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Angola: Apathy and enthusiasm as parties vie for youth vote

Supporters of the Angolan opposition party UNITA (The National Union for the Total Independence of Angola) gather in Luanda on May 21, 2022 during a campaign rally   -  
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In Angola, more than half the population is under 30. Many voters were born after the end of the war in 2002.

The end of the war saw a period of oil-backed boom in the southern African country. When oil prices fell in 2015, Angola's economy struggled to keep its record-breaking growth rates as debt and currency shortages began to bite.

As the August 24 election beckons, Angola's youth are a key constituency. 

Hairdresser Honorato Francisco is voting for the first time and expresses the hope that his vote will contribute to a better country.

"The expectation is always improvement, we want something different from what we had in previous years. This is my expectation that the people, not only me, all of us want improvement," he said.

"Trusting one or the other (politicians) is extremely complicated. Whoever deserves it, let him make his difference," Francisco added. 

Although many are eager to vote, there are those who share different feelings. That's the case of entrepreneur and student Sebastião Florentino.

"I've voted other times, but I'm in a disappointed phase, so I don't think I'll vote this time, no. Every year it's been the same. For those who vote and those who don't vote, it's all the same. The results are never presented in a transparent way. So I feel that whether I vote or not, it doesn't matter. For me the biggest satisfaction would be that the current state and the future state simply solve the social problems, for me who will govern is not the most important thing," he said. 

Businessman and artist Lord Nilo, meanwhile, defends the importance of voting, which he considers an exercise of citizenship.

"Abstaining from voting is not an option at this stage when the youth is primarily invited to participate in change, whatever it may be, social change, political change. It is important that each of us is aware that the country belongs to all of us, and we all exercise power over the State. In the end, the State is us."

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