The right time to bet on Angola

António Henriques da Silva

Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Luanda-Bengo Special Economic Zone and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Angola’s Agency for Private Investment and Export Promotion (AIPEX) 

The Republic of Angola has always generated enormous interest from investors in all sectors all over the world. However, recently the economic changes caused by the sudden drop in oil prices and the devastating effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on world economies, many people are questioning whether the Angolan market is a safe bet to make their capital profitable and solidify their entrepreneurial endeavors. 

The answer is, undoubtedly, positive.  With the vaccination process enabling effective control of the pandemic in Angola, this is the right time to invest in the Angolan economy. Investors can also leverage the series of assets that will be privatized as it will allow national and foreign investors easier access to a vast range of economic sectors that will generate enormous profitability in the near future. This is based on several factors.

The first is the implementation of a set of economic and social reforms devised by the Executive, whose main objective is to contain the impact of the decline in oil production, mitigating the Angolan economy’s excessive dependence on this sector. Investment priorities are now being directed towards other areas, such as agriculture, agriculture, livestock, mining, energy production and water supply, as they are fundamental to achieving economic sustainability. This strategy has been generating progressive growth in the non-oil sector’s GDP and according to international rating agencies, this will lead to real growth of  2.9 per cent to the Angolan economy by 2023.

President João Lourenço’s reforms include a fight against corrupt practices that had taken root in some fringes of the public administration. The business environment is now much more transparent and facilitates investment and entrepreneurship and this has also been recognized by the IMF, international political leaders and non-governmental organizations who address this issue. This is further evident in the    Republic of Angola’s rise in the rankings of the International Transparency Index.

The disastrous effects of the pandemic have accentuated the need to diversify the Angolan economy with a more intense focus on non-oil sectors. Economic reforms became even more effective with the new Private Investment Law of 2018, which placed all investors, national and foreign, on the same level, with the same access rights to tax incentives and financial support. Even the sensitive issue of capital repatriation is safeguarded by this law, as it guarantees foreign investors the right to transfer dividends or other direct investment income abroad. And since 2020, the import of capital from foreign investors who intend to invest in Angolan companies is exempt from licensing by the Angolan central bank.

Many great investment opportunities reside in the Luanda-Bengo Special Economic Zone (ZEE), which offers various quality services, generating an excellent business environment for investors. The ZEE has modern, flexible, unbureaucratic business practices and a commitment to simplifying business approval of new public and private investment projects. 

The  ZEE’s management ensures the highest international standards and, it is without equal on the African continent. This is evident in the wide range of services on offer including, the provision of public transport to all employees, waste collection,  a reliable supply of fuel, water and electricity, and a secure connection to a state-of-the-art fiber optic network. 

With the privatization program of state assets in full development, many of which are located in the industrial perimeter of the Luanda-Bengo Special Economic Zone, the Republic of Angola has the necessary conditions to receive foreign direct investment to diversify the economy, increase domestic exports, reduce dependence on external markets and foster job creation. The ZEE  is working towards building an economy capable of sustainably developing a GDP that is not based on an excessive dependence on oil.

Yes, have no doubts. Now is the right time to invest in Angola!

António Henriques da Silva will be speaking at the 6th Annual Meeting of the African Economic Zones Organization (AEZO) on 25 November 2021, in Accra, Ghana