On the flight from Johannesburg to Luanda, Angola, the airplane is packed. Half the passengers are oil workers returning for another four- or five-week stint on the wells off the coast. The other half are relief workers, coming to feed, house and cure more than a million Angolans who are starving in the wake of the country’s recently concluded civil war. Why, one might ask, is a country that produces almost a million barrels of oil a day depending on the outside world to care for its poorest citizens?
Angola earns about $7 billion annually from oil exports. But according to the International Monetary Fund’s representative in Luanda, Carlos Leite, at least $1 billion in oil revenues has “gone missing” in each of the last six years. The money was received by the government, says Leite, but never showed up in government accounts. “That’s not a leak,” he says. “That’s a dike that has burst.”