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Fifteen years ago I was sent on assignment to report on the banking industry in Angola for the Financial Times group. It was a few years after the civil war and there were promising signs that the economy was picking up.

Staying in the only business hotel in Luanda at the time, I defied the exhortations that guests not go out onto the streets unaccompanied and went walking one evening. A few blocks up the road, assaulted by the smells of sewage intermingled with cement I came across an oasis. Light music was emanating from behind verdant foliage alongside the street. Peering through the entrance I saw a bamboo-constructed bar with a few people sitting at it and wandered in...

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