Angola 2050 Strategy – an analysis (I)

Angola 2050

Angola 2050[1] is the name of the strategic plan recently presented by the Angolan government containing the country’s long-term vision.

In general, surprisingly, the reception to the document was lukewarm, it did not arouse particular enthusiasm or was quickly dismissed as lacking in rigour, not having an adequate methodology, or being nothing more than the work of academic consultants.[2]

In our opinion, this document is too important for the future of Angola to be hurriedly put aside, especially given the fact that it has been put out for public consultation, which we applaud.

To that extent, we went to read and analyse the document. It is a work of 432 pages and 11 chapters, elaborated in a professional and systematic way. We understand that even when criticising, the first correct attitude is to study and reflect on the document, besides making it known. Only by knowing the document can one criticise or present alternatives.

The role of civil society, academics and public opinion in general must cease to be mere deconstruction and become one of demand and attentive criticism. Only if we know what we are talking about can we call on the leaders to comply or to present other solutions.

It is our aim to present two papers on the document, the first of which is this one on the methodology, diagnoses and reference scenarios (p.7 to p.19). The second will be on the programmatic content of the plan.

Methodology and principles

The strategy presented by the government claims to be a “bifocal plan, with a clear vision of what is intended for the Country in the future, but articulating in a clear and decisive manner the short-term initiatives that ensure the right direction” (p.7).

It seems to be the best methodology, since there is no point in creating expectations for 30 years from now, without concretizing the steps to get there, and to that extent, the insertion of short-term measures is positive, having the advantage of being able to syndicate the evolution of the path outlined by the plan. It will be easy to conclude whether there is a need for correction or not, by looking at the short term and the plan’s recommendations.

In fact, there is no point in making long-term plans without constant evaluation and correction, there has to be sliding planning.

This was one of the main methodological failures of the previous plan, Angola 2025[3] . It did not materialize, and now (as we shall see below) it is said to have essentially failed.

Also to avoid the shortcomings of the previous plan, the government claims to propose a realistic plan, based on facts. It also informs us that the plan is aspirational, having resulted from extensive consultations that included civil society, academia and the private sector. As a principle, it is clear that this inclusiveness is desirable and conducive to the construction of an adequate plan.

However, taking into account the reaction of Heitor Carvalho, economist and coordinator of the Centre for Studies and Research of the Universidade Lusíada de Angola, or the lack of knowledge of the debate on the subject in the Economic and Social Council created by the President of the Republic, and also the public ignorance of the collaboration of prominent economists such as Yuri Quixina or Carlos Rosado de Carvalho, or even the fact that we, who have been publishing a volume on the Economy and Politics of Angola since 2020, which always sells out, were not called upon to give an opinion, all these facts raise questions about the non-state sectors that were heard. The consultation should have been more comprehensive.

As we will see, one of the main criticisms that this plan makes to the previous one is the excessive nationalization. Now, de-statisation should start at the genesis of these works, seeking the largest number of contributions, even to create consensus from the largest number of actors in civil society and academia.

Finally, the document ensures that it sought sustainability, following a holistic approach, which “integrates solutions for the various sectors, and recognises the interdependence of economic development, social inclusion and environmental sustainability” (p. 8), focusing on feasibility so that the proposed initiatives are achieved.

The failure of Angola 2025

One of the most interesting aspects of the initial part of the document is the courageous assumption of the failure of the previous Angola 2025 plan, all the more courageous because some of those responsible then are the same as now.

The government states that in relation to the Long Term Strategy 2025 (“Angola 2025”) “an important part of the economic and social goals fell short of what was expected, with the previous strategy inadvertently promoting policies that had negative impacts on our development”. (p.9).

Therefore, the current government, besides admitting the flaws of the previous plan, additionally recognises that some of the policies implemented were harmful to the country.

This assumption of responsibility and guilt is important because it should allow the same mistakes not to be repeated.

Essentially, the government points out that one of the main mistakes of the past was the promotion of the state “as the main economic agent, dominating most sectors of the economy and leaving a minor role for the private sector.” (p.9).

Moreover, the ‘state has unintentionally discouraged long-term, high-quality investment at times’ (p.9).  Those familiar with the difficulties of investing in Angola in the past, from the need for local partners to the difficulties of expatriating capital, understand these statements. Indeed, it seemed that Angola did not want foreign investment. Indeed the document itself acknowledges this, when it writes “[the] Foreign Direct Investment, which outside the oil sector was mostly incipient, was sometimes seen as a threat to national investors rather than as a boost to the economic fabric.” (p.9).

Obviously, the risk of corruption also kept many investors away. While there is no doubt about the new presidential discourse on combating corruption, the doubt that remains is about the effectiveness of the mechanisms adopted. It is a fundamental point for the future.

Another aspect raised was that in most sectors of the economy, “competition was harmed, with higher prices and lower quality goods or services often being provided to our citizens, making the country too dependent on the oil sector for exports and for access to foreign currency.

This is another point to which particular attention must now be paid. Many observers speak of new economic actors taking the place of old actors, but only replacing them, and not fostering real competition. What is crucial is to abolish market barriers and promote real internal competition (on free external competition we have a position reserved for another work).

The summary of the previous plan is that more than 60% of the indicators set for 2015 were not achieved. This says it all.

Human development, capital and productivity

The initial part focuses on some themes that we consider important. The first of which is human development. Although it highlights some progress, it recognises that “Human Development is very dependent on the income dimension and penalised by the degree of economic and social inequality, reflected in one of the lowest Human Capital Indices in the world (Angola is in the 4th quartile, below Sub-Saharan Africa and SADC)” (p.10). As we have been saying, and it is important to emphasize, the diagnosis made by the authorities is courageous and objective, not “sugarcoating” reality. It may be that the acknowledgement of failure is the first step towards a successful policy.

At the same time, labour productivity is also found to have declined, largely due to the reduced contribution of ‘capital accumulation’. In turn this lack of capital was “largely related to the fact that Private Capital was allocated to, on average, unproductive purposes and Public Capital was responsible for a very considerable level of investment in infrastructure, but which did not have the expected economic return.” (p. 14).

Once again we have objectivity in our analysis. José Eduardo dos Santos’ policy of ‘primitive accumulation of capital’ was a fiasco, because those who accumulated capital did not invest it in Angola. As we know, capital flight to Europe and assorted offshores was the rule, thus sabotaging what might have been the best intentions. That is why the fight against corruption has a strong economic impact. It is necessary to repatriate capital and guarantee its investment in Angola, whether capital obtained in the past or in the present.

In turn, public investment must stop obeying obscure interests and be seen from a cost-benefit perspective.


In light of the above, the government identifies three key issues to be taken into account (p.15):

“Firstly, a set of implicit and explicit disincentives to private investment (e.g., the over-dimensioning of the State’s presence in the economy; difficult access to credit; poor infrastructure quality; lack of human capital quality) that justify the reduced contribution of this item to the country’s economy (excluding the oil sector) and explain the fact that the weight of foreign direct investment in Angola is among the lowest among peers.” We could not agree more.

“Secondly, a two-speed model of economic development, where there is an urban cluster of productive and developed and / or limited competition service sectors employing about 20% of the population, contrasted with informal and / poorly productive sectors employing 80% of the population.”

We have many doubts about this assertion, especially about the so-called “formalisation” policies of the economy. And, also, we do not see ourselves in a model of balanced growth of the economy. It seems more appropriate to follow a path of unbalanced development, since development manifests itself in specific points or poles of growth and then spreads throughout the economy (cf. for example Albert Hirschman )[4]

“Third, an under-investment in human capital, with the ‘quality factor’ (representing productivity potential) comparing particularly negatively with countries of similar income, placing Angola as one of the worst performers on the World Bank’s Human Capital Index.”

It is true that human capital is fundamental, but above all it is necessary to obtain capital. It is a mistake to think that qualifications are enough for a country to grow. A direct link between education and the economy has not been established. “The direct and simple relationship that delights commentators and politicians – expenditure between education and economic growth – simply does not exist”[5] .  The question arises more at the level of practical training. The population must have adequate levels of practical and vocational training, and educational attainment should not be confused with the quality of human capital.


The report states that “the biggest social gap – which could significantly constrain future productivity – is in education, especially in the quality component (where Angola has some of the worst performances in the world, below the average for SADC or sub-Saharan Africa)” (p.12). In this regard, it points the focus to the “profound improvement in the quality of the education system, which today is one of the most serious constraints on the country’s growth (Angola is currently in the 4th quartile in this dimension – World Bank classification, having one of the lowest results in the world)” (p.16).

This is a truth, which, however, should not lead to wrong policies. Wrong policies can be exemplified by believing that it is enough to graduate people en masse from university to achieve economic growth. There is no relationship between one fact and the other. The issue is deeper and implies a complete review of the current Angolan education system, from teaching methods to degrees and preference for social and human areas, in addition to the lack of rigour and commitment in many universities. It is a whole programme.


This is a courageous report in its diagnosis of past economic policy mistakes and Angola’s lack of significant progress in many areas essential to human development and capital accumulation.

Once the diagnosis is made, the question is whether the right policies are being chosen and, above all, whether there is the political will to implement them.

[1] MEP, (2023), Angola 2050,

[2] Cfr. VOA, (2023) Estratégia “Angola 2050” ante dúvidas sobre sua elaboração e resultados expectativas,

[3] MP (2007), ANGOLA 2025. Angola – a country with a future. S u s t e n t a b i l i t y, e q u i d a t y, m o d e r n i- t y.

[4] HIRSCHMAN, A. O. The strategy of economic development. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1958 and also PERROUX, F. Note sur la notion de Pôle de Croissance. Economie Appliquée, v. 7, pp. 307-320, 1955.

[5] WOLF, A. (2002) Does Education Matter?: Myths About Education and Economic Growth. London, Penguin.

Boosting tourism in Angola

1- Framework: the requirements and agents of tourism promotion in Angola

Angola is gradually seeking to diversify its economy, choosing tourism as one of the main priorities for structuring economic policy. As is well known, the reconstruction started from 2002 did not focus on tourism, but on the oil, mining and construction industry. Once this model was exhausted, diversification became the keyword for development.

Since it is conspicuous that Angola has an enormous tourist potential, the truth is its implementation implies the removal of sveral obstacles and the creation of adequate conditions. We refer to two essential axes to create these conditions: the first is the creation of favorable conditions for investment in the tourism sector, this implies the review of the investment law that has already taken place, the removal of barriers to market entry and the facilitation of bank credit for new projects.

The second axis is of an infrastructural nature and requires the creation of an adequate transport network, roads, planes and boats, as well as a climate of criminal security, in addition to the facilitation of tourist visas.

Figure 1: The 2 axes for the development of tourism potential

Furthermore, the growth of tourism cannot be solely dependent on the State, it is naturally responsible for the regulation, supervision and creation of infrastructure and conditions. However, the fundamental role belongs to the private business community, which must advance and establish partnerships to enter the international circuits. And, finally, it is also up to the provincial, municipal and communal leaders to encourage and leverage their resources.

State, businessmen and local leaders form the tripartite partnership that must come together to launch tourism in Angola.

In 2019, at the opening of the World Tourism Forum that took place in Luanda, the President of the Republic made it very clear what the executive wanted for the sector: within the framework of the diversification of the economy, tourism should play a role in promoting development and generating income and employment. For this to materialize, the government should invest in the short and medium term, in the expansion of hotel infrastructures and in the infrastructure of the tourist centers of Cabo Ledo, Calandula and the Transfrontier Project of Okavango Zambeze, with the purpose of increasing the offer and the options diversity of tourists and customers in general[1].

Recently, a possible crisis in tourism in Europe has been discussed, admitting that Greece, Italy, France, Spain and Portugal are affected by the sanctions on Russia resulting from the war in Ukraine (which, in relation, at least to Portugal, is doubtful, as the country was not dependent on Russian tourism), Egypt has not yet fully recovered from fear of  bomb attacks, Indonesia struggles to contain Muslim fundamentalism, India struggles with rising pollution levels, Kenya and Senegal could be invaded by Islamic agitation, favorite destinations like Turkey, Israel, Thailand and Dubai are somewhat saturated. This scenario is described in a somewhat emphatic way, however, it opens up opportunities for tourism in Angola, as it represents a certain verifiable trend.

The country has potential in tourism to attract tourists, as Cape Verde and Botswana did; it has paradisiacal beaches, desert and forests, rivers of great flow, mountains, exuberant fauna and flora, and, above all, a welcoming people and a rich and varied gastronomy.

2-Scenario of Angolan tourism

There is no developed tourism industry in Angola. The few areas that are developed took advantage of the country’s natural beauties, rivers, waterfalls and the 1,650 km of Atlantic coast. As the official brochures describe: “The humid tropical climate [of Angola] has created an exuberant flora and rich fauna spread over regions with forests, savannas, impressive mountains, rivers, beaches that seem to stretch without limits, waterfalls, oases and beautiful landscapes which seem to go on to infinity and are all immaculate and intact. An endless summer of warm afternoons bathed in warm breezes to contemplate adventure and discovery.”

Angola has an extreme natural beauty that reveals itself as a promising tourist destination. Mussulo Island and Cabo Ledo are examples of places with an immense capacity to attract tourists, as well as several areas of the provinces such as Namibe, Benguela, Malanje and Cuanza-Sul. The Calandula Waterfalls in Malanje are particularly impressive.

However, currently, most foreign travelers arriving in Angola are not tourists, but entrepreneurs, workers and consultants. This means that hotels are geared towards business and not tourism or leisure. As businesses have been through a serious crisis since 2015, that only now (2022) is truly emerging, that is to say that in recent years there has been a markedly low occupancy rate in hotels, which went from 84% in 2014 to 35% in 2017 and 25% in 2018. This drop in occupancy reflected the crisis that overshadowed the country, not the lack of interest in tourism. The drop in oil prices that has occurred since 2014 and until last year led to a decrease in economic activity in Angola, which resulted in fewer business travelers occupying hotels.

Those responsible recognize that there are currently major weaknesses in the tourism sector, namely “lack of concrete support and incentive measures, difficult access to places, potential resources and tourist attractions, lack of appreciation of tourist resources, lack of flexibility of the banking system to finance tourist projects, deficit in terms of hotel and tourist training establishments, excessive dependence on imports, due to the deficit in domestic production, lack of tourist culture, lack of greater openness in granting entry visas to the main tourist-issuing markets of the world and reduced purchasing power of Angolans[2]”.

However, these unsatisfactory numbers and facts do not represent any structural trend. Between 2009-2014 Angola registered strong growth in the hotel sector with revenues exceeding 45 billion kwanzas (100 million euros at the time exchange rate), creating around 223 thousand jobs. Thus, there is clear potential for the tourism business.

3-Touristic locations and potential markets

Angola has numerous tourist attractions, among which we can highlight the national parks of Kissama and Iona, Quedas de Calandula, Ruacaná, Mussulo, Miradouro da Lua or the Zambezi River.

It is possible to promote the development of hotels and tourist resorts aimed at vacationers in some of the areas specifically intended for sun, sea and sand tourism, such as Cabo Ledo, 120km from Luanda in the municipality of Quiçama, which has 2,000 hectares of enormous beauty and is a potential location for world surfing, once visa processes are facilitated.

Another alternative for nature tourism is Calandula, Malange, which has the most impressive waterfalls in Angola and is the second largest in Africa at 150 meters high and 401 meters wide. An area of ​​1,978 hectares of endless vegetation and waterfalls as far as the eye can see and which has an enormous potential for tourist investment: tourist accommodation, restaurants, entertainment, golf and casinos.

The idea of ​​a museum route also emerged. The initiative of this route is to awaken and increase the culture of visiting museums, in order to create a heritage identity. This route includes the Iron Palace, the National Museum of Military History (Fortaleza São Miguel), the National Museum of Natural History and the National Museum of Slavery, passing through several hotel units. This route should serve as a model for implementation in all provinces of the country.

The target markets for Angolan tourism should be Russia (after the peaceful resolution of the war) and China, which are now the countries from which more than 50% of international tourists come, Angola has everything it takes to absorb a substantial share of these markets. Furthermore, as mentioned above, it could absorb some European demand, especially in the area of ​​adventure and new ecological experiences.

4-Strategic axes and special tourism areas (STA)

As mentioned above, the strategy for tourism must be based on two axes: the promotion of investment and the creation of infrastructure.

We recognize that there is a new favorable climate for investment and also an effort, especially within the scope of the CPLP, to make the bureaucratic process of issuing tourist visas more flexible, that is, conditions are being developed for a new strategy for attracting tourists.

According to an Angolan official, the documents required for the licensing of tourist developments were reduced, from 11 documents previously required to three. The validity of permits was changed from three to five years, the process of decentralizing the permit issuance system is in progress. All these actions aim to improve the business environment in the tourism sector. Regarding visas, the same official points out that the process was already more difficult. He made it known that there have been significant advances, which need to be improved, to attract more tourists[3].

The same officials argue that in terms of infrastructure there are gaps that are easy to solve; Catumbela Airport (Benguela) may be equipped with mechanisms to receive direct international flights, transport is part of the investment that is up to the private sector, the Benguela Railway line passes hundreds of meters from the airport, connects to Zambia and to the Democratic Republic of Congo and goes to Tanzania on the Indian Ocean, Lobito has a large-capacity port, and the expansion itself is providing parallel investments in health, training, services, and the capacity to produce skilled and competitive labor.

At the government level, tourism is recognized as a strategic sector in the National Development Plan 2018-2022, as a guarantee of intensive labour, alongside agriculture, various industries and fisheries. The National Development Plan includes some specific actions, such as the improvement of communication with the Tourist Development Poles, the elaboration of projects for the construction and rehabilitation of hotel and tourist infrastructures, state and mixed infrastructures, the identification of priority development areas, with the aim of recovering and developing the entire heritage of the hotel and tourist network.

Another government official, who has since ceased his duties, underlined that in addition to Angola starting to reduce restrictions and bureaucracy, as part of the strategy to relaunch tourism and promote the attraction of investment to the sector, he wanted to draw attention for the country, with the collaboration of the international supermodel Maria Borges, who would help to promote the potential. The strategy would involve calling an international name, Maria Borges, to help promote the country’s culture, history and main tourist destinations[4].

With the new strategy for the promotion of tourism, Angola hopes to integrate the list of the main tourist destinations in Africa by 2025[5] .


However, it is not possible in the short term to create a complete national infrastructure for tourism. There must be pragmatism and realism in political approaches to promoting tourism in a country where tourism has been almost non-existent. It is in this sense that the best solution must be dual and with different deadlines.

In the medium term, a national tourism strategy should be developed. However, in the short term, there must be a focus on what we will call Special Tourism Areas (STA). The STAs would be five areas of the country in which the State in partnership with the private sector and local authorities would focus to create infrastructure and specific conditions for tourism. Areas with easy access, hotels, restaurants, guaranteed security and maybe free transit visas to visit these areas. Preferred areas chosen to test the STAs could be Malanje, a beach area with urban animation, a paradisiacal-style beach area, and a city with a lot of history or an area with ecological interest aimed at European tourists.

Figure 2: Special Tourism Areas

These areas would have privileged tax treatment and the elimination of visas should be considered for those who went there for up to 15 days. This proposal would imply the elimination of visas for foreign tourists from the target markets who travel to the STAs for a maximum period of 15 days in tourism. All they need to do is present a return flight ticket and proof of booking in tourist accommodation.

There would thus be the creation of pilot districts dedicated to tourism, small capsules of what could be global tourism in Angola in the future.


Tourism can be one of the areas of excellence in the ongoing diversification of the Angolan economy, as it is a sector where the country has enormous potential. The investment in tourism must be a tripartite work of the State, private business and local communities. Target markets will be Asia and Russia (after the Ukrainian War settlement), as well as eco-tourists or European adventurers.

For tourism to exist in Angola, investment conditions must be provided (which is ongoing) as well as adequate infrastructure in physical terms and easy to move around.

It is advisable to proceed in the short term with the creation of Special Tourism Areas that work as pilot experiences for tourism promotion. Areas that will bring together hotels, restaurants, local entertainment, security and easy access, and elimination of visas for tourism in the STAs. And then with the results of these STAs extend to the entire country.


[2] – interview with ANGOP by the general director of Infotur – 31-08-2021