Economy of Angola

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Economy of Angola
Marginal Avenida 4 de Fevreiro Luanda March 2013 14.JPG
Luanda is the financial center of Angola
Currency Angolan kwanza (AOA)
Calendar Year
Trade organisations
AU, African Development Bank, SADC, World Bank, IMF, WTO, Group of 77, OPEC
GDP Increase $130.4 billion (PPP) (2012 est.)
Rank: 66 (2012 est.)
GDP growth
Increase 8.4% (2012 est.)
GDP per capita
$6,500 (PPP) (2012 est.)
Rank: 144 (2012 est.)
GDP by sector
agriculture 10.2%
industry 61.4%
services 28.4% (2011 est.)
Decrease 8.8% (2013)
Population below poverty line
40.5% (2006 est.)
Labour force
8.468 million (2012 est.)
Labour force by occupation
agriculture 85%
industry and services 15% (2003 est.)
Unemployment N/A
Main industries
petroleum, uranium, diamonds, gold, bauxite, iron ore, phosphates, feldspar, metal products, fish processing, food processing, brewing, tobacco products, sugar, textiles, commercial ship repair
Exports Increase $69.26 billion (2012 est.)
Export goods
crude oil, petroleum products, diamonds, fish, fish products, coffee, sisal, cotton, lumber
Main export partners
 China 45.8%
 United States 13.7%
 India 11.0%
 South Africa 4.1% (2012 est.)[2]
Imports Increase $22.86 billion (2012 est.)
Import goods
machinery, electrical equipment, vehicles and spare parts, military technology, medicines, textiles, food
Main import partners
 China 20.8%
 Portugal 19.5%
 United States 7.7%
 South Africa 7.1%
 Brazil 5.9% (2012 est.)[3]
FDI stock
Increase $17.15 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Increase $21.78 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Public finances
Decrease 16.2% of GDP (2012 est.)
Increase 5.9% of GDP (2012 est.)
Revenues $51.24 billion (2012 est.)
Expenses $44.23 billion (2012 est.)
Economic aid $383.5 million (1999 est.)
Foreign reserves
Increase $33.41 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

The Economy of Angola is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world,[4] with reported annual average GDP growth of 11.1 percent for the period from 2001 to 2010.[5] It is still recovering from the Angolan Civil War that plagued the country from independence in 1975 until 2002. Despite extensive oil and gas resources, diamonds, hydroelectric potential, and rich agricultural land, Angola remains poor, and a third of the population relies on subsistence agriculture. Since 2002, when the 27-year civil war ended, the nation has worked to repair and improve ravaged infrastructure and weakened political and social institutions. High international oil prices and rising oil production have contributed to the very strong economic growth since 1998,[6] but corruption and public-sector mismanagement remain, particularly in the oil sector, which accounts for over 50 percent of GDP, over 90 percent of export revenue, and over 80 percent of government revenue.


The Portuguese explorer Diogo Cão reached the Angolan coast in 1484,[7] after which Portugal began to found trading posts and forts along the shore. Paulo Dias de Novais founded Sāo Paulo de Loanda (Luanda) in 1575. São Felipe de Benguella (Benguela) followed in 1587.

The principal early trade was in slaves. Portuguese merchants purchased the slaves from the local Imbangala and Mbundu peoples, notable slave hunters, and sold them to the sugar plantations in Brazil. Brazilian ships were frequent visitors to Luanda and Benguela and Angola functioned as a kind of colony of Brazil, with Brazilian Jesuits active in its religious and educational centers.

The Portuguese Empire was neglected during the period of the Iberian Union, which lasted from 1580 to 1640. The Dutch, bitter enemies of their former masters in Spain, invaded many Portuguese overseas possessions. During Portugal's separatist war against Spain, the Dutch occupied Luanda as "Fort Aardenburgh" from 1640 to 1648. They used the territory to supply their own slaves to the sugarcane plantations of Northeastern Brazil (Pernambuco, Olinda, Recife), which they had also seized from Portugal. John Maurice, Prince of Nassau-Siegen, conquered the Portuguese possessions of Saint George del Mina, Saint Thomas, and Luanda, Angola, on the west coast of Africa. Portugal recovered the territory from 1648 to 1650.

In the high plains, the Planalto, the most important native states were Bié and Bailundo, the latter being noted for its production of foodstuffs and rubber. Portugal expanded into their territory,[when?] but did not control much of the interior prior to the late 19th century.[7]

The Portuguese started to develop townships, trading posts, logging camps and small processing factories. From 1764 onwards,[citation needed] there was a gradual change from a slave-based society to one based on production for domestic consumption and export. Following the independence of Brazil in 1822, the slave trade was formally abolished in 1836 (although it continued locally into the 20th century). In 1844, Angola's ports were opened to foreign shipping. By 1850, Luanda was one of the greatest and most developed Portuguese cities in the vast Portuguese Empire outside Mainland Portugal,[citation needed] full of trading companies,[citation needed] exporting peanut oil,[citation needed] copal,[citation needed] timber,[citation needed] and cocoa.[citation needed] The principal exports of the post-slave economy in the 19th century were rubber, beeswax, and ivory.[7] Maize, tobacco, dried meat and cassava flour also began to be produced locally.[citation needed] Prior to the First World War, exportation of coffee, palm kernels and oil, cattle, leather and hides, and salt fish joined the principal exports, with small quantities of gold and cotton also being produced.[8] Grains, sugar, and rum were also produced for local consumption.[8] The principal imports were foodstuffs, cotton goods, hardware, and British coal.[8] Legislation against foreign traders was implemented in the 1890s. The territory's prosperity, however, continued to depend on plantations worked by labor "indentured" from the interior.[8]

From the 1920s to the 1960s, strong economic growth, abundant natural resources and development of infrastructure, led to the arrival of even more Portuguese settlers.[citation needed] Petroleum was known to exist from the mid-19th century,[7] but modern exploitation began in 1955. Production began in the Cuanza basin in the 1950s, in the Congo basin in the 1960s, and in the exclave of Cabinda in 1968. The Portuguese government granted operating rights for Block Zero to the Cabinda Gulf Oil Company, a subsidiary of ChevronTexaco, in 1955.[9] Oil production surpassed the exportation of coffee as Angola's largest export in 1973.

Angolan oil production rates
Year thousand barrels per day thousand cubic metres per day
1974 172 27
1991 490 78
1995[10] 635 101
2001[4] 800 127
2006[11] 1,460 232

A leftist military-led coup d'état, started on April 25, 1974, in Lisbon, overthrew the Marcelo Caetano government in Portugal, and promised to hand over power to an independent Angolan government. Mobutu Sese Seko, the President of Zaire, met with António de Spínola, the transitional President of Portugal, on September 15, 1974 on Sal island in Cape Verde, crafting a plan to empower Holden Roberto of the National Liberation Front of Angola, Jonas Savimbi of UNITA, and Daniel Chipenda of the MPLA's eastern faction at the expense of MPLA leader Agostinho Neto while retaining the façade of national unity. Mobutu and Spínola wanted to present Chipenda as the MPLA head, Mobutu particularly preferring Chipenda over Neto because Chipenda supported autonomy for Cabinda. The Angolan exclave has immense petroleum reserves estimated at around 300 million tons (~300×109 kg) which Zaire, and thus the Mobutu government, depended on for economic survival.[12] After independence thousands of white Portuguese left, most of them to Portugal and many travelling overland to South Africa. There was an immediate crisis because the indigenous African population lacked the skills and knowledge needed to run the country and maintain its well-developed infrastructure.

The Angolan government created Sonangol, a state-run oil company, in 1976. Two years later Sonangol received the rights to oil exploration and production in all of Angola.[9] After independence from Portugal in 1975, Angola was ravaged by a horrific civil war between 1975 and 2002.


United Nations Angola Verification Mission III and MONUA spent USD1.5 billion overseeing implementation of the Lusaka Protocol, a 1994 peace accord that ultimately failed to end the civil war. The protocol prohibited UNITA from buying foreign arms, a provision the United Nations largely did not enforce, so both sides continued to build up their stockpile. UNITA purchased weapons in 1996 and 1997 from private sources in Albania and Bulgaria, and from Zaire, South Africa, Republic of the Congo, Zambia, Togo, and Burkina Faso. In October 1997 the UN imposed travel sanctions on UNITA leaders, but the UN waited until July 1998 to limit UNITA's exportation of diamonds and freeze UNITA bank accounts. While the U.S. government gave USD250 million to UNITA between 1986 to 1991, UNITA made USD1.72 billion between 1994 and 1999 exporting diamonds, primarily through Zaire to Europe. At the same time the Angolan government received large amounts of weapons from the governments of Belarus, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, and South Africa. While no arms shipment to the government violated the protocol, no country informed the U.N. Register on Conventional Weapons as required.[13]

Despite the increase in civil warfare in late 1998, the economy grew by an estimated 4% in 1999. The government introduced new currency denominations in 1999, including a 1 and 5 kwanza note.[citation needed]


An economic reform effort was launched in 1998.[14] Angola ranked 160 out of 174 nations in the United Nations Human Development Index of 2000.[4] In April 2000 Angola started an International Monetary Fund (IMF) Staff-Monitored Program (SMP). The program formally lapsed in June 2001, but the IMF remains engaged. In this context the Government of Angola has succeeded in unifying exchange rates and has raised fuel, electricity, and water rates. The Commercial Code, telecommunications law, and Foreign Investment Code are being modernized. A privatization effort, prepared with World Bank assistance, has begun with the BCI bank. Nevertheless, a legacy of fiscal mismanagement and corruption persists.[citation needed] The civil war internally displaced 3.8 million people, 32% of the population, by 2001.[4] The security brought about by the 2002 peace settlement has led to the resettlement of 4 million displaced persons, thus resulting in large-scale increases in agriculture production.[citation needed]

Angola produced over 3 million carats (600 kilograms) of diamonds per year in 2003,[15] and production was expected to grow to 10 million carats (2,000 kilograms) per year by 2007. In 2004 China's Eximbank approved a $2 billion line of credit to Angola to rebuild infrastructure.[16] The economy grew 18% in 2005 and growth was expected to reach 26% in 2006 and stay above 10% for the rest of the decade.[citation needed]

The construction industry is another sector taking advantage of the growing economy, with various housing projects stimulated by the government that created various initiatives for this. Examples are the program Angola Investe and the projects Casa Feliz or Meña. However, not all public construction projects are functional; a case in point is Kilamba Kiaxi where a whole new satellite town of Luanda, consisting in the main of housing facilities for several hundreds of thousands of people, was completely inhibited for over four years because of the skyrocket prices but it completely sold out after the government decreased the original price and created mortgage plans at around the election time thus made it affordable for middle-class people. ChevronTexaco started pumping 50 kbbl/d (7.9×10^3 m3/d) from Block 14 in January 2000, but production has decreased to 57 kbbl/d (9.1×10^3 m3/d) in 2007 due to the poor quality of the oil.[9] Angola joined the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries on January 1, 2007.[9]

Cabinda Gulf Oil Company found Malange-1, an oil reservoir in Block 14, on August 9, 2007.[17]


National GDP per capita ranges from wealthier states in the north and south to poorer states in the east. These figures from the 2002 World Bank are converted to US dollars.

Despite its abundant natural resources, output per capita is among the world's lowest. Subsistence agriculture provides the main livelihood for 85% of the population. Oil production and the supporting activities are vital to the economy, contributing about 45% to GDP and 90% of exports. Growth is almost entirely driven by rising oil production which surpassed 1.4 million barrels per day (220×10^3 m3/d) in late-2005 and which is expected to grow to 2 million barrels per day (320×10^3 m3/d) by 2007. Control of the oil industry is consolidated in Sonangol Group, a conglomerate which is owned by the Angolan government. With revenues booming from oil exports, the government has started to implement ambitious development programs in building roads and other basic infrastructure for the nation.[citation needed]

In the last decade of the colonial period, Angola was a major African food exporter but now imports almost all its food. Because of severe wartime conditions, including extensive planting of landmines throughout the countryside, agricultural activities have been brought to a near standstill. Some efforts to recover have gone forward, however, notably in fisheries. Coffee production, though a fraction of its pre-1975 level, is sufficient for domestic needs and some exports. In sharp contrast to a bleak picture of devastation and bare subsistence is expanding oil production, now almost half of GDP and 90% of exports, at 800 thousand barrels per day (130×10^3 m3/d). Diamonds provided much of the revenue for Jonas Savimbi's UNITA rebellion through illicit trade. Other rich resources await development: gold, forest products, fisheries, iron ore, coffee, and fruits.[citation needed]

This is a chart of trend of nominal gross domestic product of Angola at market prices using International Monetary Fund data;[18] figures are in millions of units.

Year Gross Domestic Product (*$1,000,000) US Dollar Exchange Per Capita Income
(as % of USA)
1980 6.33
1985 4.46
1990 4.42
1995 5,066 14 Angolan Kwanza 1.58
2000 9,135 91,666 Angolan Kwanza 1.96
2005 28,860 2,515,452 Angolan Kwanza 4.73

Foreign trade

Exports in 2004 reached US$10,530,764,911. The vast majority of Angola's exports, 92% in 2004, are petroleum products. US$785 million worth of diamonds, 7.5% of exports, were sold abroad that year.[19] Nearly all of Angola's oil goes to the United States, 526 kbbl/d (83.6×10^3 m3/d) in 2006, making it the eighth largest supplier of oil to the United States, and to China, 477 kbbl/d (75.8×10^3 m3/d) in 2006. In the first quarter of 2008, Angola became the main exporter of oil to China.[20] The rest of its petroleum exports go to Europe and Latin America.[9] U.S. companies account for more than half the investment in Angola, with Chevron-Texaco leading the way. The U.S. exports industrial goods and services, primarily oilfield equipment, mining equipment, chemicals, aircraft, and food, to Angola, while principally importing petroleum.[citation needed] Trade between Angola and South Africa exceeded USD 300 million in 2007.[21] From the 2000s many Chinese have settled and started up businesses.[22]



Angolan exports in 2009

Angola produces and exports more petroleum than any other nation in sub-Saharan Africa, surpassing Nigeria in the 2000s. In January 2007 Angola became a member of OPEC. By 2010 production is expected to double the 2006 output level with development of deep-water offshore oil fields. Oil sales generated USD 1.71 billion in tax revenue in 2004 and now makes up 80% of the government's budget, a 5% increase from 2003, and 45% of GDP.[11][23]

Chevron Corporation produces and receives 400 kbbl/d (64×10^3 m3/d), 27% of Angolan oil. Total S.A., Chevron Corporation, ExxonMobil, Eni, Petrobras, and BP also operate in the country.[10]

Block Zero provides the majority of Angola's crude oil production[24] with 370 kbbl/d (59×10^3 m3/d) produced annually. The largest fields in Block Zero are Takula (Area A), Numbi (Area A), and Kokongo (Area B). Chevron operates in Block Zero with a 39.2% share. SONANGOL, the state oil company, Total, and Eni own the rest of the block. Chevron also operates Angola's first producing deepwater section, Block 14, with 57 kbbl/d (9.1×10^3 m3/d).[9]

The United Nations has criticized the Angolan government for using torture, rape, summary executions, arbitrary detention, and disappearances, actions which Angolan government has justified on the need to maintain oil output.[25]

Angola is the third-largest trading partner of the United States in Sub-Saharan Africa, largely because of its petroleum exports.[26] The U.S. imports 7% of its oil from Angola, about three times as much as it imported from Kuwait just prior to the Gulf War in 1991. The U.S. Government has invested USD $4 billion in Angola's petroleum sector.[27]


Angola is the third largest producer of diamonds in Africa and has only explored 40% of the diamond-rich territory within the country, but has had difficulty in attracting foreign investment because of corruption, human rights violations, and diamond smuggling.[28] Production rose by 30% in 2006 and Endiama, the national diamond company of Angola, expects production to increase by 8% in 2007 to 10 million carats annually. The government is trying to attract foreign companies to the provinces of Bié, Malanje and Uíge.[29]

The Angolan government loses $375 million annually from diamond smuggling. In 2003 the government began Operation Brilliant, an anti-smuggling investigation that arrested and deported 250,000 smugglers between 2003 and 2006. Rafael Marques, a journalist and human rights activist, described the diamond industry in his 2006 Angola's Deadly Diamonds report as plagued by "murders, beatings, arbitrary detentions and other human rights violations." Marques called on foreign countries to boycott Angola's "conflict diamonds".[30]
In December 2014, the Bureau of International Labor Affairs issued a List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor[31] that classified Angola as one of the major diamond producing African countries relying on both child labor and forced labor. The U.S. Department of Labor reported that "there is little publicly available information on [Angola's] efforts to enforce child labor law".[32]


Under Portuguese rule, Angola began mining iron in 1957, producing 1.2 million tons in 1967 and 6.2 million tons by 1971. In the early 1970s, 70% of Portuguese Angola's iron exports went to Western Europe and Japan.[29] After independence in 1975, the Angolan Civil War (1975–2002) destroyed most of the territory's mining infrastructure. The redevelopment of the Angolan mining industry started in the late 2000s.

See also

Further reading

  • McCormick, Shawn H. The Angolan Economy: Prospects for Growth in a Postwar Environment, 1994.
  • OECD, International Energy Agency. Angola: Towards an Energy Strategy, 2006.
  • Making Finance Work for Africa (MFW4A): Angola Financial Sector Profile,[33]


  1. "Doing Business in Angola 2012". World Bank. Retrieved November 18, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Export Partners of Angola". CIA World Factbook. 2012. Retrieved July 27, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Import Partners of Angola". CIA World Factbook. 2012. Retrieved July 27, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Birgitte Refslund Sørensen and Marc Vincent. Caught Between Borders: Response Strategies of the Internally Displaced, 2001. Page 17.
  5. Graphic detail Charts, maps and infographics (January 6, 2011). "Daily chart: Africa's impressive growth". The Economist. Retrieved July 13, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Google Public Data. Retrieved 2013-8-14.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 EB (1878).
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 EB (1911).
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 "Angola" (PDF). Energy Information Administration.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. 10.0 10.1 Tvedten, Inge. Angola: Struggle for Peace and Reconstruction, 1997. Page 82.
  11. 11.0 11.1 OECD, International Energy Agency. Angola: towards an energy strategy, 2006. Page 19.
  12. Erik P. Hoffmann and Frederic J. Fleron. The Conduct of Soviet Foreign Policy, 1980. Page 524.
  13. Vines, Alex. Angola Unravels: The Rise and Fall of the Lusaka Peace Process, 1999. Human Rights Watch.
  14. "Angola." U.S. Department of State Website. Retrieved 2013-8-14.
  15. "Diamond Mining in Africa - Overview". March 31, 2014. Retrieved July 13, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. [1] Archived August 5, 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  17. "Chevron Finds Success on Angolan Block 14, Again". Rigzone. August 9, 2007. Retrieved July 13, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "Report for Selected Countries and Subjects". April 29, 2003. Retrieved July 13, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "afrol News - 99.4% of Angola's exports are oil, diamonds". Retrieved July 13, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. Zhu, Winnie (April 21, 2008). "Angola Overtakes Saudi Arabia as Biggest Oil Supplier to China". Bloomberg. Retrieved July 13, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. [2] Archived December 28, 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  22. Rowlatt, Justin (October 2, 2010). "Chinese karaoke fans sing Angola's praises". BBC News. Retrieved July 13, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. OECD (2006). Page 30.
  24. OECD (2006). Page 132.
  25. Omeje, Kenneth C. High Stakes And Stakeholders: Oil Conflict And Security in Nigeria, 2006. Page 157.
  26. United States Congress. Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations for 1998: Hearings, 1997. Page 269.
  27. Vines, Alex. Angola Unravels: The Rise and Fall of the Lusaka Peace Process, 1999. Human Rights Watch. Page 189.
  29. 29.0 29.1 "". February 9, 2009. Retrieved July 13, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  30. "afrol News - Angola to double diamond production in 2006". Retrieved July 13, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  31. List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor
  32. 2013 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Angola -
  33. "Angola Financial Sector Profile: MFW4A - Making Finance Work for Africa". MFW4A. Retrieved July 13, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • [ "Angola" ] Check |ws link in chapter= value (help), Encyclopædia Britannica, 9th ed., Vol. II, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1878, p. 45<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>.
  • [ "Angola" ] Check |ws link in chapter= value (help), Encyclopædia Britannica, 11th ed., Vol. II, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1911, pp. 38–40<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>.

External links