April 13, 2009 / 8:08 AM / 10 years ago

Angola sacks central bank chief:report

Angolan President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos (C) arrives at the funeral of slain President Laurent Kabila at the People's Palace in Kinshasa with an unidentified woman (L) January 23, 2001. Democratic Republic of Congo on Tuesday promised a full inquiry into the killing of President Laurent Kabila as thousands of mourners and several African leaders attended his funeral in the capital, Kinshasa. JN/FMS

LUANDA (Reuters) - Angola’s President Jose Eduardo dos Santos has dismissed central bank governor Amadeu Mauricio with immediate effect, the nation’s news agency Angop reported on Monday.

Abraao Gourgel, deputy-minister for industry, has been named as his replacement, the state-owned news agency said.

No reason was given for the sacking of Mauricio, who took up the post as governor in 2002 — the year Angola’s almost three-decade long civil war ended — and helped bring inflation down to 13 percent in 2008 from over 100 percent in 2001.

His dismissal comes as the central bank struggles to keep the nation’s currency, the kwanza, stable amid fears the global economic crisis may cause it to plunge. These fears have sparked a rush to buy dollars in recent months.

Efforts to keep the kwanza stable have weighed on the country’s foreign reserves, which have fallen to $13.96 billion from 18.9 billion at the end of 2008, according to the central bank’s website (www.bna.ao).

The kwanza has been pegged at around 75 to the U.S. dollar in recent years.

After years of double-digit growth, Angola’s economy growth is expected to slow to around 3 percent this year as demand and prices fall for its two main exports — oil and diamonds.

The African nation rivals Nigeria as the continent’s top oil producer and is the world’s fifth biggest diamond producer.

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