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Wed, 19 Apr 2017 14:19 - Updated Wed, 19 Apr 2017 14:20

Peace boosts Huila's economic and social growth

Lubango - The attainment of peace 15 years ago set a relevant turn in southern Huila province that has since recorded an increment in investments in the main factors of economic and social growth, resulting in increased and improved goods and services.

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A Lubango hotel

Photo: Morais Silva

Fish farming on the rise

Photo: Saturnino Tomás

 

By Morais Silva and Manuel Fernandes 

As a result, progresses are now visible in various areas, with a particular stress to  agro-livestock production, light industry and food processing and heavy industry, namely mining.  

It includes the construction of infrastructure to support health activities, rail and air transport and the rehabilitation of the road network among the 14 municipalities of the province, thus ensuring free and safe movement of people and the outflow Of products from the countryside to the cities. 

Other areas, such as Sports, Culture, Hospitality and Tourism, have also benefited from the Government’s attention, but the main focus is on Education - whose production makes the people of Huila proud – coupled with the number of locally trained staff and reconstruction services. 

Education and Higher Education 

This was one of the sectors that grew the most, since Huíla had the highest rates of people outside the educational system, estiamted at more than 140,000 children, mainly due to the lack of schools, whose number was set at just over 90. 

Although there are still 4,000 children in this situation, it is recognised that the reduction was due to the exponential growth in the province’s school network, reaching 1,943 schools, corresponding to 6,000 and 526 classrooms, catering annually for at least one million students. 

At the primary level, there are 1,679 schools, 54 for primary education, 73 for the 1st cycle of the secondary education, 36 for the 2nd cycle and one for special education.  

In 2002, at least 23,000  were enrolled for the primary levele. After 15 years, there are currently 538,828 students in the primary education system, 112,842 in the 1st cycle and 49,386 in the 2nd. The Higher Education  subsystem was another one that made strides.  

From the Higher Institute of Education  Sciences (ISCED) to the Faculties of Law and Economics of the Agostinho Neto University, Huíla gained the Mandume Ya Ndemofayo University (UMN) with seven organic units, as well as six private institutions.  

UMN is part of the 6th Academic Region and covers the provinces of Huíla and Namibe, as well as the Faculties of Economics, Law, Medicine, the Huíla Higher Polytechnic Institute and Namibe's Politechnic and the Higher Pedagogical Schools. At the private level, there are the Higher Institutes of Theology, the Politecnico Independente and  Gregorio Semedo, including the Evangelical Synodal University of Angola (WESA), which in general hosts more than 20,000 students.  

Health 

Health is another sector that has been very "sick", but the winds of peace have breathed softly and enriched this wing of life. If in 2002 there were only six public reference units, today the picture is different.  

The municipalities have a hospital with capacity for surgical interventions, as they have doctors and other aid staff, as well as reference health centres, maternal and child centres, medical and nursing posts, distributed by the communes and sectors, as well as a health school.  

In this activity, the private sector also has seven clinics, 45 medical centres, 61 nursing posts, three ophthalmology offices and five dental offices, five naturist medical centres and one physiotherapy centre, as well as five doctors' offices and two naturist offices.  

Altogether, the health network involves  more than 400 units, with an emphasis to Lubango General Hospital, rehabilitated, expanded and re-equipped in 2005, as well as four new large specialised hospitals, namely Maternity, Pediatrics, Psychiatry and Orthopedic Centre .  

Electricity 

In recent years, the Government has brought electricity to the majority of the populations of the region, from two sources of production, namely hydro and thermal. The first is based on the hydroelectric dam of Matala, with three generators currently under repair to boost its production.  

Once completed, Matala will produce just over 40 megawatts, and is currently operating with only two generators and producing 27,2 megawatts (13.6MW each),  which supplies localities in the provinces of Huíla and Namibe.  

The sector has gained two thermal power stations in Lubango that generate 40 megawatts each, as well as groups of generators with capacities ranging from 20 to 500 KVA, to supply residents in localities where the general network has not yet reached. 

Investment in the sector has also been extended to technical transformation, transport and distribution of the product in low and medium voltage, where the extension of the supply network to the neighborhoods, previously restricted to city centres and municipal offices .  

Three small hydroelectric dams are being built in the municipalities of Gambos, Chibia and Lubango in order to strengthen the production capacity and consequently improve the supply of both electricity and drinking water to communities, irrigation of fields and watering of  livestock.  

Water Supply  

In order to improve the supply of drinking water to citizens, the Government of the province of Huíla has implemented a number of actions contained in two major programmes, namely "Water for All" and "Águas do Lubango", which now cater for the majority of its inhabitants. Lubango has gained the hydraulic and electromechanical rehabilitation of the main pumping station, the Nossa Senhora do Monte, and the installation of 60 kilometres of distribution network and a new field of boreholes.  

The percentage of Huila's citizens who consumed drinking water in that province has increased from 20 to 80 percent since 2002, as a result of the implementation of these programmes by the Government and partners, which increased production, treatment and the supplying capacity.  

Angop learned that the Government and its partners, mainly UNICEF and the World Bank, have made huge investments that already benefit more than 530,000 people, through home connections and supply systems to peri-urban and rural areas.  

Within the framework of the "Water for All" programme, the Government and partners have invested mainly in the municipalities and headquarters, in the construction of artesian catchment systems (fountains) and home connections.  

That is how, out of 250 water points in 2002, today the province has more than three thousand.  

Agricultural Production  

Given the potential of the region, more actions were taken in agriculture and livestock, mainly the opening of new cultivation areas, an increase in the supply of inputs and construction of infrastructures to support food production of plant and animal origin.  

The agricultural sector has gained large-capacity silos for the storage of cereals and the rehabilitation of hydro-agricultural infrastructures to ensure food production in the irrigation system, especially the dams and the respective irrigation channels of Matala and Gangelas, in Chibia.  

There are also three other (smaller ones) under construction in Lubango, Chibia and Chiomba. At the same time, this investment was aimed at providing peasant families with the conditions to maintain production after the rainy season and supply local markets with products all year round.  

The re-development of the road network among the municipalities and on to the agricultural and livestock production centres, including bridges, are other of the gains that have solved one of the great old difficulties of the peasants: that of the outflow of production to the markets of consumption.  

In addition, there was a greater involvement of the population in the agricultural and livestock sector, both by peasant families and business farmers, through associations and cooperatives.  

As a result, the number of associations in recent years has grown by 80 percent and have been installed in the municipalities with the highest incidence of agrarian production, namely Caluquembe, Chicomba, Matala, Caconda, Chibia and Quipungo.  

There are 224 cooperatives and around 1,000 structured solidarity groups, whose members are committed to cultivating the land in an organised way, to increase their incomes and the supply of food, thus contributing to the process of diversification of the national economy.  

The Government's incentives include loans granted by banks to relaunch production, with a stress to the "Angola Jovem" and " Agricultural Campaign Credit" programmes, which benefit agricultural entrepreneurs in the exploitation of large areas, as well as peasant family production.  

The Government has made available to national and foreign investors extensions of agricultural land reaching up to 15,0000 hectares, with rivers and other factors that contribute to agricultural production on a large scale. Annually, Huíla mobilises more than 600,000 hectares of land for agricultural campaigns, from where more than 700,000tons of diverse products, among cereals, oilseeds, vegetables and tubers, are harvested.  

Livestock  

One of the major challenges in the livestock sector was to keep cattle herds healthy,  to guarantee meat quality and produce sufficient quantities to supply the local and other markets, based on breeding projects.  

  

  

Another objective is to consolidate business production, increase productivity and respond to  demand for meat and derivatives in the domestic market, as a contribution to the reduction of imports and exports, since it has the largest rearing population in the country, with more than two million animals.  

Another gain in the sector was the re-launch of fishery production in the province, as a contribution to the diversification of the sources of family income in the countryside.  

Fishing has also been of great importance due to its contribution to the fight against hunger, poverty reduction and food and nutritional security of the population, with a particular stres emphasis on people living in rural areas, encouraging employment.  

Industry, Geology and Mining  

There is a substantial growth of the factory network, adding up to 79 light industry units and 30 heavy industry companies, which generated thousands of jobs and increased the supply of products to the market.  

With peace, a business environment was established that attracted investors and allowed the opening of small, medium and large food, construction materials, beverages, tobacco, clothing industries and others.  

  

 
 
 

  

In geological and mining terms, the private investment in the exploration and transformation of granite and marble was notable which, in addition to supporting the National Reconstruction Programme, the companies increased their exports.  

Another highlight was the reactivation of the prospecting aprocess and the technical execution of an entire process that will culminate in the resumption of iron exploration and, for the first time, gold in the municipality of Jamba and Chipindo (gold) in 2018.  

Hotel and Tourism 

With the peace achieved in 2002, the Hotels  and Tourism sector has recorded an estimated growth of 90 percent, thus becoming the country's third largest park after those of Luanda and Benguela.  

The hotel and restaurant network has grown from 15 units, mostly concentrated in the city of Lubango, to 971, built or rehabilitated through public and private business investment, both domestic and foreign.  

The investment provided Huíla with 3,000  beds, available in 10 hotels of up to four stars, 16 boarding houses, 83 lodges and 14 tourist villages, as well as 113 restaurants and 711 alike ones, 23 travel agencies, 20 natural resorts and 86 monuments and clarified sites in operation.  

Its functioning, the quality of the services provided and the natural attractions today place the province on the route of the national and international tourist movement and is a destination sought for by a growing number of tourists.  

With regard to job creation, the sector has generated more than 50,000 direct and indirect jobs, benefiting mostly young people.  

Housing Foment 

Another sector that has benefited from an important boost is the social housing. The war brought to the main urban centre of the province (Lubango) thousands of displaced people and, with them, urban disorder and anarchy in the civil construction sector.  

Two sattellite cities have been built in Lubango, that is Quilemba, with more than 11,000 houses, still uninhabited, and Eywa, with 4,000, under a public-private partnership, as well as 200 houses for each of the 14 municipalities of the province, following public initiatives. 

Other public and private business initiatives offered to its residents diverse housing solutions, within the framework of the Government's housing development programme, which generally accommodates more than 60,000 families in neighborhoods, condominiums and others.  

These solutions count on the contribution of a programme of self-directed construction, under which municipal administrations have made thousands of land plots available to their inhabitants.  

Transport and Infrastructure 

Rehabilitation of more than 1,000 kilometres of roads, rebuilding of bridges, construction of the Mukanka International Airport in Lubango, new sports facilities such as the Tundavala National Stadium, two new pavilions for sports and other sports , are some of the other gains.  

The rehabilitation of the Moçâmedes Railways gave life to the localities where the 900 kilometres of railway line passes, between Namibe and Cuando Cubango, across Huíla province. In this course, 56 first, second and third class stations were "born".  

The train makes 10 weekly trips between Lubango and Menongue, carrying more than 100,000  people a year and almost six million tons of diverse goods. 

On a daily basis, thousands of citizens travel to and from Lubango, capital of Huila, by public and private means to various destinations, along national roads in the provinces of Namibe, Cunene, Cuando Cubango, Benguela and Huambo.  

This is another segment that, with peace, started to generate jobs for thousands of young people mainly, as free movement stimulated the growth of business participation, through the creation of large, medium and small companies, keeping Huíla and the country as one. 

A new, modern, international Mukanka airport was built within the framework of a Government's  investment and works package, with the annual capacity installed to handle 1.7 million passengers. It has protocol, domestic and international  embarking and disembarking lounges, customs services, migration, fiscal police, firemen, airline offices, shops, restaurants, control tower, electric station, parking for 300 vehicles, including buses and taxis.  

The main runway is 3,200 metres long and 60 meters wide, designed to receive airplanes as large as  the Boeing 777, with lighting system for night operations, as well as a new parking for the above mentioned or 747 aircraft.  

Culture and Sport 

Here, as a gain, the preservation and valorisation of tangible and intangible cultural assets in the 14 municipalities stands out, as a result of the work carried out by the provincial Government, during the 15 years of peace and national reconciliation.  

In addition to actions on heritage education, in order to raise the awareness among the communities about the importance of their safeguarding, the sector boosted and expanded the production of the various disciplines of culture, with fairs, exhibitions and various shows.  

In this context, there has been several awards in various contests. In the last 15 years, the conquest by Huíla of two Miss Angola titles has been highlighted, as a result of the work of valuing women's beauty and spreading the province's natural tourism potential.  

As On sports, Huíla won the Tundavala National Stadium, built from scratch, with a capacity for 25,000 spectators which, for the first time, allowed the Huila folks to watch the games of the group stage of the African Football Championship (CAN). In addition, the lawned stadiums of Ferroviário, Benfica and Nossa Senhora do Monte were rehabilitated and modernised, giving back to the province the capacity to hold events and to design football practice.  

The court sports gained a multipurpose pavilion and another one for training, located in Lubango, built in the Sports and Cultural Complex of Nossa Senhora do Monte, with 2,010  seats, and two others completely rehabilitated.  

These infrastructures allowed the Huila residents to watch, in this city, the matches of one of the series of the African Basketball Championship, Afro-Basketball2007. The capital of Huíla is Lubango and its municipalities are Humpata, Chipindo, Chicomba, Cuamba, Jamba, Cacula, Caconda, Caluquembe, Quilengues, Gambos, Matala, Cacula, Chibia and Quipungo.  

Lubango is one and a half miles south of Luanda. The province is a major economic power, being among the largest industrial parks in the country, with six industrial zones, three of them in its headquarters. Its connection to the southern African region, by air, through regular connections of the national company (TAAG) between Lubango and Windhoek (Namibia), and of individuals with different points of the continent, gives it a privileged forum in the context of  national and foreign investment. The gains of peace are immeasurable in this territory that has 79,023 square kilometres, but the greatest of all is, without a shadow of doubt, the consolidation of peace and national reconciliation.

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