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Comprehensive Country Overview

Explore the geography, history, and socio-economic factors shaping Angola

Country description

Situated in southwestern Africa, Angola borders Namibia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, and the Atlantic Ocean. The country features a mix of landscapes, including coastal plains, a vast central plateau, rainforest regions in the north, and semi-desert in the south near the Namibian border. Angola boasts plentiful water supplies with rivers like the Congo, Zambezi, and Kwanza. A separate province, the Cabinda Exclave, is located north of the main Angolan territory.

Historically, powerful kingdoms such as the Kongo and Ndongo thrived in Angola before colonialization. Portugal ruled Angola for centuries from the 15th century onwards, profoundly shaping its history and culture. A long anti-colonial war began in 1961, culminating in Angola's independence in 1975. A devastating civil war plagued the country from 1975 to 2002, fueled by Cold War rivalries and internal power struggles. Since the civil war ended, Angola has experienced a significant economic resurgence, driven largely by oil wealth.

Angola benefits from substantial natural resources. The country is a major African oil producer and exporter, making up a significant portion of the economy. It also possesses vast diamond reserves and has fertile land, but the agriculture sector remains underdeveloped. Despite being one of the fastest-growing economies in Africa, Angola faces challenges such as high poverty levels, inequality, corruption, and vulnerability to fluctuations in global oil prices.

With a population of over 33 million (2022 estimate), Angola is ethnically diverse, with major groups including Ovimbundu, Ambundu, and Bakongo. Portuguese is the official language, but many indigenous languages are spoken. The Portuguese heritage is reflected in the language, religion (mainly Catholicism), and aspects of architecture. However, the country also has rich indigenous traditions that vary across ethnic groups.

Workforce description

Angola's labor force is characterized by a young population with a median age of around 16 years old. This presents a large, growing potential workforce, but also a need to create substantial employment opportunities. However, there is a gender gap in the workforce, with women having lower labor force participation rates compared to men. Rapid urbanization is also leading to a shift away from traditional agriculture and towards urban-based industries and services, thus requiring a shift in workforce skills.

Skill Levels in Angola

A large percentage of Angola's workforce is considered low-skilled or semi-skilled due to limited access to education and vocational training. The country faces a shortage of skilled workers in various sectors, such as engineering, healthcare, and technology, creating a bottleneck for economic development. However, efforts are being made by the Angolan government and international organizations to improve education and vocational training.

Sectoral Distribution of Angola's Workforce


Agriculture is the dominant sector in Angola's economy, employing over 55% of the workforce. Many Angolans engage in subsistence farming, which limits productivity and economic growth potential.

Oil and Gas

The oil and gas sector is a significant contributor to Angola's economy, employing skilled technicians, engineers, and other specialized workers. However, this sector is susceptible to volatility in global oil prices, affecting job security and growth in the industry.


The service sector in Angola is expanding, particularly in wholesale and retail trade. This growth is fueled by increasing urbanization and a rising middle class. However, many service sector jobs are within the informal economy, characterized by lower wages and less job security.

Manufacturing and Construction

Angola's manufacturing and construction sectors are emerging, with Chinese investment playing a significant role. These sectors require both skilled and unskilled labor and hold potential for creating more jobs in the Angolan economy.

Cultural norms impacting employment

In Angolan culture, strong family ties are highly valued, which can impact workplace expectations. Employees may have obligations towards their extended family that require flexibility for family events, caregiving for elders, or child-rearing. This is a contrast to the more individualistic Western cultures.

There is often an expectation of long working hours in Angola, with a blurring of the lines between work and personal life, particularly in certain sectors. Being physically present at work, even outside of core hours, may be seen as a measure of dedication, especially in traditional sectors.

Communication Styles

Angolans tend to favor an indirect communication style to avoid confrontation and preserve harmony. Direct criticism can be considered rude, and openly expressing disagreement with a superior may be less common. Building strong personal relationships, based on trust, is crucial for business success in Angola. Professionals often take time to socialize and get to know their colleagues before delving into business matters. There is also an emphasis on maintaining a degree of formality in communication, with titles and surnames often used until a better relationship is established.

Organizational Hierarchies

Angolan workplaces typically have well-defined hierarchies, with decisions usually flowing from the top down and significant respect for authority. Superiors may be seen as father-like figures who are expected to provide guidance and support to subordinates, creating a sense of dependence on those in positions of power. Family connections and personal networks continue to play a significant role in job recruitment and advancement opportunities, a practice often referred to as nepotism.

Key industries and employment sectors

Angola is one of the top oil producers in Africa and a member of OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries). With approximately 90% of exports tied to this sector, oil and gas drive most of the economy and government revenue. The oil and gas sector provides a significant number of jobs, both directly in the industry and indirectly through supporting sectors such as exploration and production, refining and processing, transportation and logistics, and engineering and technical services.


Agriculture is a vital traditional sector, with approximately 85% of the population relying on it for their livelihoods. Angola has immense potential for agricultural development. Key crops include coffee (historically important), cassava, bananas, plantains, citrus, vegetables, and corn. The government has initiated programs like PLANAGRÃO and PLANAPECUÁRIA to promote agricultural development and reduce reliance on imports. The diamond industry provides significant direct and indirect employment in exploration and mining, cutting and polishing, jewelry manufacturing, and sales.


Angola has experienced a surge in construction activity fueled by the need to rebuild infrastructure following the country's long civil war. Employment areas include residential development, commercial construction, road and bridge building, and infrastructure projects.

Emerging Sectors

Angola has a long coastline and rich fishing resources with the potential to grow this sector and create jobs. Increased government attention on developing light industries like food processing and textiles holds the potential for greater employment opportunities. With beautiful natural landscapes, wildlife, and historical sites, Angola could make strides in the tourism sector through infrastructure investment and promotion.

Additional Notes

Angola is working to diversify its economy and limit reliance on oil and gas, a key strategy for ensuring balanced future growth and employment stability. Obstacles like limited infrastructure, bureaucratic processes, and a shortage of skilled labor must be worked on to reach Angola's economic potential.

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