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Angola is located on the south-west coast of sub-Saharan Africa, and is the second-largest country in the continent. It covers an area of approximately 1,246,700 km2. Lying between latitudes 4°22’ S and 18°03’ S, along the western coast of Africa, Angola is bordered by the Republic of the Congo to the north, Namibia to the South and Zambia to the East. The nation’s coastline extends over 1,650 km, with an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) extending to 200 nautical miles from the shoreline. The country is characterised by much topographical variation: a narrow plain straddling the coastline rises abruptly to a vast interior plateau. The highest point in the country is Mount Morro de Moco, in Huambo Province, with an elevation of 2,620 m. The climate is tropical to sub-tropical, and is characterized by warm and humid summers and mild and dry winters. Climatic conditions are strongly influenced by altitude, longitude and oceanic influence. The dry season extends from mid-May to September and the rainy season from October to mid-May.

Angola has undertaken a number of relevant studies on vulnerability to climate. First, after the severe drought of the 1980s, Angola produced recommendations in September 1989, on mitigation measures against drought (i.e. livestock management) and set up a national cabinet, housed in the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, to manage food security issues. The legacy of a 27-year civil war continues to impede the country’s development goals; although economic activity has improved considerably over the past several years, Angola’s Human Development Index remains one of the lowest in the world. Approximately 19 million people live in Angola (59 per cent in urban areas) and the population is projected to reach 42.3 million by 2050.

The country is rich in natural resources, with a formal economy dominated by the oil and diamond industries. In 2009, oil production accounted for 85 per cent of GDP, 96 per cent of exports and 87.5 per cent of government revenues, with diamonds comprising the remainder of Angola’s exports. Approximately 85 per cent of Angola’s working population is employed in the agriculture sector, and smallholder agricultural production has increased considerably over the past several years as a result of demining efforts, infrastructure improvements, and the resettlement of displaced persons. During the colonial period Angola was a major agricultural exporter. Today, however the country is a net food importer.