While a number of studies documents macro level effects of natural resources, much less is known about how resources such as oil affect development prospects at the micro level of local economies in African countries. This may in part reflect lack of micro data in resource rich countries. Angola is a case in point, where no comprehensive household survey is available, and the last census dates back to 1970. This paper uses data from a recent survey of 539 microcredit clients in Luanda to shed light on challenges the poor face in a resource rich country, and how resource wealth and economic exclusion can frame their existence. The results indicate that an escape from poverty is constrained by the lack of human capital (education and health), and a high cost of living. However, as a complicating factor, we find that education may give rise to particularist norms, which may undermine the development of informal and formal institutions needed to address the resource curse.