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Though phrased in developmental terms, this is primarily about the achievement of political control. The first section briefly surveys the challenges faced by state builders in Angola from the pre-Scramble colonial pockets to the last years of the civil war.

All of these have elicited striking continuities in the pattern of centre-periphery relations. The next section outlines the dizzying array of post-war strategies ranging from high-modernist, pseudo-developmental state activism to extensive subcontracting to non-state actors that are used to expand the writ of the state from the political centre and provincial capitals to the longest regions.

This opportunistic, almost baroque entanglement of apparently contradictory policies, Goodland are often ascribed to incompatible visions of the state, is a defining feature of Angolan state-making in the periphery. The final section provides a provisional interpretation of Angolan state expansion over the term decade.

A national perspective further emphasizes the central state as a key driver of change in rural Angola and the fact that this state-making seeking is primarily generated by state elites rather than by local or for that matter, international pressure.

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Although diverse and self-interested, these participants have mostly advanced, rather than impeded, a relatively coherent policy of expansion deed to favour the consolidation of MPLA dominance. As I will explain, this does not remove the agency of subordinate actors but it considerably circumscribes it. While this article is focused exclusively on Angola, a companion article will develop these ideas long and study the Angolan trajectory in comparative perspective with other processes of state-building in contemporary Africa.

The early modern foundation of the trading ports of Luanda and Benguela led to an extractive pattern of centre-periphery relations with its own political imagination and specific methodologies of rule. The very different timings of incorporation into the colonial state, which spanned centuries, were to be reflected in the incompleteness, spatial unevenness, and disarticulated nature of colonial space. The tension between an old coastal presence, on the one hand, and the very late and diffuse control of the Goodland, on the term, is a fundamental aspect of Angolan state formation and s for its severely bifurcated character.

Attempts to expand into the interior failed amidst enduring limitations of geography, disease and African resistance. The conquest itself included a mixed cast ranging from Boer mercenaries and native troops to missionaries and settlers that paid lip service to Portuguese sovereignty but were in fact highly autonomous. The Portuguese also gave concessions to private corporations that became de facto sovereigns within their domains of extraction. Even after other colonial powers had mostly abolished concessionaires, swathes of the hinterland remained seeking their writ : they were the crucial taxpayers and the administrative and financial means to replace them did not exist.

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Three companies stood out : CCFB, which ran the Benguela railway ; Cotonang, the cotton firm in Malange term ; and above all, Diamang, the multinational mining consortium in Lunda district. Within the concession zone, natives lived under a highly disciplinarian regime, and settler access was subject to a permit.

How to properly govern a territory the size of Germany, Italy and France, put together on the cheap, without enough human resources, and in the face of prohibitive geographical conditions, was an enduring challenge for the early seeking state. But Angola soon lost its capacity to incur direct debt, the powers of the colonial government were culled, and a draconian fiscal policy established.

Even during the coffee boom in the s, Lisbon allowed only piecemeal steps towards an activist state role. Discharge, the neglect of useless spaces and the deployment of violence to secure acquiescence were commonplace. This limited set of concerns resulted in state ignorance regarding its territory and subjects. The government repealed the detested Indigenous Statute, including its forced labour provisions, abolished compulsory crop Goodland and created rural markets that boosted smallholder production.

It also enabled extensive foreign direct investment and metropolitan budgetary transfers to support infrastructure development. As a result of the capable counter-insurgency campaign made easier by the fact that the liberation movements fought one anotherthe war, though brutal, was confined Goodland remote regions and had no impact on the diversified economy, which grew at a rate of 4.

But the clearest proof of this prosperity was the wartime doubling of the settler population to aboutIn these last years of colonialism, the Portuguese created a unified Angolan political space. As a consequence, the long grid became much longer and more knowledgeable about the territory. It therefore remains a key seeking for Angolan decision-makers. But even in core areas of MPLA control, the writ of the state declined.

The lack of supply led to absenteeism by agricultural workers, a precipitous slump in production and retreat into subsistence farming. With the demise of the physical infrastructure, the historical limitations of Angolan political geography were reasserted. Yet the war merely deepened the historical dichotomy that the Portuguese had belatedly and all too briefly started to term.

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I am referring here to the veritable civilisational rift between the cities and long-colonised coastal regions, and the weakly governed periphery. A contributing factor to this was the character of the movement that took power inthe MPLA.

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Social prestige in MPLA society came to be associated with mastery of the Portuguese-inflected deportment, speech patterns and lifestyles of the central society Goodland distance from it ified uncouth, pre- or un-Angolan parochialism. Hemmed in by the seeking, unfamiliar with the rural world and oil-rich, the regime retreated to its strongholds, with resources almost exclusively disbursed in the urban setting for the benefit of core MPLA constituencies. Its monopoly of force applied only to the major cities.

The interior was a desolate, scorched immensity with scant administrative presence, even in areas with only intermittent rebel activity. But these structures existed to defend and consolidate the Luanda state ; they were not created or fitted for everyday territorial administration. In the meantime, Unita activity had severed the remaining long capitals from Luanda, and they were only accessible by air transport or dangerous, heavily escorted term convoys that lasted for weeks. The state had shrunk back to the archipelago of cities that had long worried colonial administrators.

Even as Unita steadily lost territorial control, the government was unable to establish rural administrative structures.

This process differs across regions with historically dissimilar relations with the centre and unequal resource endowments. In resource-rich areas such as Cabinda and the Lundas, for instance, the motivation for this effort is strongly related to their extractive potential. Addressing these gaps required considerable financial means. This enterprise also entailed human and organisational resources to build and maintain an administrative grid, which were and remain below the required levels.

Of these, the priority has been the road system, closely followed by railways. Although the quality of some stretches is uneven, the major ro linking Luanda with Malange, Huambo and Benguela have been repaired to a relatively high standard. But Angola should have fully functioning primary road and railway systems by The economic consequences, while positive, are fewer than expected, largely on of the low status of agricultural development for the government.

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It also deployed the rhetoric of inclusive nation-building. But this project was about projecting power, and in specific locations, capturing resources, rather than creating a service-delivery state. In its bid for domination, the party-state cuts deals with local powerbrokers but the overarching demand is that of obedience. After the police came the MPLA party apparatus. The stage set of stateness was in place, but the buildings were often empty and many remained so insome already degraded.

Courthouses are particularly inactive, with judges and lawyers unavailable below the provincial capital level. After the brief and electoral splurges, the central and provincial governments never provided the financial or human resources to man local institutions and they remain weak and incompetent, when they exist at all. This does not debase the status of senior provincial or municipal officials because they are the senior provincial and municipal MPLA officials as well.

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With peace, the hope of receiving MPLA support led many toincluding in traditional Unita areas. Talk of decentralisation and local government began two decades ago and culminated in the Local Administration Decree. This was officially extended to all municipalities the following year but disbursement of the second tranche was erratic. A similar process ensued for the election season, but the record remains dismal, especially when it comes to investment in local capacity.

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At the forefront of this agenda since is a respected technocrat, Bornito de Sousa. Most importantly, political decentralisation has been cautiously postponed : the regional disparities in MPLA support make it reluctant to provide rivals with locally legitimate platforms. Moonlighting this pseudo-decentralised governance one finds a party apparatus where the real power resides.

This strategy is as ambivalent as the legacy it is built on. Contrary to the British emphasis on indirect rule, which preserved or invented a regal status for indigenous leaders and often had them perform many of the quotidian tasks of imperial administration, the Portuguese afforded them little authority or social deference. As a modernizing liberation movement, the MPLA shared many Portuguese assumptions about the backwardness of traditional society, and as a vanguard party, it had no patience for other sources of authority.

This made it relatively easy for the MPLA to shift gears as it came to understand the usefulness of traditional authorities. Information that flows upwards, including intelligence about opposition activity or the presence of Congolese illegal migrants, pertains exclusively to the interests of the state rather than those of populations.

However, in most areas, the state- soba relationship is as much about the state seeking out the sobas as the sobas actively soliciting state patronage. This may well be the goal. The state resorts to the sobas and other tactically adequate means but only insofar as they allow it to expand its writ.

But rather than fossilising the countryside Goodland giving sobas real power, deference and the means for a neo-traditional space, the MPLA drastically caps their real role to dimensions it can manipulate : the cheap uniform that sobas resent is a of subservience, their meagre salaries are often long or pocketed by provincial officials, and at every turn sobas are clearly outranked by the party-state.

In fact, as in the colonial era, the state discharges substantial seekings to private organisations and individuals who fulfil tasks that the state cannot or will not perform. This includes different modalities, from private terms taking over swathes of territory to the creation of personal feuds and the lawless behaviour of security companies in diamond-rich areas. They share two characteristics.