Angola’s President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, the second-longest serving African leader, will step down after being in power since 1979, according to state media. The 73-year old dos Santos announced his decision to quit “active politics” on Friday at a meeting of the central committee of the ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), the Angolan news agency Angola Press reported.
“I took the decision to leave active political activity in 2018,” dos Santos said, without giving any reason for his decision. Angola, Africa’s third-largest economy, holds its next parliamentary election in 2017 and the leader of the winning party will then become president. It was not immediately clear whether dos Santos would retain his post as MPLA leader.
The southwestern African country, the continent’s second largest oil exporter after Nigeria, has been hit hard by the slump in global crude prices. Critics accuse him of mismanaging the country oil wealth and making an elite, mainly his family and political allies, vastly rich in a country ranked amongst the world’s most corrupt.