Large parts of Angola's business were razed during the
liberation war and the recovery was hampered by the war
situation that existed in 1975–2002. As a result of rising
oil exports, the country has experienced very strong
economic growth during the 2000s: the oil industry accounts
for about 50 percent of GDP and 95 percent of the country's
export revenues. But the unilateral dependence on oil also
makes the country's economy vulnerable to changes in world
market prices, which became clear in 2014 when this was
In the years before the global financial crisis of
2008–09, the country experienced strong economic growth,
averaging about 20 percent in 2005–07. Growth dropped
drastically as a result of the financial crisis but has
recovered somewhat and has averaged around 5 percent during
the 2010s. However, low oil prices have meant significantly
lower export income than before.
Although the country is the second largest oil producer
in sub-Saharan Africa, the profits from the oil industry
have so far benefited only a small minority of the
population. The extraction is largely done in collaboration
with foreign companies and employs few Angolans. Some
efforts have been made to rebuild the destroyed
infrastructure, but otherwise oil revenues have not led to
any major improvements in the population's living standards.
Still, about 2/3 live in poverty (below US $ 2 per day) and
especially in rural areas, the vast majority of people lack
access to clean water and electricity. According to
countryaah, the country's
widespread corruption is a major obstacle to the country's
At independence, many Portuguese left Angola, which meant
that the country had a shortage of educated labor. As a
result of the economic growth of Angola in the 2000s and the
economic crisis in the former colonial power Portugal, in
the beginning of the 2010s many Portuguese people were
attracted to Angola and the construction boom underway.
Angola has also made major investments in Portugal. In the
long term, Angola has better economic prospects than most
other African countries.
Agriculture employs about 85 percent of the population,
but most of them are engaged in small-scale self-catering
cultivation. Food needs are largely covered by imports and a
large part of the population is dependent on emergency aid.
For information on GDP and other business statistics, see
Angola has a very large agricultural potential and was
previously a major net exporter of agricultural products.
Important export crops were coffee, sugar, cotton and sisal.
Nowadays, exports are very limited, and the country is
almost entirely dependent on imports to feed the urban
population. The base crops are maize and cassava. Commercial
agriculture ceased virtually when the Portuguese left the
country in 1975-76. The state took over the farms, but
production went down, and the land was later distributed to
small farmers. The civil war of 1975–2002 had a devastating
effect on the peasant economy. Farmers were forced to flee,
the cultivated area was reduced and transport was made more
difficult. After the end of the civil war, many people
resumed farming, but questionable ownership and consequences
of the war, such as the existence of landmines, makes the
construction of the agricultural sector slow. Livestock
breeding is significant in the southwestern provinces, which
are spared from the tsets fly.
One of the largest natural forest areas is Maiobe's
tropical rainforest in the enclave Cabinda, with mahogany
and other noble woods. Eucalyptus and conifers cover 140,000
ha. However, timber exports have stopped after independence.
Angola has a 1,650 km long coastline with rich fishing
waters in the south thanks to the Benguela stream. Fishing
was hit hard by the civil war, when industries were
abandoned and the Portuguese sailed away with most of the
fishing fleet. Rehabilitation is ongoing, and in order to
meet the country's need for fish, foreign vessels fishing
for licenses must land part of the catch in Angola.
Minerals and energy
Angola is very rich in minerals. Before the oil became
the most important export product, diamonds and iron ore
were the largest export goods after coffee. Mining decreased
after independence. Iron ore has not been mined since 1975,
when the Kassinga mine was partially destroyed. Projects for
the resumption of iron ore mining and the opening of
ironworks have been ongoing in recent years. During the
Civil War, diamond production varied greatly, but after 2002
production increased substantially for a few years; the
country is now one of the world's largest diamond producers.
Angola also has deposits of copper, magnesium, gold,
phosphates and uranium.
Oil has been the country's main export commodity since
1973 and accounts for about half of GDP and about 95 percent
of total exports. The state-owned oil company Sonangol gets
its revenues from cooperation and production sharing
agreements with major multinational companies from primarily
the US and China. Cabinda is the most important production
area. Angola is the second largest oil producer in
sub-Saharan Africa, only Nigeria is larger. Production
amounted to 2 million barrels per day in 2008, but has
subsequently declined due to technical problems.
Angola also has large deposits of natural gas, but these
are exploited to a very limited extent. In 2013, natural gas
that was frozen in liquid form (LNG) was exported for the
first time, but the production plant was closed the
following year due to technical problems and was not
expected to open again until 2015 or 2016.
The civil war severely damaged electricity generation and
much work still needs to be done to rebuild the
infrastructure. After all, thanks to the upgrading of
several hydroelectric power plants, electricity generation
has increased, but a large part of the country's potential
for producing hydropower is still untapped.
Only about 30 percent of the population has access to
electricity, and these people meet their energy needs mainly
through the burning of firewood, charcoal and animal waste.
The poorly developed electricity grid and the many power
cuts are an inhibiting factor for the industry as well.
Compared to Africa in general, Angola's industry was
previously relatively well developed, but was severely
affected by the civil war in 1975–2002. Productivity dropped
drastically and the country experienced a large shortage of
educated labor. The heavy industry included former steel,
shipyard, pulp and cement industries as well as the
country's only oil refinery in Luanda. Most of these stopped
working or worked very sporadically during the war.
Nowadays, only the food industry, the oil refinery and the
oil-related industry, as well as the industry associated
with the extensive reconstruction work, remain.
Crude oil accounts for about 95 percent of the country's
exports. Other exports consist mainly of diamonds but also
of refined oil, natural gas, coffee and timber. In the past,
imports have been severely cut, but have increased greatly
in recent years. Mainly, machinery, vehicles and spare parts
and food are imported. China and the United States are the
largest market for oil exports. Other important exporting
countries are India, South Africa and Portugal. Imports come
mainly from Portugal, China, the United States and South