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Southwest Angola expected to improve to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) by July 2023

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Angola
  • February 2023
Southwest Angola expected to improve to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) by July 2023

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  • Key Messages
  • Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year
  • Projected Outlook through September 2023
  • Key Messages
    • Poor households in Cuene, Huíla, and Namibe remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and in need of humanitarian food assistance. They face food consumption deficits amid low levels of income following consecutive droughts that drove a decline in the availability of crops, agricultural labor, and natural resources for self-employment.

    • Since January, rainfall in the southwest has improved, with most areas of the country now registering average or above-average rainfall. With the forecast for average to above-average rainfall through April, and the distribution of seeds that has encouraged households in Huíla and Cunene to reseed crops, crop production is likely to be better than last year, including in many areas of concern in the southwest. The exception to this is Namibe where rainfall performance has been relatively poor and low crop production is likely.

    • Improving economic performance has allowed for an increase in food imports by the Strategic Food Reserve and has allowed the Central Bank to reduce its support to the Kwanza. For poor households who rely on markets to access food, is economic growth and increasing strategic reserves will allow the government to curb food inflation.

    • Poor households in the southwest are likely to remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through July. However, food security is slowly improving as food prices decline and income from agricultural labor and self-employment are increasing. Improvement to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) is expected in July, when the harvest is also available. In Namibe province, improvement is also expected; however, not all poor households will improve and of greatest concern are poor households in Tombwa and Virei of Namibe where seasonal progress has been particularly poor. Although less than 20 percent of the population of these areas will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) during the harvest period, there will remain populations in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and in need of humanitarian food assistance.


    Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year
    Seasonal calendar for a typical year in Angola.

    Source: FEWS NET

    ZoneCurrent AnomaliesProjected Anomalies
    National
    • The slight increase in the price of Cabinda oil (78 USD per barrel to 81 USD), and overall uptake of Angolan oil by China, has increased Angola’s export earnings and overall economic performance. This has led to higher public expenditure, increased investment in infrastructure projects, and the distribution of seeds to farmers.
    • Inflation declined steadily from 27.7 percent in January 2022 to 12.5 percent in January 2023. The continued disinflation in recent months and softer non-fuel commodity price have encouraged the Central Bank to lower its benchmark lending rate for the second time in four months from 19.5 percent to 18 percent. The bank also reduced mandatory reserve requirements.
    • OPEC+ quotas and sanctions on Russian oil are likely to encourage a continued cautious approach to oil production in Angola. On the other hand, China’s economy is reopening, increasing demand for Angola’s oil. Overall, local oil production is likely to remain similar to last year and below average levels.
    • The Central Bank (BNA) easing of monetary policy will support economic growth. Economic growth is forecast to increase from 3.2% in 2022 to 3.4% in 2023, according to the IMF. Inflation is expected to slow from 12.5 percent in January to single digits in 2023, although the pace of disinflation is expected to slow in the coming months amid a weakened kwanza. The bank is expected to make further cuts in the coming meetings as price growth continues to decelerate.
    Cunene province
    • Strong, above-average rainfall in the month of January has led to the destruction of some infrastructure in late January/early February.
    • With forecast average to above-average rainfall, there is an increased likelihood of floods and the subsequent destruction of water reservoir infrastructure. This will, in turn, result in lower return of nomadic pastoralists, as reservoirs were designed to bring water from the river to drier areas, and damage to infrastructure will result in lower levels of water available in their areas of origin.
    Cunene and Huíla
    • Incentivized by the heavy rainfall, NGOs including World Vision and the FRESAN program (Strengthening Resilience and Food and Nutritional Security in Angola) are supplying seeds, hoes, machetes, and other inputs to farmers.
    • Given the rainfall to date, seed distribution, and the forecast for at least average rainfall through the end of the season, the harvest will likely be higher than last year and near the five-year average. The relatively favorable harvest will drive normal levels of agricultural labor income for poor households.
    Namibe
    • Contrary to the rest of the southwest, most notably in the municipalities of Tombwa and Virei, rainfall has been relatively poor. Below-average rainfall amid high temperatures has resulted in poor crop development in these areas.
    • Overall, the harvest is expected to be relatively low, with the highest crop losses likely in Tombwa and Virei. Income from agricultural labor will also be lower than normal for poor households in these areas, though it is expected some household members will instead migrate to urban areas for non-agricultural labor opportunities. 

     


    Projected Outlook through September 2023

    The 2022/2023 rainy season started normally in most parts of the country, but the areas of concern in the southwest saw a late start of the rainy season. Between October and early January, the start of the rainy season, generally below-average rainfall was received across most of the country, on the order of 5-15 percent below normal. However, some northern parts of the country received above-average rainfall during this time. In January and the first half of February, rainfall totals increased with most areas of southern Angola now receiving close to average rainfall. This includes the areas of concern of Cunene and Huíla in the southwest, which have received relatively favorable rainfall, aside from some heavy rains in Cunene. The relatively good performance of the rainy season has led to increased agricultural input distribution, including from World Vision. This has reportedly resulted in higher area planted when compared with last year. However, in the municipalities of Tombwa and Virei of Namibe, minimal to no rainfall has been received according to both Climate Hazards Group InfraRed Precipitation with Station data (CHIRPS) satellite-derived imagery (Figure 1) and key informants in the region.

    The 2022/2023 agricultural season is progressing normally in most of the country, and the recent improvement in rainfall has encouraged many households in Huíla and Cunene to reseed sorghum, millet, and some maize. FEWS NET’s science partners and the Southern Africa Regional Climate Outlook Forum (SARCOF) forecast normal to above-normal rainfall through April, which supports the likelihood of an overall favorable cropping season. The exception to this is parts of Namibe where crop development has been negatively affected by poor rainfall and high temperatures. This is corroborated by the satellite-based Water Requirement Satisfaction Index (WRSI), which shows much of Namibe registering 50 percent or less of the water required for maize crops (Figure 2). With mediocre to very good crop development in the rest of the country, though, it is estimated by the government that crop production this year will be at least 30 percent higher than the 2021/2022 agricultural season and close to a five-year average.

    Figure 1

    Onset of rainfall anomaly, as of February 2022
    Onset of rainfall anomaly, as of February 2022. Described under heading Projected Outlook Through July 2023.

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 2

    Water Requirement Satisfaction Index (WRSI) for maize, as of February 2023
    Water Requirement Satisfaction Index (WRSI) for maize, as of February 2023. Described under heading Projected Outlook Through July 2023.

    Source: FEWS NET

    Amid the favorable progress of the season in the north, maize is being harvested early. Beans are also being harvested in Bie, Huambo, and Huíla provinces. The increased supply of maize and beans is driving a decline in food prices in many markets. In Malanje and Bie provinces, maize is sold for around 70 AOA/kg, down from 85 AOA/kg in December, a greater decline in prices than is seasonally typical. The relatively lower prices are expected to increase household purchasing power, gradually driving greater food access in the lead up to the May-July harvest.

    The recent increase in rainfall has also brought some improvement in vegetation conditions in the southwest, although they remain 10-20 percent below average. Despite these improvements, the overall aridity of the region and previous seasons of below-average rainfall will continue to result in overall poorer-than-normal grazing conditions. Atypical transhumance patterns and a continued slow recovery of herds is still expected.  

    During the projection period, poor households will continue to rely on a combination of labor and self-employment income, as well as crops from the upcoming harvest. Although income sources are broadly normal among poor households in much of the country, the lack of rains in past seasons has resulted in lower-than-normal sources of income for poor and very poor households in the southwest. Most did not engage in vegetable production last year due to low rainfall, reducing the availability of produce available for sale currently. The production and sale of alcoholic beverages from wild fruits has also declined due to lower water availability for fruit production. Among those poor households who do have goats or pigs, the sale of these animals for income had been higher than usual throughout the past poor seasons, resulting in fewer livestock available for sale now. Lastly, past poor seasons has led to lower-than-normal agricultural activities.

    Looking forward into the projection period, poor households in Cunene and Huíla are expected to start generating more income from small community farms irrigated through boreholes, implemented by the FRESAN program. Income from typical agricultural labor opportunities during the harvest are also expected. As cereal from the harvest becomes available, poor households will also earn income from raising and selling chickens and cereal-based local brew. To some extent this is also likely in Namibe, though improvement will be smaller given the poor progress of the season. Many poor households in Namibe will continue to rely on income/remittances from family members working in urban areas to purchase food from markets.

    According to the BNA and Private Investment and Export Promotion Agency (AIPEX), Angola's balance of payments increased by 48 percent compared to the same period in 2022, reflecting the growth of the export sector. Growth is expected to continue, with real GDP projected to reach 3.4 percent in 2023, according to the IMF, supported by refined oil production and exports. The external sector is expected to maintain a trade surplus due to both increased sales and prices of oil. The National Kwanza has been steady at 504 AOA/USD; however, slight depreciation of AOA is expected from May as due to the decision of the BNA to reduce the sale of USD. This growth has supported an increase in Angola's international reserves, which now equates to roughly 7.2 months of import coverage. For poor households who rely on markets to access food, this growth and increasing strategic reserves will allow the government to increase imports and the sale of food through the Strategic Food Reserve, in an effort to curb the negative effects of food inflation.

    In the current situation and through July, poor households in the southwest are likely to remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). These outcomes are expected given that many poor households have low levels of income – including from the sale of past crops, livestock, and brew – resulting from past droughts. However, food access is slowly improving with the favorable progress of the current season. As food prices decline and income from agricultural labor and self-employment are increasing, poor households are progressively able to purchase their basic food and non-food needs. Notable improvement is expected in July, when the harvest is available and poor households have both an increase in income and food availability. This will result in improvement to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes. In Namibe province, improvement is also expected as many poor households will have increased labor and self-employment opportunities, and some harvest. However, not all poor households will improve given the poor progress of the season there, and of greatest concern are poor households in Tombwa and Virei of Namibe. Although less than 20 percent of the population will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) during the harvesting period, there will remain populations in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and in need of humanitarian food assistance.

    Recommended citation: FEWS NET. Angola Remote Monitoring Update, February 2023: Southwest Angola expected to improve to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) by July 2023, 2023.

    In remote monitoring, a coordinator typically works from a nearby regional office. Relying on partners for data, the coordinator uses scenario development to conduct analysis and produce monthly reports. As less data may be available, remote monitoring reports may have less detail than those from countries with FEWS NET offices. Learn more about our work here.

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