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Angola Country Information

Travel Advice with Country Information from the CIA.

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Angola Map

Introduction

Background

From the late 14th to the mid 19th century a Kingdom of Kongo stretched across central Africa from present-day northern Angola into the current Congo republics. It traded heavily with the Portuguese who, beginning in the 16th century, established coastal colonies and trading posts and introduced Christianity. By the 19th century, Portuguese settlement had spread to the interior; in 1914, Portugal abolished the last vestiges of the Kongo Kingdom and Angola became a Portuguese colony. 

Angola scores low on human development indexes despite using its large oil reserves to rebuild since the end of a 27-year civil war in 2002. Fighting between the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), led by Jose Eduardo DOS SANTOS, and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), led by Jonas SAVIMBI, followed independence from Portugal in 1975. Peace seemed imminent in 1992 when Angola held national elections, but fighting picked up again in 1993. Up to 1.5 million lives may have been lost - and 4 million people displaced - during the more than a quarter century of fighting. SAVIMBI's death in 2002 ended UNITA's insurgency and cemented the MPLA's hold on power. DOS SANTOS stepped down from the presidency in 2017, having led the country since 1979. He pushed through a new constitution in 2010. Joao LOURENCO was elected president in August 2017 and became president of the MPLA in September 2018.

Geography

Location

Southern Africa, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Namibia and Democratic Republic of the Congo

Geographic coordinates

12 30 S, 18 30 E

Map references

Africa

Area

total: 1,246,700 sq km

land: 1,246,700 sq km

water: 0 sq km

country comparison to the world: 24

Area - comparative

about eight times the size of Georgia; slightly less than twice the size of Texas

Land boundaries

total: 5,369 km

border countries (4): Democratic Republic of the Congo 2646 km (of which 225 km is the boundary of discontiguous Cabinda Province), Republic of the Congo 231 km, Namibia 1427 km, Zambia 1065 km

Coastline

1,600 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

Climate

semiarid in south and along coast to Luanda; north has cool, dry season (May to October) and hot, rainy season (November to April)

Terrain

narrow coastal plain rises abruptly to vast interior plateau

Elevation

mean elevation: 1,112 m

lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m

highest point: Moca 2,620 m

Natural resources

petroleum, diamonds, iron ore, phosphates, copper, feldspar, gold, bauxite, uranium

Land use

agricultural land: 45.7% (2018 est.)

arable land: 3.9% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.3% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 41.5% (2018 est.)

forest: 54.3% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

860 sq km (2014)

Population distribution

most people live in the western half of the country; urban areas account for the highest concentrations of people, particularly the capital of Luanda as shown in this population distribution map

Natural hazards

locally heavy rainfall causes periodic flooding on the plateau

Environment - current issues

overuse of pastures and subsequent soil erosion attributable to population pressures; desertification; deforestation of tropical rain forest, in response to both international demand for tropical timber and to domestic use as fuel, resulting in loss of biodiversity; soil erosion contributing to water pollution and siltation of rivers and dams; inadequate supplies of potable water

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note

the province of Cabinda is an exclave, separated from the rest of the country by the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Government

Country name

conventional long form: Republic of Angola

conventional short form: Angola

local long form: Republica de Angola

local short form: Angola

former: People's Republic of Angola

etymology: name derived by the Portuguese from the title "ngola" held by kings of the Ndongo (Ndongo was a kingdom in what is now northern Angola)

Government type

presidential republic

Capital

name: Luanda

geographic coordinates: 8 50 S, 13 13 E

time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

daylight saving time: does not observe daylight savings time

etymology: originally named "Sao Paulo da Assuncao de Loanda" (Saint Paul of the Assumption of Loanda), which over time was shortened and corrupted to just Luanda

Administrative divisions

18 provinces (provincias, singular - provincia); Bengo, Benguela, Bie, Cabinda, Cuando Cubango, Cuanza-Norte, Cuanza-Sul, Cunene, Huambo, Huila, Luanda, Lunda-Norte, Lunda-Sul, Malanje, Moxico, Namibe, Uige, Zaire

Independence

11 November 1975 (from Portugal)

National holiday

Independence Day, 11 November (1975)

Constitution

history: previous 1975, 1992; latest passed by National Assembly 21 January 2010, adopted 5 February 2010

amendments: proposed by the president of the republic or supported by at least one third of the National Assembly membership; passage requires at least two-thirds majority vote of the Assembly subject to prior Constitutional Court review if requested by the president of the republic

Legal system

civil legal system based on Portuguese civil law; no judicial review of legislation

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Angola

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 10 years

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Joao Manuel Goncalves LOURENCO (since 26 September 2017); Vice President Bornito De Sousa Baltazar DIOGO (since 26 September 2017); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President Joao Manuel Goncalves LOURENCO (since 26 September 2017); Vice President Bornito De Sousa Baltazar DIOGO (since 26 September 2017)

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president

elections/appointments: the candidate of the winning party or coalition in the last legislative election becomes the president; president serves a 5-year term (eligible for a second consecutive or discontinuous term); last held on 23 August 2017 (next to be held in 2022)

election results: Joao Manuel Goncalves LOURENCO (MPLA) elected president by the winning party following the 23 August 2017 general election

Legislative branch

description: unicameral National Assembly or Assembleia Nacional (220 seats; members directly elected in a single national constituency and in multi-seat constituencies by closed list proportional representation vote; members serve 5-year terms)

elections: last held on 23 August 2017 (next to be held in August 2022)

election results: percent of vote by party - MPLA 61.1%, UNITA 26.7%, CASA-CE 9.5%, PRS 1.4%, FNLA 0.9%, other 0.5%; seats by party - MPLA 150, UNITA 51, CASA-CE 16, PRS 2, FNLA 1; composition - men 136, women 84, percent of women 38.2%

Judicial branch

highest courts: Supreme Court or Supremo Tribunal de Justica (consists of the court president, vice president, and a minimum of 16 judges); Constitutional Court or Tribunal Constitucional (consists of 11 judges)

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the president upon recommendation of the Supreme Judicial Council, an 18-member body chaired by the president; judge tenure NA; Constitutional Court judges - 4 nominated by the president, 4 elected by National Assembly, 2 elected by Supreme National Council, 1 elected by competitive submission of curricula; judges serve single 7-year terms

subordinate courts: provincial and municipal courts

Political parties and leaders

Broad Convergence for the Salvation of Angola Electoral Coalition or CASA-CE [Andre Mendes de CARVALHO]
National Front for the Liberation of Angola or FNLA; note - party has two factions; one led by Lucas NGONDA; the other by Ngola KABANGU
National Union for the Total Independence of Angola or UNITA [Isaias SAMAKUVA] (largest opposition party)
Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola or MPLA [Joao LOURENCO]; note - Jose Eduardo DOS SANTOS stepped down 8 Sept 2018 ruling party in power since 1975
Social Renewal Party or PRS [Benedito DANIEL]

International organization participation

ACP, AfDB, AU, CEMAC, CPLP, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NAM, OAS (observer), OPEC, SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Joaquim do Espirito SANTO (since 16 September 2019)

chancery: 2100-2108 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009

telephone: [1] (202) 785-1156

FAX: [1] (202) 822-9049

consulate(s) general: Houston, New York

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Nina Maria FITE (since 14 February 2018)

telephone: [244] 946440977

embassy: 32 Rua Houari Boumedienne (in the Miramar area of Luanda), Luanda, C.P. 6468

mailing address: international mail: Caixa Postal 6468, Luanda; pouch: US Embassy Luanda, US Department of State, 2550 Luanda Place, Washington, DC 20521-2550

FAX: [244] (222) 64-1000

Flag description

two equal horizontal bands of red (top) and black with a centered yellow emblem consisting of a five-pointed star within half a cogwheel crossed by a machete (in the style of a hammer and sickle); red represents liberty and black the African continent; the symbols characterize workers and peasants

National symbol(s)

Palanca Negra Gigante (giant black sable antelope); national colors: red, black, yellow

National anthem

name: "Angola Avante" (Forward Angola)

lyrics/music: Manuel Rui Alves MONTEIRO/Rui Alberto Vieira Dias MINGAO

note: adopted 1975

Broadcast media

state controls all broadcast media with nationwide reach; state-owned Televisao Popular de Angola (TPA) provides terrestrial TV service on 2 channels; a third TPA channel is available via cable and satellite; TV subscription services are available; state-owned Radio Nacional de Angola (RNA) broadcasts on 5 stations; about a half-dozen private radio stations broadcast locally

Internet country code

.ao

Internet users

total: 4,353,033

percent of population: 14.34% (July 2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 90

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 109,561

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 120

Transportation

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 10 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 55

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 1,516,628 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 78.16 million mt-km (2018)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

D2 (2016)

Airports

total: 102 (2020)

country comparison to the world: 54

Airports - with paved runways

total: 32 (2020)

over 3,047 m: 8

2,438 to 3,047 m: 8

1,524 to 2,437 m: 10

914 to 1,523 m: 6

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 70 (2020)

over 3,047 m: 2

2,438 to 3,047 m: 2

1,524 to 2,437 m: 17

914 to 1,523 m: 27

under 914 m: 22

Heliports

1 (2013)

Pipelines

352 km gas, 85 km liquid petroleum gas, 1065 km oil, 5 km oil/gas/water (2013)

Railways

total: 2,852 km (2014)

narrow gauge: 2,729 km 1.067-m gauge (2014)

123 km 0.600-m gauge

country comparison to the world: 63

Roadways

total: 26,000 km (2018)

paved: 13,600 km (2018)

unpaved: 12,400 km (2018)

country comparison to the world: 103

Waterways

1,300 km (2011)

country comparison to the world: 53

Merchant marine

total: 54

by type: general cargo 14, oil tanker 8, other 32 (2020)

country comparison to the world: 117

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Cabinda, Lobito, Luanda, Namibe

LNG terminal(s) (export): Angola Soyo

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Angolan Armed Forces (Forcas Armadas Angolanas, FAA): Army, Navy (Marinha de Guerra Angola, MGA), Angolan National Air Force (Forca Aerea Nacional Angolana, FANA; under operational control of the Army); Rapid Reaction Police (paramilitary) (2019)

Military expenditures

1.6% of GDP (2019)

1.8% of GDP (2018)

2.4% of GDP (2017)

3% of GDP (2016)

3.5% of GDP (2015)

country comparison to the world: 70

Military and security service personnel strengths

the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA) are comprised of approximately 107,000 active troops (100,000 Army; 1,000 Navy; 6,000 Air Force); est. 10,000 Rapid Reaction Police (2019)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

most Angolan military weapons and equipment are of Russian, Soviet, or Warsaw Pact origin; since 2010, Russia remained the principle supplier of military hardware to Angola; Belarus, Bulgaria, China, and Italy have also supplied smaller quantities of arms (2020)

Military service age and obligation

20-45 years of age for compulsory male and 18-45 years for voluntary male military service (registration at age 18 is mandatory); 20-45 years of age for voluntary female service; 2-year conscript service obligation; Angolan citizenship required; the Navy (MGA) is entirely staffed with volunteers (2019)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

Democratic Republic of Congo accuses Angola of shifting monuments

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 23,436 (Democratic Republic of the Congo) (refugees and asylum seekers) (2021)

Illicit drugs

used as a transshipment point for cocaine destined for Western Europe and other African states, particularly South Africa

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