Rich in diamonds, yet abundant in poverty, the Lunda provinces have an almost mythical standing as the “wild east” of Angola – a violent place with opportunities to get rich, thus attracting immigration from all over Africa.

Based on field work in Lunda Sul, Mathias de Alencastro looks at Angola’s state-building efforts in this diamond-rich province. After the long civil war, the diamond business was known to be operated first and foremost by private interests that left little wealth for ordinary people in the province. With the post-war foci on reconstruction, state building and economic diversification one would expect improvements. Mathias de Alencastro suggests that paradoxically, state-building efforts in a diamond-rich province have fortified, rather than weakened, the authority and power of non-state actors in provincial administration. What are the prospects for a more equitable distribution of Angola’s diamond wealth?

Mathias de Alencastro is a DPhil candidate in Politics, University of Oxford.