Business Environment: Despite its large market size and potential business opportunities, Angola is one of the most challenging business environments in the world. To be successful, significant time commitment and capital are required, and a strong, experienced local partner is highly advisable.
Moderately High Cost Location: Luanda is a moderately high cost location for expatriates and company operations. The local currency devaluation in 2023 has improved affordability of restaurants and services. Business class hotel rates have also decreased significantly and are now in line with those of most major international cities (US$ 200-350 per night). Similiarly, the cost of quality interpreters has become much more affordable at US$ 150-300 per day. Western standard housing and office space are moderately expensive, however prices have decreased due to the decline in demand, which is the result of expatriate staff downsizing in Angola by a number of international oil companies and their service providers. Angolan executive salaries are comparable to U.S. levels. Though salaries are required to be paid in local currency, many international companies tie compensation rates to an international currency.
Portuguese Language: Angolan government officials and most business executives, outside of the oil industry, require some Portuguese-English interpretation support for meetings. Product labeling, marketing materials and most technical level training must also be in Portuguese. U.S. companies can take advantage of written marketing/technical material and training expertise from operations in other Portuguese language countries, such as Portugal or Brazil, to assist their Angola market entry efforts. Many Angolans are familiar with Spanish due to the historic presence of Cubans in the country and are very open to using this as a bridge language with U.S. companies. However, distributors from other Portuguese or Spanish-speaking countries would not be effective as representatives for the Angolan market because local market expertise and in-country product servicing/training support is essential to business success in Angola.
Nascent Distribution Channels: Angola’s business infrastructure and capacity is just 20 years post-civil war, which means only a limited number of local companies are well positioned to become distributors or representatives for international companies. Many international products are sold through resale channels rather than formal representatives or distributors of international manufacturers. There is a solid and growing entrepreneurial business class in Angola, but the recent economic downturn severely stressed Angolan companies and limited their access to business credit. The U.S. Commercial Service in Angola offers services to assist U.S. companies to identify qualified Angolan business partners and to promote U.S. products and services in the market.
Access to Foreign Exchange: In the past three years, businesses have faced challenges related to the availability of foreign exchange. With the additional revenues brought in from higher oil prices, that situation has shifted and more foreign currency is available locally. The Angolan central bank introduced an electronic foreign exchange transaction platform to improve efficiency and transparency in the foreign exchange market. The BNA also removed the prerequisite for prior licensing on the transfer of capital or dividends by investors according to the BNA Notice No. 15/2019 of December 23, 2019. The regulation applies to all foreign investment, except for investment in the Petroleum sector, which is guided by specific sector regulation.