Angola’s economy under sanctions: problems and solutions

Inna V. Lazanyuk, David Mambu Diu


Relevance. Africa is the continent most targeted by sanctions. African states were made subject to sanctions by the United Nations and various regional organizations such as the African Union, Economic Community of West African States, and the European Union. There is, however, still a lack of understanding of these sanctions’ intended and unintended effects in the African context, which is the research gap this study seeks to address.

Research objective. This paper analyzes the role and mechanisms of the sanctions imposed by Western countries (especially the USA) against Angola and other African states to achieve certain geopolitical goals.

Data and methods. This study relies on the comprehensive and recently updated dataset of the Global Sanctions Data Base (GSDB). The GSDB lists over 1,101 sanction cases by country and international organization. Sanctions are classified according to the three parameters: their type, objective and degree of success. The methodological framework of this study comprises the historical-logical, statistical, comparative, and analytical methods.

Results. We analyzed the dynamic of the macro-economic indicators targeted by the sanctions against Angola and its political elite in 1995-2021 and found that the effects of these sanctions were not very profound. The UN sanctions, however, had a statistically and economically significant effect on the country's economic growth as they led to a considerable exports shrinkage and decline in GDP. The latter effect was possible because Angola's economy is heavily reliant on oil exports. As the imports curbed, since 1995 Angola’s trade structure has undergone some significant changes: the share of the imports from China grew by 12% between 1995 and 2019 while the share of France decreased by 8.2%, Portugal, by 9.6%, and the USA, by 10.8%

Conclusions. Analysis of the GSDB data has led us to the following conclusions: first, sanctions are becoming an increasingly popular tool of international relations; second, European countries are the most frequent users of sanctions and African countries are their most frequent targets; third, sanctions are becoming increasingly diverse; and, finally, the share of trade sanctions is decreasing while the share of financial and travel sanctions is growing. At the current stage, the effect of the sanctions is weak in comparison with the declared goals although they have a negative impact on the living standards in the target countries. 


Africa, economy, economic sanctions, sanctions policy, effectiveness of sanctions, Angola, Global Sanctions Data Base

Full Text:



Adam, A., & Tsarsitalidou, S. (2019). Do sanctions lead to a decline in civil liberties? Public Choice, 180, 191–215.

Besedes, T., Goldbach, S., & Nitsch, V. (2017). You’re banned! the effect of sanctions on german cross-border financial flows. Economic Policy, 32(90), 263–318.

Bolgorian, M., & Mayeli, A. (2019). Banks’ characteristics, state ownership and vulnerability to sanctions: Evidences from Iran. Borsa Istanbul Review, 19(3), 264–272. 1016/j.bir.2019.02.003

Charron, A., & Portela, C. (2015). The UN, Regional Sanctions and Africa. International Affairs, 91(6), 1369–1385.

Dashti-Gibson, J., Davis, P., & Radcliff, B. (1997). On the determinants of the success of economic sanctions: An empirical analysis. American Journal of Political Science, 41(2), 608–618.

Davidson, A.B. (2020). A Turning Point in Africa’s History. The 60th Anniversary of the ‘Year of Africa’. Novaya i noveyshaya istoriya. 3, 130–137.

Davis, L., & Engerman, S. (2003). History lessons: sanctions-neither war nor peace. The Journal of Economic Perspectives, 17(2), 187–197.

Dizaji, Sajjad Faraji, & Peter, A.G. van Bergeijk (2013). Potential early phase success and ultimate failure of economic sanctions: A VAR approach with an application to Iran. Journal of Peace Research, 50, 721–736.

Dreger, C., Kholodilin, K.A., Ulbright, D., & Fidrmuc, J. (2016). Between the hammer and the anvil: the impact of economic sanctions and oil prices on Russia’s ruble. Journal of Comparative Economics, 44(2), 295–308.

Drezner, D.W. (2000). Bargaining, enforcement, and multilateral sanctions: When is cooperation counterproductive? International Organization, 54(1), 73–102.

Early, B., & Peksen, D. (2019). Searching in the shadows: The impact of Economic Sanctions on informal economies. Political Research Quarterly, 72(4), 821–834.

Felbermayr, G., Kirilakha, A., Syropoulos, C., Yalcin, E., & Yotov, Y. V. (2020). The global sanctions data base. European Economic Review, 129, 103561.

Felbermayr, G., Morgan, T.C., Syropoulos, C. & Yotov, Y.V. (2021). Understanding Economic Sanctions: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Theory and Evidence. European Economic Review, 135, 103720.

Fituni, L.L. (2019). Targeted Sanctions: a Tool of Foreign Policy, Unfair Competition or Global Social Engineering? MGIMO Review of International Relations, 3, 17–41.

Fituni, L.L. (2020). Complete the Process of Decolonization! Journal of the Institute for African studies, 4, 5–17. (In Russ.)

Gharehgozli, O. (2017). An estimation of the economic cost of recent sanctions on Iran using the synthetic control method. Economic Letters, 157(August), 141–144.

Grigoryan, G.R. (2019). Methodological Bases of Evaluating the Effectiveness of External Economic Sanctions. Journal of International Economic Affairs, 4, 2793–2804. (In Russ.)

Ha, L.T., Dung, H.P., Chuong, P.H., & Thanh, T.T. (2021). Global economic sanctions, global bank linkages and information asymmetry: an evidence from cross-country data. The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, 31(3), 427–449.

Hart, R.A. (2000). Democracy and the successful use of economic sanctions. Political Research Quarterly, 53(2), 267–284.

Kassaye, N.W.M., & Ivkina, N.V. (2020). Features of the Political Development of Africa in the Postcolonial Period. Vestnik RUDN. International Relations, 20(1), 22–38. (In Russ.)

Le, T.H., & Bach, N.T. (2022). Global sanctions, foreign direct investment, and global linkages: evidence from global data. The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, 31(7), 967–994.

Neuenkirch, M., & Neumeier, F. (2015). The impact of UN and US economic sanctions on GDP growth. European Journal of Political Economy, 40, Part A, 110–125.

Neuenkirch, M., & Neumeier, F. (2015). The impact of UN and US economic sanctions on GDP growth. European Journal of Political Economy, 40 (December), 110–125. ejpoleco.2015.09.001

Nureev, R.M., & Busygin, E.G. (2017). Economic Sanctions: Costs and Benefits of Confrontation. Terra Economicus, 3, 56–74. (In Russ.)

Peksen, D., & Byunghwan, S. (2015). Economic coersion and currency crisis in target countries. Journal of Peace Research, 52(4), 448–462.

Peksen, D. (2009). Better or worse? The effect of economic sanctions on human rights. Journal of Peace Research, 46(1), 59–77.

Peksen, D. (2019). When Do Imposed Economic Sanctions Work? A Critical Review of the Sanctions Effectiveness Literature. Defence and Peace Economics, 30, 1–13.

Peksen, D., & Drury, A.C. (2009). Economic sanctions and political repression: Assessing the impact of coercive diplomacy on political freedoms. Human Rights Review, 10(3), 393–411.

Peksen, D., & Drury, A.C. (2010). Coercive or corrosive: The negative impact of economic sanctions on democracy. International Interactions, 36(3), 240–264.

Sharova, A.Y. (2019). The Impact of Sanctions on the Economies of Landlocked Countries (Cases of the Central African Republic and Mali). Journal of the Institute for African Studies, 3(48), 49–63. (In Russ.)

Wood, R.M. (2008). A Hand upon the Throat of the Nation: Economic sanctions and state repression, 1976–2001. International Studies Quarterly, 52(3), 489–513.–2478.2008.00512.x

Zakharov, I.A., & Dmitriev, R.V. (2021). The African Focus of Global Sanction Policy: Historical Stages. Vostok (Oriens), 6, 143–156. (In Russ.)


Copyright (c) 2022 Inna V. Lazanyuk, David Mambu Diu

Сertificate of registration media Эл № ФС77-80764 от 28.04.2021
Online ISSN 2412-0731