What is the AON (Angolan Novo Kwanza)

Angolan Novo Kwanza (AON) was the national currency for the Republic of Angola between 1990 and 1995. The Novo Kwanza (AON) was the second issue of four Angolan national currencies. The Republic of Angola declared independence from Portugal in 1975 after the ensuing civil conflicts of the mid-1970s.

BREAKING DOWN AON (Angolan Novo Kwanza)

Before the Novo Kwanza, the country circulated the first currency of independent Angola, the first Kwanza (AOK). The AOK, introduced in January 1977, at a par value equal to 1 Angolan escudo, the currency used under Portuguese control. Initially, coins and banknotes bore the date of independence. The AOK was divisible into 100 lwei.

The second issue note came in September 1990, as the Novo Kwanza (AON) replaced the Kwanza (AOK) at par or a one to one exchange. First introduced in paper form only, the AON eliminated the subunit lwei. The 500 and 1000 AON notes feature images of the first two presidents of Angola. Antonio Agostinho Neto, also known for his poetry and Jose Eduardo dos Santos. The 500 AON note features an etching of an offshore oil rig on its reverse side.

While the change of currency was at par, the Angolan government limited the exchange to 5% of the old money into the new notes. Holders of old AOK notes had to invest the remainder of their currency directly into government securities. Many saw this mandate as a corrupt money seizure scheme by the national government.

By 1995, the government replaced the Novo with the Kwanza Reajustado (AOR) at an exchange of 1,000 to 1, further deflating the currency. 

Inflation and the End of the Novo Kwanza (AON)

Inflation took hold of the AON, and the Angolan government issued a new currency to replace the novo kwanza in July 1995. The kwanza reajustado, released without any subunit or coins, came in larger denominations to account for the devaluing of the Novo kwanza. Now, the smallest available denomination was the 1,000 kwanza reajustado note, and the largest had a value of 5 million kwanza reajustados.

Inflation continued to plague the country. In 1999, the country would again introduce a new national currency, the Second Kwanza (AOA) at an exchange rate of 1,000,000 to 1. The kwanza exchanged at a rate of 1,000,000 kwanza reajustado to one kwanza. Coins were reintroduced, with values of 50 and 100 centimos, and one, two and five kwanzas. The centimo coins have since fallen into disuse due to their devaluation.

Angola's Economy

The Republic of Angola sits on the southern coast of Africa. With independence from Portugal in 1975, the country fell under communist rule as the Marxist-Leninist People's Republic of Angola. Civil war erupted and would continue until 2002. Today the Republic is a country where all power and control lie in the central government.

The country is rich in natural resources of petroleum, gold, diamonds and other mineral reserves and the economy has increased since the end of the civil wars. Angola is the second largest oil producer in Africa, and the industry accounts for approximately 45 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product.

However, wealth is in the hands of only a small segment of the population, and the rest of the people struggle to survive. Since the end of civil war violence, Angola's economy has become one of the fastest-growing in Africa. China has become Angola's largest trading partner for exports, and imports as well. The primary export to China is oil.

According to the 2017 World Bank data, the Republic experiences a 0.7% annual gross domestic product growth and continues to fight inflation with a 31.1% annual inflation deflator. GDP growth began to contract beginning in 2015.