MAG in Angola











People in Angola have no choice but to live with the daily risk of death or injury from landmines and unexploded bombs left over from the country’s civil war. This is unacceptable.

Landmine in Angola

Landmines trap communities in poverty, by reducing access to agricultural land, water and other basic services.

Photo: Sean Sutton/MAG

The problems

Why MAG is in Angola

The  27-year civil war left Angola contaminated with up to 20 million landmines. More than a decade after the end of the conflict, mines and other deadly explosive items means that communities are still living in fear of death and injury.

Moxico, in the east, is Angola’s biggest province, but it is also one of the least developed. While Moxico has tremendous agricultural potential, people there struggle to find safe land to grow food and build houses. 

Many fled their homes during the war and, with peace restored, are continuing to return to Moxico. They have little choice where they settle and may have low awareness of the risks or how to keep themselves and their families safe. It is essential that more land is made safe in order to support their return.

How MAG is helping

MAG’s work in Angola makes a long-lasting and permanent difference. Cleared land is used to build hundreds of houses, schools and clinics. It also enables farming for subsistence, and profit and facilities projects which give communities access to safe water.

MAG’s work gives people the chance to rebuild their lives and livelihoods in safety, free from fear and danger. 

We train and employ local people as deminers, to conduct manual clearance in high priority areas in coordination with the national authorities. We also deliver mine risk education to help people keep themselves and their families as safe as possible until MAG can remove the threat.

MAG has been leading the trialling and refining of the Handheld Standoff Mine Detection System, known as HSTAMIDS. These detectors differentiate between harmless scrap metal and dangerous items, so land can be quickly and cost-effectively released back to the communities who need it the most.

Land release through non-technical survey is another way of ensuring that scarce resources can be best targeted to priority areas.

Surviving the Peace: ANGOLA

"Surviving the Peace: Angola" follows the interconnected stories of an eight-year-old landmine survivor and a former soldier turned deminer.


The recent economic crisis resulting from the 75% drop in oil prices since 2014 is having a catastrophic effect on the whole population. The Government of Angola has made successive cuts in annual budgets, including an expected 20% cut in 2016. Inflation is already up to 35% and increasing. Oil and gas and all supporting industries, previously the main economic force in the country, have reduced operations or stopped completely.

Although it used to be a net exporter of agricultural produce before the war, Angola now imports up to 80% of its food that until recently was paid for by oil dollars. This is because the civil war and the consequent deterioration of the rural economy decimated the country’s agricultural productivity. As oil revenues have reduced drastically, the impact is felt across the country.

Stark statistics show the depth of the challenges facing Angola. Almost one child in five does not survive to the age of five, 29.2% of children are stunted and 15.6% underweight. Only 28% of people have access to safe drinking water.

In this context, Angola needs to regain access to its fertile land, to increase domestic food production, to feed its own people and diversify its economy. 

Schoolchildren in Angola

Schoolchildren in Moxico, where MAG is saving lives and supporting development.

Credit: JB Russell/MAG

 In February 2016, three of the leading humanitarian demining organisations in Angola made an appeal to the international donor community – in a letter to the  Mine Action Support Group – to commit more funding to mine action in the country: Download it here