Johannesburg - Long-serving Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos has replaced his powerful defence minister with the former head of the ruling party, a statement said on Wednesday.
Joao Manuel Goncalves Lourenco, former secretary general of the MPLA, will inherit control of the quick-spending ministry which, along with public order institutions, gobbled up 16 percent of Angola's oil-fuelled national budget last year.
In 2013, Angola leapfrogged South Africa to become the continent's second-largest defence spender behind Algeria, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
During the year military spending increased by 36 percent to roughly $6.1 billion, almost on par with Mexico, Indonesia, Pakistan or Sweden.
Lourenco ran the MPLA for five years until 2003, and remains a key player in the party, sitting on the 46-member politburo.
He studied history and speaks Russian.
Lourenco replaces Candido Pereira dos Santos Van-Dunem.
Dos Santos, aged 71, has ruled the energy rich southern African state for 35 years and retains a firm grip on power, successfully playing possible successors off against each other. - AFP