Luanda - 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 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% 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% to roughly $6.1bn, 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, succesfully playing possible successors off against each other.