Angola - Country Commercial Guide
Market Overview
Last published date: 2022-08-05

Angola is a lower middle-income country located in southern Africa with a Gross Domestic Product of US$74 billion, a population of 33 million and a per capita income estimate of US$ 3,300 by end of 2022.   It is the sixth largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa. 

Angola’s economy is overwhelmingly driven by its oil sector. Oil production and its supporting activities contribute about 50 percent of GDP, more than 70percent of government revenue, and more than a 90percent of the country’s exports. Angola is an Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) member and subject to its direction regarding oil production levels. Its oil production output is around 1.16 million barrels per day (bpd). Angola’s oil production surpassed that of Nigeria (1.02 million bpd in May), making it the largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa, despite showing declines itself from 1.18 million barrels per day.[1]  The country also holds significant proven gas reserves and extensive mineral resources. Diamonds represent 5 percent of exports. Subsistence agriculture provides the main livelihood for most of the people, but half of the country’s food is still imported.

The economy of Angola expanded by 2.6% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2022 and is expected to expand by 2.9 percent during 2022, following five years of consecutive negative economic growth since 2016. In 2021 Angola exited its recession by registering a 0.7 percent economic growth. The transport sector grew the most (31.3percent), especially the airline industry, as a result of the increase in flight frequencies with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions and the entry into operation of new companies. Additionally, the oil sector expanded by 1.9percent in the first quarter, for the first time since 2016, amid higher oil prices and strengthening demand. On the other hand, diamonds & other minerals extraction registered the biggest drop, with a contraction of 28.3percent. Other projections forecast Angola’s real GDP  increasing to 3.97percent per year from 2023 to 2025.

Major international oil production companies active in Angola include:  Chevron, ExxonMobil, BP, and Total.  Angolan exports to the U.S. consist primarily of petroleum, with modest shipments of diamonds and wood.  Given the country’s stated focus on diversifying its economy and building domestic production capacity, medium-term potential for U.S. companies exists in agriculture, industry, mineral exploration and key infrastructure such as energy, water and transportation.

Total Angolan imports in 2021 are estimated at US$ 11.8 billion.  U.S. exports to Angola decreased from US$ 470 million in 2020 to US$ 449 million in 2021.  Angola remains the United States’ third largest export market in sub-Saharan Africa.  Food products, machinery, and chemical products were the main categories of U.S. exports to Angola in 2021.  Leading countries supplying Angola’s imports in 2019 were China (24 percent), Portugal, India, Togo, Brazil, United Kingdom and the United States. [2]

Angola exported US$ 33.7 billion to world markets in 2021, an increase in value of 60 percent from 2021, largely due to a sharp increase in oil prices following decreased demand and lower  prices due to COVID-19 in 2020. [3]

 Angola achieved its independence from Portugal in 1975, then immediately entered into a civil war that ended in 2002.  The country held its second Presidential election on August 23, 2017 electing Joao Lourenço from the Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) party as the President of Angola.  He was preceded by former President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, also a member of the MPLA, who had held power since 1979. The election represented a stable democratic transition.  Angola is designated as one of the United States’ three strategic partners in sub-Saharan Africa, along with Nigeria and South Africa. General elections for the 2022-2026 legislative period are scheduled for August 24, 2022 to elect the President and National Assembly.  The incumbent president, João Lourenço, is eligible for one more term.

Leading reasons to consider the Angolan market for U.S. export expansion include:

  • Angola represents a large market, with a population of 33 million and a GDP of US$ 74 billion. It is the sixth largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa, so it is a logical next market for U.S. companies active in other countries in the region.
  • Angola is currently experiencing an economic recovery following a significant recession and has increased purchasing power and exports due to the oil sector’s recovery.
  • Angola imports most products due to its very low capacity to produce locally.  While an effort is underway to build domestic production capacities, it will require many years and depend on international suppliers of key inputs for infrastructure, manufacturing and agricultural development, thus driving demand for imports.
  • Angolan government and industry leaders exhibit strong interest in the United States.   Angolan private companies are eager to engage directly with U.S. companies and gain exposure to U.S. equipment, technologies and solutions related to priority economic sectors.
  • The U.S. Commercial Service, at the U.S. Embassy in Angola is available to assist U.S. companies understand the business environment and find local partners and sales opportunities.
  • Under President Lourenco, the Government of Angola has taken steps to engage in economic reform, including privatizing State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs), prioritizing efforts to combat corruption, and increasing engagement with the U.S. government and private sector on commercial issues.
  • Angola benefits from eligibility for benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), through which it is able to export over 6,000 qualifying goods to the United States duty-free. Oil is currently the primary export from Angola to the United States under AGOA. However, as Angola works to diversify its economy AGOA may provide opportunities in a number of sectors.

Political & Economic Environment:  State Department’s website for background on the country’s political environment.

[1] OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report for June 2022

[2] Bureau of National Affairs, 2021

[3] TPIS, International Trade Administration