The southern Africa nation of Angola could be the latest country to join horse sport’s governing body, with an FEI delegation currently on a week-long assessment tour.
The FEI delegation, led by Group IX chairwoman Mary Binks, of Kenya, arrived in Angola on Wednesday to assess the country’s equestrian federation - Fequangola - as a requirement for its recognition as a full member.
The inspection tour is the second verification step in the affiliation process, and will be followed by a report and recommendation to the Bureau by the FEI secretarty general. If successful, Angola will be welcomed into the FEI family at the FEI’s General Assembly in December in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Fequangola secretary-general Paulo Alexandre said FEI delegates would examine the structure of equestrian sport, the organisation of equestrian centres, veterinarians and the condition of local horses during the visit.
Being affiliated with the FEI is a main priority of Angola’s equestrian federation, which was established in 2009 and chaired by José Alfredo.
Alexandre has been working for several years toward qualifying a team for the 2016 Olympics. There were 35 athletes from Angola at the London 2012 Olympics, but no equestrians.
The delegation is to visit the premises of the Mounted Police, the Equestrian Centre of the southern Huila province, the endurance project and the future riding centre in the south-west province of Namibe. The visit would conclude in the Funda locality, near Luanda, Angola’s capital.
Angola, with a population of about 20 million people, is a member of CPLP (Community of Portuguese speaking nations), with Portuguese the official language of the country.
Officially named the Republic of Angola, is a country in Southern Africa bordered by Namibia on the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the north, and Zambia on the east. Angola was founded in November, 1975, after a protracted liberation war. After independence, Angola was the scene of an intense civil war from 1975 to 2002.
The country has vast mineral and petroleum reserves, and its economy has on average grown at a double-digit pace since the 1990s, especially since the end of the civil war. Despite this, standards of living remain low for the majority of the population, and life expectancy and infant mortality rates in Angola are among the worst in the world.