The Angolan economy emerged from five straight years of recession with slight GDP growth of 0.7 percent in 2021, thanks primarily to growth in the non-oil sector. The government forecasts more substantial growth of 2.4 percent in 2022. The oil and gas sector remains the key source of government revenue despite declining oil production and the government should benefit from higher than budgeted oil prices in 2022. The growth in non-oil sectors such as manufacturing, agriculture, transportation will be bolstered by increased demand from the lifting of COVID restrictions in late 2021 and early 2022.
The Angolan government has maintained a reform agenda since the 2017 election of President Joao Lourenço. His administration has adopted measures to improve the business environment and make Angola more attractive for investment. Angola completed the IMF’s Extended Fund Facility in December 2021, demonstrating an ability to commit to and carry out difficult fiscal and macroeconomic reforms, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The government received three credit rating upgrades between September 2021 and early 2022.
In addition to the Privatization Program (PROPRIV), revision of the Private Investment Law, and updated Public Procurement law, the government has taken steps to recover misappropriated state assets – the Attorney General’s Office claims just under $13 billion since 2018 – and to uproot corruption. Through the Private Investment and Export Promotion Agency (AIPEX), Angola seeks to connect foreign investors with opportunities across the private sector, with PROPRIV, and a wide range of available state-owned enterprises and other assets. The public procurement process has also become more transparent. Angola plans to present its candidacy to join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative in 2022 to increase transparency in the oil, gas, and mineral resource sectors.
Despite the government’s efforts to address corruption, its prevalence remains a key issue of concern for investors. Angola’s infrastructure requires substantial improvement; which the government is seeking to address by attracting investment public-private partnerships to improve and manage of ports, railroads, and key energy infrastructure. The justice system and other administrative processes remains bureaucratic and time-consuming. Unemployment (32.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2021) and inflation (which reached 27 percent in 2021) remain high. There is limited technical training, English-speaking skills are generally low. Skilled labor levels are also low, though the government has attempted to address the issue through training and apprenticeship programs.
Overall FDI increased by $2.59 billion in 2020, the last full year of reporting, from 2019.
The government has committed to reaching 70 percent installed renewable energy by 2025 and has recognized the risks of climate change for Angola. To reach its renewable energy goal, the government has signed deals with U.S. companies on the installation of solar and hydro capacity worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
|TI Corruption Perceptions Index||2021||136 of 180||http://www.transparency.org/research/cpi/overview|
|Global Innovation Index||2021||132 of 132||https://www.globalinnovationindex.org/analysis-indicator|
|U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, historical stock positions)||2020||$-578 million||https://apps.bea.gov/international/factsheet/|
|World Bank GNI per capita||2020||$2140||https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GNP.PCAP.CD|
1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment
3. Legal Regime
4. Industrial Policies
5. Protection of Property Rights
6. Financial Sector
7. State-Owned Enterprises
There are currently 81 public enterprises listed on the State Institute of Asset and Shares Management website; 70 are wholly owned by the state, 8 with majority-ownership for the state and 3 with minority stakes for the government. A list of all of Angola’s SOEs can be found at the following link: . Based on the IMF definition of government owning at least 50 percent equity and revenue being greater than 1 percent of GDP, SONANGOL, the state oil company, and Sodiam, the state diamond company qualify as SOEs.
There is no law mandating preferential treatment to SOEs, but in practice they have access to inside information and credit. Currently, SOEs are not subject to budgetary constraints and quite often exceed their capital limits. All SOEs in Angola are required to have boards of directors, and most board members are affiliated with the government.
Other public enterprises operate in the agribusiness, oil and gas, financial services, and construction sectors as well as others.
The GRA considers SOE debt as indirect public debt, and only accounts in its state budget for direct government debt, thus effectively not reflecting some substantial obligations in fact owed by the government. President Lourenço has launched various reforms to improve financial sector transparency, enhance efficiency in the country’s SOEs as part of the National Development plan 2018-2022 and Macroeconomic Stability Plan
Angola is not a party to the WTO’s Government Procurement Agreement (GPA). Angola does not adhere to the OECD guidelines on corporate governance for SOEs.
8. Responsible Business Conduct
There is a general awareness of expectations of or standards for responsible business conduct (RBC) or obligation to conduct due diligence to ensure no harm with regards to environment, social and governance issues. Projects that could have an impact on the environment are subject to an environmental impact assessment (EIA) depending on their nature, size or location, on a case-by-case basis. Presidential Decree No 117/20 of April 22, 2021 establishes the:
- Rules and procedures for EIAs for public and private projects.
- Environmental licensing procedure for activities that are likely to cause significant environmental and social impacts.
- Applicable fees.
- Fines for non-compliance.
The government has few initiatives to promote responsible business conduct. In March 2019, the UNDP launched the National Network of Corporate Social Responsibility, “RARSE,” to create a platform to reconcile responsible business conduct with the needs of the population. The government, through the Ministry of Education, also held a campaign under the theme, “Countries that have a good education, that enforce laws, condemn corruption, privilege and practice citizenship, have as a consequence successful social and economic development” in 2020.
The government has enacted laws to prevent labor by children under 14 and forced labor, although resource limitations hinder adequate enforcement. In June 2018, the government passed a National Action Plan for the Eradication of Child Labor (PANETI) (2018-2022) to eradicate the worst forms of child labor. This plan was updated on March 17, 2022 and is implemented by the Multisectoral Commission for the Prevention and Eradication of Child Labor. The National Plan aims to eliminate child labor in Angola, by creating strategies, prevention policies, a favorable environment for the harmonious development of children, and creating institutional capacity to solve the problem of worst forms of child labor in the country.
With limitations, the laws protect the rights to form unions, collectively bargain, and strike. Government interference in some strikes has been reported. The Ministry of Public Administration, Employment, and Social Security has a hotline for workers who believe their rights have been infringed. Angola’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry established the Principles of Ethical Business in Angola.
The GRA does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons but is made significant efforts to do so, especially considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its anti-trafficking capacity. Those efforts led to Angola remain on Tier 2 in 2021. Some of the efforts taken by Angolan authorities include convicting multiple traffickers, including five complicit officials, and sentencing all to imprisonment; offering long-term protective services that incentivized victims to participate in trials against their traffickers; dedicating funds specifically for anti-trafficking efforts, including for implementation of the national action plan; and conducting public awareness campaigns against trafficking.
In 2015, Angola organized an interagency technical working group to explore Angola’s possible membership in the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPs) and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). Angola formally announced its intention to join the EITI in September 2020 and in November 2021 announced its intention to formally present its candidacy in March 2022. Angola has been a member of the Kimberley Process (KP) since 2003 and chaired the KP in 2015. Angola is not a party to the WTO’s GPA and does not adhere to the OECD guidelines on corporate for SOEs.
Corruption remains a strong impediment to doing business in Angola and has had a corrosive impact on international market investment opportunities and on the broader business climate. The Lourenço administration has developed a comprehensive anti-corruption and anti-money laundering legal framework, but implementation remains a challenge. Angola has made several arrests of former officials and family members of the former president who were accused of embezzling state funds and has made a concerted effort to recover assets it accuses those individuals of stealing.
Some of the recent anti-corruption legislation includes:
- The revised Criminal Law Code and Criminal Procedure Code, which both entered into force in February 2021: The updated laws include corporate criminal liability; harsh penalties for active and passive corruption by public officials, their family members, and political parties; criminalization of private sector corruption; and seizure of proceeds.
- The updated Public Procurement Law, which entered into force on December 23, 2020, emphasizes the management of potential conflicts of interest in awarding public contracts, including the requirement for foreign investors to have a local partner, which historically made procurement ripe for bribery and kickbacks.
- The Whistleblower Protection Law, which came into force on January 1, 2020, provides a protection system – including anonymity – for victims, witnesses, and the accused during judicial proceedings that involve corruption and/or money laundering allegations.
The government does not require the private sector to establish internal codes of conduct and does not provide a mechanism for reporting irregularities related to public officials.
U.S. firms in Angola are aware of cases of corruption in Angola despite efforts to combat the phenomenon and view it as a significant impediment to FDI. Corruption in Angola is pervasive in public institutions, government procurement customs and taxation. Foreign investors seeking to do business in Angola must remain mindful of the corruption risks and the extraterritorial reach of the U.S. FCPA.
10. Political and Security Environment
Angola maintains a stable political environment, though demonstrations and workers strikes occur with regularity, particularly in the last two years due to increased socio-economic difficulty. Politically motivated violence is not a high risk, and incidents are rare. The Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda—Military Position (FLEC MP) based in the northern province of Cabinda threatened Chinese workers in Cabinda in 2015 and claimed in 2016 that they would return to active armed struggle against the Angolan government forces. No attacks have since ensued and the FLEC has remained relatively inactive to date.
Local elections were anticipated to take place in 2020 but have not yet occurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the lack of key legislation governing the elections. General elections are scheduled to occur in August 2022. Young people take to the streets occasionally to protest economic hardship and what they view as unrealized political pledges. Large pockets of the population live in poverty without adequate access to basic services. Crimes of opportunity such as muggings, robberies and car-jackings occur across the country.
11. Labor Policies and Practices
In the fourth quarter of 2021, the unemployment rate for economically active Angolans 15 years and older – who represent half of Angola’s 33 million people – was 32.9 percent. The labor market in Angola is largely characterized by high unemployment and a high level of informality. There is also a deficit of skilled and well-trained labor, especially in the industrial sector due to the low level of vocational training. The foreign/migrant labor force bridges the gap in specialized labor. The Angolan labor force also has limited technical skills, English language capabilities, and management training.
Companies in the construction and manufacturing sectors are significant sources of formal and informal mechanisms for workers to acquire skills and abilities particularly relevant to public and private construction works and manufacturing industry.
In the fourth quarter of 2021, the economically active population in Angola age 15 years and older was estimated to be approximately 16.2 million people (48.3 percent male and 51.7 female). Over 80 percent of the employed population in Angola was estimated to work in the informal sector as of the fourth quarter of 2021, equal to around 8.8 million people out of the 10.9 million people 15 years of age and older and employed in the same period. Informal employment was highest among Angolans aged 15-24 years and 65 years or older – reaching over 90 percent. The unemployment rate for women was also 90 percent for women and 71.5 percent for men.
There are gaps in compliance with international labor standards which may pose a reputational risk to investors. Children are sometimes employed in agriculture, construction, fishing, and coal industries. There have been reports of forced labor in agriculture, construction, artisanal diamond mining, and domestic work, each sometimes as a result of human trafficking. Additional information is available in the 2021 Trafficking in Persons Report, (https://www.state.gov/reports/2021-trafficking-in-persons-report/angola/), 2020 Country Report on Human Rights Practices (https://www.state.gov/reports/2021-country-reports-on-human-rights-practices/angola/), and 2020 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor.
The General Labor Law 7 of September 15, 2015, governs all aspects of the employment relationship and provides guidelines on employment adjustments to respond to fluctuations in market or economic conditions. The law differentiates between layoffs and firing. However, there are unemployment insurance mechanisms in place or social safety net programs for workers laid off for economic reasons. All forms of termination must rely on Social Security contributions along the years of employment in due course as the benefits are not readily available at termination but only when the beneficiaries reach retirement age or become physically impaired to maintain employment status.
All employers and unions may enter into collective bargaining agreements under the Law on the Right to Collective Bargaining (20-A/92). Where there is no union representation, the employees may set up an ad hoc commission aimed at negotiating and concluding a collective bargaining agreement with the employer, subject to complex requirements. If more than one union represents an employer’s employees, the unions must set up a joint negotiation committee composed of representatives from each union in the same proportion as the employees are represented.
The negotiation process for a collective bargaining agreement must be finalized within 90 days of the employer receiving the union/employees’ initial proposal. If this process is unsuccessful, the Law on the Right to Collective Bargaining provides for alternative dispute resolution mechanisms to resolve collective labor conflicts – notably conciliation, mediation and arbitration. Unions/employees may call a strike if the negotiations are deadlocked when the deadline for reaching an agreement passes.
A collective bargaining agreement requires all the parties to maintain social peace while it is in force, rendering illegal any strike action or collective labor conflict during that period. Once the effective period has elapsed, the agreement shall continue to bind the parties until it is replaced by a new or amended collective bargaining agreement. Collective labor disputes are to be settled through compulsory arbitration by the Ministry of Labor, Public Administration and Social Security. The law does not prohibit employer retribution against strikers, but it does authorize the government to force workers back to work for “breaches of worker discipline” or participation in unauthorized strikes. The law prohibits anti-union discrimination and stipulates that worker complaints be adjudicated in the labor court. Under the law, employers are required to reinstate workers who have been dismissed for union activities.
14. Contact for More Information
United States Embassy Luanda
+244 222 641 000