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Angola gained independence from Portugal in 1975, but a power vacuum plunged the country into a violent struggle between the Cuban-backed Movement for Liberation of Angola (MPLA) and UNITA (National Union for the Total Independence of Angola), supported by South Africa and the US. The civil war lasted 27 years. The MPLA emerged the stronger party, and in the 1990s exchanged Marxist-Leninism for social democracy.
Since 1979 the country has been ruled by the MPLA's Jose Eduardo dos Santos. In 2002, with the death of UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi, a ceasefire was finally agreed, and UNITA disarmed.
Angola now has a multi-party constitution. There is economic growth, but almost entirely concentrated in the oil industry. In theory there is great potential - Angola is fertile, has extensive oil and gas resources, hydroelectric potential, and diamond mines. But efforts to attract foreign investment are stymied by corruption and the inefficient judicial system, which raise the risks of investment.
Real estate transactions are subject to strict controls.