Angola must be Africa’s Cinderella state! Since the end of the civil war at the beginning of the new millennium, the country has seen almost unprecedented growth. In fact, a 20% growth in the economy was reported in 2008!
This growth is largely attributable to the boom in the oil industry globally. You see, Angola is a mining country – diamonds and oil are the lifeblood of the economy. And they are also the reason why so many foreigners are moving to Angola.
Jobs for professionals in the mining industry are widely available, and with government bent on a complete infrastructure turnaround, also in fields such as property development. In fact, just one of the recent projects announced is a $2 billion upgrade to the port of Luanda, the capital city. The project, at completion will include hotels and other entertainment centers, along with many other attractions. This is also where most immigrants settle, as it is the epicenter of development in the country.
With that boom however, and the influx of foreign nationals for work, has come a steep increase in prices on the property market! Apartments in Luanda rent for between $ 7000 and $ 20 000 per month, and purchasing property is the preserve of the very rich only. Since the requirement for a transit visa is proof of a subsistence income of $ 100 per day, it can be assumed that a month’s subsistence cost is around $ 3000, quite high for a developing country!
Visa’s are issued by the consular office, and getting a working visa is neither expensive (at $ 300) nor difficult, provided you comply with requirements, which include a letter from the person or company who will be your employer and sponsor, and a full, certified medical certificate, including an HIV / AIDS test. Full details of the visa requirements are available on the Angolan government site.
Moreover, while on the topic of medical matters, being inoculated against disease should be high on your priority list too! Diseases like hepatitis A, typhoid, malaria and sleeping sickness are still a problem in the country, so prevention is most certainly better than cure!
Another issue worth addressing is the language barrier – Angola’s official language is Portuguese, a remnant from a colonial past, so brushing up on, or learning the language will certainly stand you in good stead!
Other problems you may encounter are with the telecoms system – in 2006 there were less than 100 000 fixed line telephones operating in the country! Cell phone use is more prolific, with around 4 million handsets in operation at last count. Make sure, for that reason, that the area you will be settling in has cell phone reception, and whether there is internet access!
It is clear, from the growth and development underway that Angola is an African state with a mission. To rebuild and grow. And with that growth comes opportunity for foreign nationals, whether in the form of employment, or business in general.