than 333 teachers. Moxico had a total of 1,411 teachers and now has 4,789 at various levels of the education system.
 Higher Institute only with peace
 Official figures from the Population Census point to the presence of a percentage of senior technicians in the largest province of Angola in terms of territorial extension, 11th most inhabited in the country and second most populated in the Eastern region, with more than 758,568 inhabitants. 
 Peace has not only enabled the children of Moxico to travel to other regions of the country and abroad, looking for technical,  professional and academic training, but has also led to the emergence of the first Moxico Polytechnic School (ESPM) under the José Eduardo dos Santos University (UJES).
 Thanks to the peace, in 2016 the province launched the first 700 ESPM graduates, in various specialties of science, namely Nursing, Clinical Analysis, Accounting, Geography, Physics, Mathematics, Informatics Engineering and others.
 Health - Municipalization, modern facilities and more beds
 In 15 years of peace, a modern maternity hospital with State-of-the-art facilities was built in the province for 180 patients; A municipal reference hospital for 130 beds and rehabilitation, expansion and modernization of the Moxico General Hospital, with 180 to 250 beds.
 In addition, there are another 163 health units, including centers and medical posts, with an increase of more than 124 health facilities, compared to the previous period.
 In order to have a more precise idea, 68 health centers, 18 centers, 18 delivery rooms, 12 fresh hospitals, eight medicine depots and four municipal hospitals were built in the province in the last 15 years.
 The rehabilitation and expansion included 39 health units, 24 health centers, eight centers, four municipal hospitals, two delivery rooms and a provincial hospital, bringing the the number of beds in the province to 1,116, against 480 in the previous period .
 With regard to medical personnel, until 2002 the province had only one Angolan doctor, but the advent of peace changed the course, rising to 12 national doctors and 52 foreigners, with the prospect of  entry of another 38 specialists in Medicine.
 An important sector for the industrialization of the country and one of the prominent sources of revenues, after the wood and honey in the province, the Hotels and Tourism sector has evolved in an exponential way, having gained in the last 15 years of peace, five hotels, against three from the previous period.
 It also has 23 lodges (against 12), a bar, five discos , one of which is out of operation, 29 tourist resorts (against six), six restaurants, thus generating 878 jobs, against 220 existing before peace was attained 15 years ago, with the number of jobs tripling .
 Three more hotels are currently under construction, with inauguration expected soon.
 Despite poor performance in the distribution of housing to the population over the past 15 years, the few houses built challenge and beat the non-existent social projects before peace was attained.
 In addition to the construction of a social neighborhood for young people with 40 houses, Moxico benefited from a three thousand houses project that will be built in the capital city, Luena. But the works are hindered by the country’s economic and financial situation.
 On the other hand, in the eight municipalities in the province’s inland, 100 of the 200 houses of the housing subprogram have been built for teachers, health professionals, physicians and other public officials.
 The Luau Municipal Airport, named after the general Rafael Sapilinha Sambalanga, is, without a shadow of a doubt, the greatest gain in this regard, as a very welcome futuristic vision, inaugurated on February 14, 2014 by the President of the Republic , José Eduardo dos Santos.
 The infrastructure that has a track of 2,600 meters long and 45 meters wide, is located 10 kilometers north-east of Luau town and includes a modern design airfield for 70 passengers at the time of boarding and disembarkation.
 About airport this is not everything. After years of suffering due to air travel, the province has rehabilitated and extended the runway at Luena Airport to 3,350 meters in length and 60 meters in width, against the previous 2,400 meters long and 30 wide. A new terminal with a capacity for 300 passengers per hour was built, being 150 at embarking and equal number at landing.
 The rehabilitation and modernization of the Benguela Railways is an added value currently felt by the population, since the arrival of the train in Luena in 2012, and in Luau tow years later.
 The province's road network, which is the main support for industrial development and other undertaking, has seen significant progress and now allows the movement of people and goods, promoting trade, reducing regional asymmetries and linking the province to the rest of the country.
 About 576,90 kilometers of roads have already been built in the entire province, in 15 years of peace, of the 3,477 of the local road extension. 300 kilometers of road linking Luena and the municipal headquarters are being asphalted.
 Circulation can be done on a Bundas municipality’s asphalted 
 roads, before an extensive road is fully asphalted.  168 kilometres of the 356 planned have been asphalted.
 Under the same conditions, the works of asphalting of the Luau / Alto Zambeze stretch, paralyzed after asphalting of about 100 kilometers of the 280 planned.
 In contrast, according to the National Road Institute of Angola in Moxico, the work should restart soon.
 Alike the regions mentioned above, Luchazes, Léua and Cameia, whose sections of road have layers of sub-bases already in place, the population also looks forward to the asphalting works.
 Moxico has a road network of 3,477 kilometers, comprising the primary network (2, 340 kilometers), secondary (308 km) and tertiary (828 km) whose construction and rehabilitation will always be in the interest of the Government and within the financial constraints facing the country.
 Altogether, in order to secure a good road traffic over the last 15 years, 18 bridges have been built, with stress to the bridge over the Zambeze River in the municipality of Alto Zambeze, the largest of which is 200 meters long, in addition to 15 metallic ones.
 "You can not compare to the previous years, that is, in relation to the times of the armed conflict, because the roads inherited from the Portuguese colonial era were all destroyed and rebuilt", explains the INEA head in Moxico, Hélder Jordão.
 Sports and culture
 The construction of the Munudunduleno stadium, with more than 4,000 seats, belonging to FC Bravos do Maquis, the rehabilitation of the "27 de Março" gymnasium pavilion, for 2000 seats, and of the multi-sports halls of the Angola-Telecom, Cameia, are a Guarantee of the promotion of sports in the last 15 years of peace.  
 In addition, most of the II cycle reference schools have multidisciplinary courts, such as the Institute of Administration and Management (IMGA), the “11 de Novembro” schools, the “Instituto Superior Politécnico do Moxico”, and others, contributing to the development of several disciplines, which makes the practice of sports more inclusive.
 As far as culture is concerned, the "Cine Teatro Luena", the main cinema theater in the region, has been rehabilitated. Culture makers have also gained a "Culture House", a multicultural hall that has contributed to the growth of the scenic, cultural, exhibition and other arts in the province.
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