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More and more expats are moving to Angola in search of adventure and the generous salary packages attached to life in one of Africa's largest oil-producing countries. Although still rife with poverty and struggling to recover from many years of war, Angola is rich in natural resources and is fast cultivating a dynamic business environment with plenty of opportunity.
The tropical climate, beaches and countryside are spectacular. And the nightlife in Luanda, the capital city and the most common expat destination, is as lively as any major metropolis.
Angola’s economy has steadily grown for more than a decade. International relationships with countries like China, Portugal and South Africa are becoming more solid, and oil rights are actively being exchanged for infrastructural improvements that will benefit the country in the long-term.
There are, however, some negative aspects for expats moving to Angola. The most glaring drawback is that the cost of living in Luanda is among the highest in the world. Traffic in the capital is also extremely congested, as antiquated road networks struggle to cope with the profusion of luxury vehicles and cargo trucks.
Safety in Angola has greatly improved but expats must still be wary and, by default, often find themselves living in the insular environments of expat compounds. Foreigners are cautioned against travelling to areas outside of Luanda, especially the Cabinda region.
Expats with children will be glad to know that there are international schools in Luanda, which are generally well-supported by the companies that helped found them. However, the standard of these schools varies, tuition is pricy, and waiting lists can be long. Those moving to Angola with children should first secure a place at a school of their choice.
Healthcare is available and has improved markedly in recent years, but still isn't up to the standard many expats are used to. Most expats seeking complicated medical procedures travel to South Africa or further abroad for treatment.
Overall, expats moving to Angola will likely face many challenges, but will also be richly rewarded with an exciting cultural experience and financial benefits.
Population: Around 29 million
Capital city: Luanda (also largest city)
Neigbouring countries: Angola is bordered by Namibia to the south, Zambia to the east and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the northeast
Geography: Angola is a southern African country with a varied terrain that encompasses tropical Atlantic beaches, a labyrinthine system of rivers and Sub-Saharan desert that extends across the border into Namibia.
Political system: Since the adoption of a new constitution in 2010, the politics of Angola takes place in a framework of a presidential republic.
Major religions: Christianity is the dominant religion in Angola. Roman Catholics constitute about half of the population.
Main languages: Portuguese (official) and approximately 60 African languages. French, Spanish and English are often spoken in the oil industry.
Money: The Kwanza (AOA), which is divided into 100 centimos.
Tipping: Standard 10 percent, unless service is included in bill.
Time: GMT +1
Electricity: 220 volts, 50Hz. Round-pin Euro plugs are standard.
Internet domain: .ao
International dialling code: +244 plus relevant city code.
Emergency contacts: In Angola, there are three different emergency numbers. For the police call 113, for an ambulance or medical emergency contact 112, and 115 for the fire service.
Transport and driving: Cars drive on the right-hand side. Much of the road infrastructure was destroyed and neglected during years of conflict, and despite efforts to rebuild, many of its roads are still riddled with potholes and few of them are paved. Most expats hire local drivers who are accustomed to local driving conditions. Public transport in Angola is poorly maintained and unreliable.
"The thing I enjoy most is getting out of Luanda for a weekend, going south along the coast and exploring the beaches. As for the quality of life: being an expat means I’m sheltered from the harsh realities of local life in Luanda." Monique is an expat wife from South Africa who moved to Luanda in 2011. Read her interview.
Are you an expat living in Angola?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Angola. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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