One of the first positive spin-offs for Angola of the December peace accord has been international support for a rehabilitation of the Benguela railway. Work on the 1,000-mile line is a pet project of the Southern African Development Coordination Conference, which aims to ease the region's economic dependence on South Africa. The Benguela line is southern Africa's only link - aside from South Africa - to the west coast.

After a meeting in Luanda last month, 30 donors indicated support - in principle - for nearly $95 million worth of projects. Promises of money this time, said a European delegate, ``are, in the first place, a political statement of our support for Angola's efforts to achieve peace. The rest will follow.''

The meeting included officials of the World Bank and the US Agency for International Development. According to Harare-based USAID official, though the US does not aid Angola for political reasons, ``that might change, since it is a time of change in the region.''

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