Discusses key economic indicators and trade statistics, which countries are dominant in the market, the U.S. market share, the political situation if relevant, the top reasons why U.S. companies should consider exporting to this country, and other issues that affect trade, e.g., terrorism, currency devaluations, trade agreements.
Last Published: 7/17/2017
Angola is an upper middle income country located in southern Africa with a $96.2 billion GDP, a 27.4 million population and a per capita income of $3,514 (IMF).  It ranks as the third largest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa and is the United States’ third largest export market in that region. 

Angola is a major oil producing country and a member of OPEC. In 2015, Angola’s crude oil production was 1.8 million barrels of oil per day (bbl/d), making it one of the top producers in Sub-Saharan Africa.  The country holds significant proven gas reserves as well as extensive mineral resources.  Since 2015, Angola has faced a severe economic setback attributed largely to the significant drop in oil prices.  Resulting federal budget cuts, currency devaluation and high inflation levels have slowed import levels and hindered economic growth.  In 2016, local currency-based GDP stagnated at 0 percent growth, while real growth (in US dollars) declined 6.6 percent.  For 2017, local currency based GDP growth is projected by the IMF at 1.3 percent and inflation should drop to 20 percent from a high of 45 percent in 2016.

Angola achieved its independence from Portugal in 1975, then immediately entered into a civil war that ended only in 2002.  The country’s second Presidential election under the 2010 constitution is scheduled for August 2017 with a stable democratic transition expected.  Angola is designated as one of the United States’ three strategic partners in sub-Saharan Africa together with Nigeria and South Africa. 

Angola depends largely on the off-shore petroleum industry for 50 percent of GDP and 75 percent of government revenues. Major international oil production companies active in Angola include: Chevron, Exxon Mobil, BP, and Total. U.S. exports to Angola concentrate in equipment and services for the oil and gas sector. Given the country’s stated focus on diversifying its economy and building domestic production capacity, medium-term potential for U.S. companies exists in agriculture, industry, and key infrastructure such as energy, water and transportation.

Total Angolan imports in 2016 are estimated at $14 billion, a 51 percent decline from 2014 pre-economic downturn levels.   Paralleling this trend, U.S. exports to Angola fell by 34 percent between 2014 and 2016 to $1.25 billion, a drop that would have been even steeper without the 2016 sale of two Boeing aircraft to Angolan’s national airline.  Despite this decline, Angola remains the United States’ third largest export market in Sub-Saharan Africa.  Aircraft, energy generation equipment, frozen chicken, railroad locomotives, and oil and gas equipment were the main categories of U.S. exports to Angola in 2016. Leading countries supplying Angola’s imports in 2015 were China (17 percent), Portugal (15 percent), Korea (8.6 percent), United States (7.4 percent) and South Africa (5.4 percent).

Angola exported $27.5 billion to world markets in 2016 primarily consisting of petroleum with modest shipments of diamonds and wood. Due to the steep decline in global oil prices, the value of Angolan exports fell by 54 percent since 2014.  The U.S. imported $2.86 billion in Angolan products in 2016, with over 90 percent petroleum products followed by small amounts of diamonds, wood, and even an initial shipments of coffee in 2016.

Leading reasons to consider the Angolan market for US export expansion include:

Large market size, with a population of 27.4 million and an economy of $96.2 billion. Despite the current economic downturn, Angola is the third largest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa, so it is a logical next market for US companies active in other countries in the region.
  • Angola imports most products due to its nominal local production capacity.   While an effort is underway aimed at building domestic production capacity, this will require many years and depend on international suppliers of key inputs for infrastructure, manufacturing and agricultural development. 
  • Strong interest in United States. Angolan private companies are eager to directly engage with U.S. companies and gain exposure to U.S. equipment, technologies and solutions related to priority economic sectors. 
  • Safer than other countries in the region with respect to the lack of secular conflict and strong central government, though the current economic crisis is triggering an upswing in economically motivated crime. 
  • U.S. Commercial Service Angola, established in late 2014, is on stand-by to assist US companies to understand the business environment and to find local partners and sales opportunities.

Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.

Angola Trade Development and Promotion