Angola has a land mass of 1,247 million km² and a coastline of 1,650km that stretches from the mouth of the Congo River in the north to the mouth of the Cunene River in the south, and is bordered by Namibia to the south and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the north. It includes the northern enclave of Cabinda.
It has a population of 34.5 million (2021) and GDP is expected to reach US$69.62bn by the end of 2023. Angola’s economy grew by 0.7% in 2021 after contracting by 5.4% in 2020.
The country was a Portuguese colony before independence in 1975, which led to a ruinous civil war from 1975 to 2002 between the ruling People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) and the rebel movement Unita, supported by the South African apartheid government and the US. Angola maintained political stability since 2002 under the corrupt administration of former president José Eduardo dos Santos, who stepped down in 2017 after 38 years in power. He was succeeded by the former minister of defence João Lourenço.
The oil sector accounts for between 35% and 45% of GDP and more than 90% of exports, with the Cabinda province on the north coast accounting for about 60% of Angola's oil production, the bulk of which comes from offshore reserves. Angola is also Africa’s third-largest diamond producer.
The Angolan National Petroleum and Gas Agency aims to increase transparency in sector management and regulation, removing conflicts of interest and developing and attracting investment. Since the new agency was set up in 2019, the state oil company Sonangol no longer holds exclusive rights for the prospecting, research and production of oil and gas.
Recently the Angolan government has introduced several reforms to liberalise the petroleum sector to encourage more oil exploration and the development of a downstream oil sector.
The liberalisation of the downstream oil and gas sector is likely to provide a number of opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses in terms of the distribution and retail of petrol and gas. Among these, there could be opportunities for small operators to run fuel stations.
Privatisation offers significant opportunities for new entrants into Angola’s oil and gas sector, with the objective of attracting foreign direct investment
The economic downturn in Angola since 2015 has affected its Budget, including the government’s stated support of economic diversification, such as agricultural production.
Angola has the natural resources to become one of Africa's leading agricultural countries, as the diverse and fertile region is suited to a variety of crops. It also has an abundance of fresh water and arable land, and international landmine clearing efforts have opened up extensive areas of land for farming.
Diversifying the economy, achieving sustainable growth, and supporting non-oil exports have become key policy goals.
Sources: Who Owns Whom sector reports, CIA Factbook, African Development Bank, World Bank, Trading Economics, African Statistical Yearbook and IMF.