Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos said Friday that he will not seek re-election this year, marking an end to nearly 38 years in power.
Dos Santos told a conference of the ruling MPLA party that Defense Minister Joao Lourenco will stand as the party’s No. 1 candidate in the next election, scheduled for August.
Dos Santos, 74, had previously indicated he would step down. He has ruled Angola since September 1979, making him Africa’s second-longest serving leader, behind Teodoro Obiang of Equatorial Guinea.
Under Dos Santos’ rule, Angola reaped huge oil revenues and ended its civil war, but rights groups have criticized him for being autocratic and allowing his family to amass huge wealth.
Last month, Forbes magazine listed the president’s daughter, Isabel dos Santos, as Africa’s richest woman with a fortune of $3.2 billion.