The Spanish Flu Didn’t Wreck the Global Economy
What Is Different About the Coronavirus Pandemic?
In early 2014, Angola, sub-Saharan Africa’s second-largest oil producer and third-largest economy, was flush with cash and confidence. The economy had expanded tenfold over the previous decade, and the government, which in 2002 won a resounding victory in the country’s long civil war, was unchallenged at home, a towering presence in regional politics, and a major investor abroad, including in Portugal, the former colonial power. Its national reconstruction agenda funneled tens of billions of dollars into infrastructure and transformed Luanda into a would-be African Dubai that attracted thousands of expatriates. The rule of Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos seemed secure: the government had insulated itself from civil society groups working on human rights and governance issues, improved its relationships with business-hungry Western states, and deepened its strategic partnership with China.
What a difference a year can make. Since June 2014, oil prices have plummeted nearly 60 percent, and the dos Santos