Buying and Selling

flag Angola Angola: Buying and Selling

In this page: Market Access Procedures | Reaching the Consumers | Distributing a Product | E-commerce | Organizing Goods Transport | Identifying a Supplier


Market Access Procedures

International Conventions
Member of the World Trade Organization (WTO)
Party to the Kyoto Protocol
Party to the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
Party to the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer
Party to the International Coffee Agreement
International Economic Cooperation
Member of African Union (AU)

Member of Southern African Development Community (SADC)

Member of Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)

Member of Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS)

Member of Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)

Non Tariff Barriers
Non-tarif barriers include: heavy bureaucracy, corruption, long delays in customs control of goods and the legislation on agricultural and food products.
Customs Duties and Taxes on Imports

For more details on custom tarifs, see the website of the Customs (in Portuguese).

Customs Classification
Import Procedures
The process of importing goods into Angola is time-consuming and highly bureaucratic. The World Bank ranks Angola among the countries with the most time-consuming import procedures worldwide in the category of “Trading Across Borders”. Foreign exporters are advised to enquire about customs broker capacities and importing experience when selecting a distributor. Angolan import regulations are subject to periodic changes requiring foreign exporters to maintain close contact with their importer/distributor to avoid customs entry delays.

Importers must be registered with the Ministry of Commerce for the category of product they are importing. Only registered companies can apply for an import license which is required for imports of sensitive products such as food, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, agricultural inputs. To minimise customs problems and delays, foreign companies should ensure that their prospective Angolan distributor holds import registration status for the appropriate product category and has experience importing and representing international products. A competent importer company will have either in-house customs broker capacity or work with a licenced customs broker. Only customs brokers approved by the Angolan government can process customs documentation for imports. Custom broker rates are regulated and cannot exceed 4% CIF value of the product, though the average rate is 2%.

Documentation required for import into Angola includes:

  • Original Air Way Bill (AWB) / Bill of Lading (BL)
  • Original Commercial Invoice (listing HTS codes for each item)
  • Packing List
  • - Angolan Loading Certificate issued in the country of shipment
  • Import License and/or phytosanitary certificate issued by the relevant Ministry, if required based on product
  • Angolan loading certificate
  • Shipments bound for Angolan ports require a Loading Certificate (Certificado de Embarque) issued by the National Council of Angolan Shippers (CNCA) authorized agent in the country of origin. 

For more information, please visit the website of the Angolan Tax Authority.

Importing Samples
The import of samples must be authorised by the Customs.
For Further Information
Angolan Customs Directorate
Business Portal for Africa

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Reaching the Consumers

Marketing opportunities

Consumer Profile
Angola is a middle-income country, with a per-capita income of USD 2,080 (IMF, 2021). The rising inflation impacts deeply consumer prices (+21% in 2020 - IMF). Despite this, Angolan consumers are increasingly searching for quality instead of price. They are more suspicious with regards to cheap products made in China or other African countries and tend to prefer Western brands. They also value good service, including after-sales. The Angolan population is largely young, with weak purchasing power, low level of education and becoming increasingly urban (66,1% in 2019 - World Bank, latest data available). However, there is a growing middle class and a wealthy class concerned about the quality of products and the image they convey.  The family is very important in Angolan life and women are generally responsible for making purchasing decisions. Angolans are generally brand-savvy and value international names, but the products need to be adjusted to local tastes. Packaging, advertising and brands are important in the buying choice. At this time, Portuguese and Brazilian products are advantaged by the common language (Portuguese), as the labelling is legally required to be in Portuguese. Angola is also a favourite destination for international franchises and shopping centres are developing in the country. Among consumer goods, the biggest growth between 2009 and 2013 was recorded for packaged food (+23%). Other sectors which should benefit from the future growth are electronics, beauty products and home furnishing. Internet access in Angola is slightly more developed than in its neighbour countries. Nevertheless, it remains limited. According to the World Bank, in 2019, 14.3% of the population had Internet access (latest data available). E-commerce is limited by the lack of credit cards. Domestic e-commerce websites are slowly developing and international e-commerce is only possible for the upper-class Angolans who possess international credit cards. Finally, many domestic companies do online advertising through social media such as Facebook.
Consumer Behaviour
Angola is the third economy in Sub-Saharan Africa and is a Portuguese-speaking country. Despite a satisfying economic ranking, Angola had a negative real GDP growth rate in 2020 (-4% - IMF) and prices have increased by 22.3% (IMF, 2021). Angola is one of the most promising consumer goods markets in Africa. The development of infrastructures (construction, telecommunications, banking, etc.) sustains employment growth. It fuels consumption, reinforced by the fast-growing demographics. Most of the consumer products are imported. Otherwise, the modern retail sales sector is fastly developing, with numerous grocery retail chains. The emerging middle-class is now interested in buying non-essential products. Nevertheless, for the majority of consumers with low purchasing power, price and product availability remain key factors. Angolan consumers generally prefer familiar brands, but younger people are less loyal and more likely to try out new products. Middle-class university graduates are the most susceptible to react to advertising and packaging. The wealthier part of the population is fashion-conscious and enjoys high-tech products and gadgets. Finally, purchasing wholesale products is deeply rooted in the country's culture.
Consumers Associations
The Angolan Consumer Rights Associations
The Angola Consumer Defense Institute
Main Advertising Agencies
JC Decaux Angola
Executive Center
Arena Angola
Orion Angola

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Distributing a Product

Evolution of the Sector
Angola’s business environment is still maturing at just 15 years post-civil war.  As a result, distribution channels for most products and services are limited to some key players. Luanda, the capital city, holds 25%  of the population followed by a limited number of secondary cities: Benguela/Lobito, Huambo, and Lubango, with Soyo and Cabinda as oil industry-focused cities. 

According to Euromonitor, between 70% and 80% of trade in the food market is undertaken by the informal sector via street vendors and unregulated markets that tend to specialise in one product category. The formal sector, which comprises a mix of small neighbourhood markets, grocery stores, specialist high-end food stores and supermarkets, is encroaching rapidly on the informal sector with the expansion of stores owned by Angolans, as well as stores owned by foreign retail chains. The informal sector, where importers sell through their own warehouses, remains the main distribution channel. It is mainly supplied from large chains and distributes products in the suburbs and rural areas. Small farmers also sell their surplus on the market. Market vendors (donnas or zungeiras) and small shops also distribute products in lesser qualities. However, the formal distribution sector is expanding and many supermarkets, hypermarkets and Cash & Carry markets have opened.

Distribution channels are controlled by the The Programme of Restructuring of the System of Logistics and Distribution of Essential Products to the Population (PRESILD), which was created in 2006 to organize and modernize business across the country and expand the supply of basic products.
Market share
The capital city of Luanda is home to a quarter of the population followed by a limited number of secondary cities: Benguela / Lobito, Huambo and Lubango, Soyo and Cabinda are other major cities that revolve around the oil industry. With such a concentrated market, it may make more sense to appoint a single distributor or representative to cover the entire country. Although a number of legally established distributors and international product representatives exist in Angola, many products, especially consumer goods, are sold through resellers. These resellers buy products abroad and resell in retail outlets often using the original brand.

The market is dominated by Portuguese and Brazilian supermarkets:

  • Kero Hypermarket : 40%
  • Alimenta Angola Cash & Carry : 20%
  • Maxi Supermarket : 10%
  • Mega Cash & Carry : 10%
  • Other supermarkets including Nosso Super : 20%

Distribution infrastructure in Angola is challenged by poor road quality, cumbersome customs clearance procedures (among the slowest in the world according to the World Bank), as well as limited storage and cold chain capacity. Current railway expansion projects are aimed at ensuring intermodal transport throughout the country.

Retail Sector Organisations
AIA Associação Industrial de Angola
US Angola Chamber of Commerce
Ministry of Economy Angola

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Internet access
With a population of over 26 million people in 2017, and almost 6 million internet users, Angola is not a highly connected country. Access to the internet in Angola is one of the lowest in the world, with a penetration rate a little over 22%. The main reasons for low internet and mobile phone penetration are high costs and poor infrastructure. The access is limited mostly to urban areas, given that in rural areas voice and data services can be twice as expensive and of much poorer quality, as a result of poor infrastructure. Most of those who do have access to the internet use mobile phones rather than home computers. Mobile broadband access is available to just 12% of the population and only around 8% of Angolans have home internet access. Google is by far the most popular search engine in the country. As of July 2018, the leading search engines in Angola ranked by market share were Google (92.41%), Bing (4.3%), Yahoo! (2.27%), Baidu (0.48%), MSN (0.21%) and YANDEX RU (0.09%).
E-commerce market
E-commerce in Angola is still limited as most of the population doesn't have access to the internet. However, there is great future potential. Given the small current size of the market, there is still no official data on e-commerce revenue. A big limitation in the market is the lack of use of credit cards and other internationally accepted payment options. Even though over half of adults in Angolan have banking accounts, access to international credit cards is extremely restricted. When it comes to domestic purchases, debit cards are growing in popularity, but the most popular payment is cash upon delivery. Domestic B2C is not wide spread in Angola, but it is slowly growing with the creation of several domestic e-Commerce websites. Payment is usually made through debit cards and local courier service deliver orders, as the mail delivery system is unreliable. Cross-border e-Commerce is restricted to middle and upper income citizens, given that access to international credit cards is restricted. Purchases are often made from major international stores such as Amazon, Ebay and Alibaba. The majority of people connected to the internet use mobile phones as their method of access. That is also true when it comes to making purchases online. Those who use laptops and computers to make online purchases normally use their mobile phone or tablet as well.

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Organizing Goods Transport

Main Useful Means of Transport
Due to inadequate and poor infrastructure, land transport of goods is long, expensive and difficult. Goods arriving at the ports of Luanda and Lobito are distributed along the coast, but they only rarely reach inland. The rail network was badly damaged by the war and only works on very short segments. However, major investments are currently being made ​​to rehabilitate the country's infrastructure.
4 de Fevereiro International Airport (Luanda)
Mukanka International Airport (Lubango)
Catumbela International Airport (Benguela)
Sea Transport Organisations
Instituto Marítimo e Portuário de Angola, Ministério dos Transportes
Air Transport Organisations
Instituto Nacional da Aviação Civil, Ministério dos Transportes
Empresa Nacional de Exploração de Aeroportos e Navegação Aérea (ENANA)
Road Transport Organisations
Direcção Nacional dos Transportes Rodiviários, Ministério dos Transportes
Rail Transport Organisations
Ministério dos Transportes
Caminhos de Ferro de Luanda

Caminhos de Ferro de Benguela
Caminhos de Ferro de Moçamedes

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Identifying a Supplier

Type of Production
The Angolan industry is dominated by the oil sector; the country is the second largest producer of oil in sub-Saharan Africa and the world's fourth largest producer of diamonds. The main agricultural exports are coffee and cotton. ExxonMobil, Total, Chevron, ENI and BP are among the key players of the Angolan industry.

Business Directories

Multi-sector Directories
Africa Business Directory - Angola business directory - Angola business directory
Global Database - Angola business directory

To search directories by industry in Angola, check out our service Business Directories.

Professional Associations by Sector
21 professional associations listed for Angola.
Trade Agencies and Their Representations Abroad
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry
National Agency for Private Investment
General Professional Associations
Associação Industrial de Angola (Industrial Association of Angola)
Associação dos Empreendedores de Angola  (Entrepreneurs' Association of Angola)

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Latest Update: April 2024