Investment Opportunities in Angola
Investment opportunities in Angola
After signing the peace agreement, Angola has experienced 6 years of sustained stability and growth that has been critical to its development and growth. In the past years, the country has embarked on an ambitions reconstruction program. Luanda is the capital city of Angola and has the characteristics of a city with a great amount potential for development. Many new buildings are being built in various points of the capital. Provinces outside the capital are also developing through expanding necessary infrastructure to better connect the country. The Kwanza(Angolan currency) has recently been gaining strength increasing an appetite for goods and services within the country. Political and economic stability has opened new and excellent opportunities for investment. The growth in GDP over the year 2007-08 is 13.2%,in 2006-07 was16.7% and 2005-06 19.6%.Below are some of the opportunities
Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries:
In the past Angola has proved to be a world power in terms of agricultural production and at one point was the world’s fourth largest coffee producer though this is not the case anymore. Some of the farmers and agriculturist have estimated that only 3% of their arable land is cultivated now. Therefore the potential in Angola is enormous, although the success of the sector depends directly upon the outcome of the civil conflict.The government in Angola has made the rehabilitation of coffee plantations a priority. In this regard Angola has made efforts and has taken up assistance from the UN agency for the World Food Programme .This aid is important for the development of the sector and the country has received assistance from the EU in the form of seeds and farming equipment. The Ministry of Agriculture in Angola, is in the process of reforming its legislation in order to ensure that its policies are carried out with greater commitment in the interests of guaranteeing food self sufficiency for the people. Among new laws proposed in 2005 are those concerning land, agrarian development, co-operative law, forests and seeds.Many of the natural forests are yet to be exploited. Plantations of eucalyptus, cypress and pine which once formed the basis of a small export industry add to a rich agricultural heritage. From 1975, the timber production in the country has fallen drastically. There are now as many as nearly 150,000 hectares of eucalyptus, cypress and pine plantations waiting to be rehabilitated. Several of the valuable tree species including rosewood, ebony, African sandalwood mahogany, tola and mulberry, are found in the northern forests which have remained untapped since independence.The coastline in Angola is rich in shellfish and a variety of other fish species. An attempt is currently being made to rehabilitate and modernise the domestic fishing industry.The fishing fleet has been built through donor assistance. Refrigeration facilities at the southern ports of Tombwe and Namibe have been overhauled and a new production line at the Tombwe canning factory has been installed with EU assistance. The prices of fish were deregulated, thus encouraging the development in this sector. The government with assistance from the World Bank, has set up the Angolan Support Fund for Fisheries Development.
Tourism Industry :
Angola has a tropical climate, beaches, rivers, mountains, wildlife and cultural attractions all factors giving it a excellent opportunity for growth in the tourism industry. But still, development of this sector has not yet begun in earnest. The visas are still difficult to obtain for the region . Even as the wildlife resources have severely depleted in the region, many species in Angola are still roaming free like from elephants to the rare giant palanca. There is a huge geographical variety right from the tropical beaches to inland mountains and lakes, is sure to be a major draw card.There are a lot of traditional crafts present in Angola some of them in ivory, wood, ceramics and metal, quite different to styles found elsewhere in Africa. Other aspects of Angolan culture such as dance, music and night life add to the Angolan attraction. Angola has much to offer in its cuisine .There is fish, shellfish and meat cooked with strong spices, some of the country’s specialties.The hotel industry of Angola requires coming up further as the demand far exceeds supply. The restructuring of existing hotels is underway and also there is plenty of opportunities for construction of new ones.
Electricity Industry :
The Angolan electricity industry has a tremendous potential for growth. Despite the global financial meltdown, the current growth demand for electricity is estimated at 12.0 per cent per annum. The national programme for reconstruction is expected to remain a significant driving force. In 2004, the Capanda dam started its operation almost doubled the country's electricity capacity and began a new era for the Angolan electricity industry.
The surge in the economic growth has led to the rise in the country´s electricity industry. Angola has a huge potential in the generation of the hydro electricity, which is still currently underdeveloped. Thus the underdeveloped industry has put additional pressure on the Angolan government to help rebuild it through a reconstruction programme - the Angolan government is expected to channel $8.4 billion towards the industry.
The current electricity industry reformation is expected to significantly reduce investment barriers. Investment laws in Angola give foreign and domestic investors equal access to investment incentives and enable the participation of private investor in public infrastructure projects such as electricity supply. Though the environmental regulations are becoming tighter, potentially increasing the risk in investment and thus adding to the requirements for investing in both existing and new power plants.
Diamonds: Angola was the fifth biggest producer of diamonds of the world in the year of 2006 and the main geologists of the world estimate that the alluvial backups of Angola can total up the 130 millions of carats. The country has at least six gold-mines of kimberlitos virgin and these gold-mines are among the ten biggest of the world, an estimate of 180 millions of carats in the value of several billions of dollars.
With substantial golden deposits, iron, phosphates, manganese, copper, leads, quartz, plaster, marble, black granite, beryl, zinc and numerous strategic minerals, Angola was described as one of the most greatest world treasures among the countries in development
Angola is exporting about 90% of its crude oil primarily to China and the US.US imported nearly 496,000 bbl/d of crude oil in 2007 from Angola (507,000 total oil imports),making it the sixth largest supplier of crude oil to the United States after Nigeria. For most of 2007, Angola was the second largest exporter of crude oil to China after Saudi Arabia —occasionally surpassing the kingdom. The monthly records show that China imported around 650,000 bbl/d of Angolan crude in the December of 2007 as compared to US imports of 440,000 bbl/d for the same month. Other export destinations include Europe and Latin America, mainly Brazil—the fellow lusophone country is increasing political and economic links with Angola, specifically in the oil sector.
Angola is very familiar with foreign investment. Oil companies have long poured cash into Africa’s 3rd largest oil producer. The wells continue to spill returns and results. But anyone considering investing in Angola should not think that opportunities begins and ends with oil and gas. Here’s a look at some top sectors to broaden your view on investment opportunities in Angola.
Many investors are unaware of Angola’s rich agricultural history. Prior to the civil war, Angola was a key exporter of numerous agricultural products, including coffee, maize, tobacco and rice. In the early 70s, Angola became the world’s fourth largest coffee exporter. Underpinning the country’s research capabilities were good agricultural credit and rural trading as well as favorable climatic conditions, vast water sources – including plentiful rainfall and surface water – and fertile soil.
However after a brutal civil war decimated the country, the agriculture sector took a knock. Today, the climate, rainfall and soil remain, yet irrigation is lacking, little credit is available, and trading and information networks are all but nonexistent. The government is upgrading irrigation systems through dams to grapple with consistent floods and drought. Through partnerships with China and Brazil, credit has increased. Still the sector could benefit greatly from increased foreign capital and knowledge sharing. A lack of information in the system is a major challenge, says Jordao Jose, a local Angolan farmer, adding that it further undermines productivity Where foreign investors can create the greatest impact is in strengthening collectives and developing downstream agro-processing facilities in order to address the high price of local production has To illustrate: Shoprite and the newly opened Kero grocery stores in Lunda Sul source processed goods from South Africa because costs are lower. Imported chicken costs $5.80 per kilo in the capital Luanda after custom duties, while a domestic chicken costs $7.80. A dozen domestic eggs can sell for as high as $5.00, double the cost of an imported dozen. Maize, rice, and wheat production also barely meet the country’s demand. Market potential is high, adds Mr. Jose, but convincing farmers to work collectively is hard since locals prefer to battle it out for small pieces of the market. Hopefully, he continues, greater capital and cooperation with the help of foreign investors can help realize larger returns and success.
Construction & Real Estate
Downtown Luanda resembles a construction site. Newly laid roads and related transport infrastructure are one of the city’s, and country’s, greatest needs. Construction operators say though that the boom will be slow. “The city needs everything”, says Janio, an owner of a family construction business, “and we do everything. When transport construction slows,” he continues, [that’s why] we will just look [to] real estate building [there we’ll] probably make more money.
Angolan real estate requires the least explanation. Booming oil prices continue to drive real estate prices. A hotel room costs $450 per night, while office space costs $100 per square meter. Prices are so high that most foreign workers will insist on paid housing before accepting any work assignment in Angola. Though the high towers and condominiums will bring big returns, the greatest opportunity exists in lower-cost housing. About a third of the country’s population lives in the capital. As this number grows, the low cost housing need in Luanda will become even more obvious, especially considering the more economical pockets of locals.
The Angolan banking sector has seen astronomical growth. Total assets skyrocketed from $2.9 billion in 2003 to an estimated $62.5 billion in 2012. Such figures makes the sector the third largest in Sub-Saharan Africa after Nigeria and South Africa. Yet only 40 percent of the county is banked, similar to Mozambique and Zimbabwe, but far less than South Africa and Mauritus. Five banks control nearly 80 percent of the sector’s assets. But the government is adamant that the industry has become more diversified, creating greater opportunities for investors.
Regulations in the sector can be a deterrent to foreign investors, such as the new regulation requiring companies, including state-backed Sonangol, to pay taxes and facilitate other transactions through the country’s banking . But the country’s current implementation of the International Financial Reporting System (IFRS) and Basel III will change this. Banks direly need assistance in understanding and implementing new rules, says a Standard Chartered insider, and foreign investors can bring a greater insight to the process in addition to capital for service expansion.
Experts estimate that the banked sector could surpass up to 70 percent, provided regulatory changes and the expansion of service capabilities are implemented. Angola is one of Sub-Saharan Africa’s larger mortgage and credit card networks too, yet such services are still insufficient to meet demands. Upgrading mobile banking services and network access (i.e. ATMs and branches) outside of Luanda could bring a greater number of Angolans into the system. It is estimated that the Angolan banking sector could see mortgage penetration rates double from the current 15 percent in the next five to seven years. Similar growth is expected for asset financing as industry and manufacturing in the country grows.