Angola finds itself in an apparently eternal political and economic crisis. The potential of the nation has never been realized, and the Angolan population is in deep social disarray. Signs of better times--peace agreements, democratization, and economic liberalization--have appeared, only to disappear again. The Angolan people have developed an elaborate set of survival strategies and an ability to persevere, but the odds against real development and improvement in their living conditions are high.
It is currently difficult to say what direction developments in Angola will take. The Lusaka Peace Agreement has held, but progress is slow and the international community is losing patience. Democratic institutions are in place, but they are not functioning properly. And despite the considerable economic potential in Angola, the structural problems of the Angolan economy are so severe that real reconstruction will be very difficult to accomplish.
Three development scenarios can be outlined, but neither a "best case scenario" nor a "worst case scenario" seems very realistic. The "middle case scenario"-- which seems the likely outcome--implies a long and painful road to recovery, with continued severe problems for the population.
In a best case scenario, the peace process as defined in the Lusaka Peace Agreement would be implemented, with continued support from the United Nations and the international community. Once peace was restored and freedom of movement guaranteed, there would be a basis for revitalizing the momentum toward political democracy and economic liberalization initiated in the late 1980s. Jonas Savimbi would accept the post of first vice president, and UNITA would fill its seats in the National Assembly. The assembly would then assume a