World Bank urges Angola to boost "very low" investment levels
* Invests 13 pct of its GDP vs region average of 24 pct
* More investment to benefit new sectors, cut oil dependence
* Government urged to spend efficiently, on key projects
LISBON, June 20 (Reuters) - Angola lags far behind its neighbours on investment levels and must spend more to rebuild infrastructure and accelerate growth in sectors outside its dominant oil industry, the World Bank said on Thursday.
President Jose Eduardo dos Santos and his MPLA party have attributed Angola's rapid economic growth since the end of a long civil war 11 years ago to a public investment drive, financed by oil revenues, which they pledged to extend in a new five-year term secured last year.
Still, the World Bank said that the country - which is Africa's No. 2 oil producer after Nigeria - trails well behind neighbours in terms of investment and that the government is in a strong position to expand expenditure.
"Among the most salient features of the Angolan economy are its very low levels of investment, both public and private," the Washington-based global development lender said in a report.
Angola's total investment rate stands at around about 13 percent of gross domestic product, "well below" the three-year average for sub-Saharan Africa of 24 percent, it added.
Acknowledging that the government has boosted investment in recent years, including a 60 percent rise planned for 2013, the World Bank said a strong fiscal position means it can spend even more in the medium term without destabilising public finances.
It also urged the southern African state to ensure new spending is done efficiently. Dos Santos has spoken frequently of improving efficiency in Angola's public spending and his government recently introduced new legislation on the matter.
Dos Santos, who has been in power for over 33 years, has long been accused by global rights groups and opposition parties of mismanaging oil revenues, avoiding public scrutiny and doing too little to fight widespread graft. Transparency International ranks Angola among the most corrupt countries in the world.
The World Bank report said Luanda had made "significant strides" in improving the transparency and accountability of public financial management, but noted that challenges remain.
The World Bank said increased, improved spending would also reduce Angola's dependence on oil revenues - which represent around 45 percent of GDP and over 95 percent of export revenues - by directing spending at other strategic sectors.
It added that it expects Angola to continue posting strong growth, predicting a GDP expansion of 7.2 percent in 2013 and 7.5 percent next year, in line with government forecasts.
(Reporting by Shrikesh Laxmidas; editing by Mark Heinrich)