A Successful Failed State after All? The Case of Angola


  • Dominik Kopiński University of Wroclaw




Angola, economy, failed state, oil


Among African countries Angola stands out as a particularly interesting case where robust economic growth has occurred despite the country having a relatively long list of characteristics of a failed state. This has prompted some scholars to call it “a successful failed state” or “weak but strong”. In 2002 Angola emerged from the devastating 25-year long civil war and since then has recorded a burgeoning growth, which only recently came to a halt due to the oil prices collapse. At the same time, Angola is famous for its corruption, lack of transparency and state capture by local elites. This article seeks to provide a critical discussion about the Angolan state, with a special reference to its capacity to provide public goods and finance them. It probes the notion that Angola can be labelled a successful failed state and argues that a perception of the relative success holds only in the time of favourable external conditions and only when major structural and institutional shortcomings of the Angolan economy are ignored.


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Author Biography

Dominik Kopiński, University of Wroclaw

Holds PhD (2009) and Habilitation (2015) degrees in economics from Faculty of Economics, Wroclaw University of Economics and works as an assistant professor in the Institute of International Studies, University of Wroclaw. Dominik Kopiński is a co-founder and vice president of Polish Centre for African Studies. He was a Fulbright Fellow at the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University (Senior Advanced Research Award 2015-2016), a visiting scholar at Fudan University (China), Orfalea Center for Global & International Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara (United States), Universidade de Lisboa (Portugal), University of Plymouth (United Kingdom). He published extensively on Sub-Saharan Africa, development aid, China-Africa relations and natural resource policies. His work appeared, among others, in African Affairs, Journal of Contemporary African Studies, Africa Spectrum and Global Governance. Dominik Kopiński conducted field research in Zambia, Botswana, Ghana, Namibia and South Africa. Outside the academic realm, he has provided consulting services for Polish business and authored several reports on investment and trade opportunities in Sub-Saharan Africa, including a series of reports published by CEED Institute (funded by Jan Kulczyk).


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How to Cite

Dominik Kopiński. 2019. “A Successful Failed State After All? The Case of Angola”. Politeja 15 (5(56):67-84. https://doi.org/10.12797/Politeja.15.2018.56.05.