Angola - Methods of Payment Angola - Methods of Payment
The leading business challenge in Angola since mid-2015 has been the lack of foreign exchange in the market due to the steep decline in petroleum revenues and the resulting drop in international reserves entering the Angolan economy. The lack of availability of foreign exchange has significantly impeded imports of products to this heavily import dependent market. International and domestic companies operating in Angola face significant delays securing foreign exchange approval for remittances to cover key operational expenses, including imported goods and expatriate salaries. Profit and dividend remittances can be even more problematic for many companies. The Angolan government publicly announced prioritizing foreign exchange for essential goods and services including food, health, and petroleum industry. Many international companies report that that policy has made a significant difference in access to foreign exchange. In 2018, the Central Bank of Angola switched from direct foreign exchange allocations to auctions of foreign currency to commercial banks in efforts to normalize the commercial banking system. The foreign exchange auctions have been almost exclusively in Euros since 2016, partly driven by loss of corresponding banking privileges with U.S. banks. However, sales of dollars resumed in February 2018.
Most international companies report cancelling export credit terms to their Angolan clients due to outstanding payments on accounts resulting from foreign exchange delays. Based on these reports and U.S. companies’ experiences in Angola, the U.S. Embassy encourages U.S. exporters to structure exports to Angola on cash-in-advance terms. On June 20, 2018 the Angolan Central Bank announced that letters of credit would be the preferred financial instrument for import and export transactions and proposed that letters of credit be mandatory for all international trade transactions above 100,000 euros. However, according to some reports, letters of credit have not yet returned to widespread use.
Foreign exchange available in the Angolan commercial market during 2018 rose slightly to 955 million Euros per month on average, up from 900 million Euros per month in 2017. For the first six months of 2019 the monthly average foreign exchange made available was USD 717 million or a total of USD 4.3 billion. As a point of reference, during 2013 and 2014, foreign exchange monthly allocations averaged USD 1.6 billion. On January 10, 2018 the Angolan National Bank began foreign currency auctions, moving away from direct sales and allowing the kwanza to fluctuate within an undisclosed but controlled band.
The most common and secure method of payment in Angola is an electronic funds transfer between banks. However, U.S. dollar transaction clearing services ceased in November 2016. Most foreign exchange transfers are currently processed in Euros.
Since 2016, many Angolans with international credit cards used for travel and overseas purchases had their value limits lowered or cards cancelled by commercial banks due to the lack of foreign exchange availability in the market to cover these payment commitments.