Oil Rich Angola Seeks to Pack a Global Punch
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Angola's recent election to the UN Security Council is part of a wider bid to polish its veteran president's image and transform the fast emerging oil-rich country into a regional powerhouse.
Angola has worked hard to heal the scars of battle since the end of a bitter 27-year civil war in 2002.
By some measures the west African country has made remarkable progress.
Once a byword for brutal internecine conflict, Angola is now slated to overtake Nigeria as Africa's largest oil producer and is ranked among the fastest growing economies on this rapidly expanding continent.
President Jose Eduardo dos Santos has "invested a lot in sanitising the government's image," said Paula Roque, a senior researcher with the International Crisis Group.
"Government is trying to project Angola in a new light: not a country that has been ravaged by the war, that was an orphan of the Cold War, that had issues of conflict diamonds, oil trade, (and) arms for oil deals that were problematic," said Roque.
And the country "absolutely has the capacity to influence in a positive way peace and security issues on the continent."
Landing a spot at the UN's "top table" is just one way in which Angola is flexing its military and economic weight.
A few days before the UN vote, Luanda announced its readiness to send troops on a UN-led peacekeeping mission to the Central African Republic.
Although Angola deployed troops to Guinea Bissau to help reform the army there in 2011, it will be the first time for Luanda to deploy in a multilateral mission, AFP reported.
For years Angola steered clear of conflicts raging across the continent, from Somalia to Darfur or the Democratic Republic of Congo.