Angola?s new government of unity and national reconciliation began work Monday, holding its first ministerial meeting.

After nearly 30 years of civil war, the unity government faces many challenges before new, democratic elections can be held. These include a broken economy and infrastructure, large numbers of displaced persons, of whom many are in poor health, many thousands of landmines and food shortages.

Another problem is the lack of training of former UNITA soldiers, who may turn to crime if they are not taught marketable skills. However, Angola is rich in oil and mineral resources, including diamonds. Mohammed El-Khawas is a professor history at the University of the District of Columbia and closely follows developments in Angola.

He spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua about the obstacles facing the government.