Your guide to doing business in Angola
Bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo to the north and Namibia to the south, Angola lies on continental Africa's southwest coast, on the shores of the south Atlantic Ocean. Angolan territory is diverse, including sub-Saharan deserts, tropical rainforests, and grassland, while its climate varies from cool and dry, to hot and humid during monsoon season. Oil is the cornerstone of Angola's economy but important industries include mining, agriculture, fishing, and tourism. In 2019, Angola’s GDP was around $208 billion and with recent government reforms taking effect across the country, the Angolan economy is starting to diversify. A 2019 review by the IMF confirmed that Angola’s economic program was on track, prompting the approval of a $247 million disbursement to aid ongoing consolidation and diversification of the economy. Angola is a member of the UN, OPEC, the African Union, and the Southern African Development Community. In 2019, Angola was ranked 177 on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Survey.
With the government taking steps to diversify the economy, opportunities in Angola are becoming more attractive to foreign businesses - and have made the country the fourth-largest investment destination in Africa...
Angola is very familiar with foreign investment and the oil and gas sector has invested in Africa’s second largest oil producer for a number of years. However, companies considering investing in Angola should not think that opportunities begin and end with oil and gas related enterprises.
Many investors are unaware of Angola’s rich agricultural history. Prior to the civil war, Angola was a key exporter of numerous agricultural products, including coffee, maize, tobacco and rice and in the early seventies, Angola became the world’s fourth largest coffee exporter.
Angolan real estate requires the least explanation, and as a result of the oil and gas industry, real estate prices have continually increased over the years. Though the high towers and condominiums will bring big returns, the greatest opportunity exists in lower-cost housing. About a third of the country’s population lives in the capital and as this number grows, the low-cost housing demand in Luanda will only increase.
A company is required to have a legal entity established in order to carry out business in Angola with no legal restrictions, including processing a payroll. A foreign company has two options:
Foreign workers are required to hold a visa in order to be able to work in Angola, with visas only being granted to foreign workers of companies incorporated or having branches registered in Angola.
Setting up of a Legal Structure in Angola
This should be the case if the company activities continue for a considerable period of time and the company decides to keep its personnel in the country for more than one year (normally a permanent establishment is triggered if the personnel stay in the country for more than 90 days in a 12-month period). In this case, the company will have to register either a branch or a subsidiary in Angola, for the purpose of developing activities.
Private Investment Regulations in Angola
In terms of foreign investment, there are no differences between a branch and a local company as both qualify as Private Investment Operations under the Private Investment Law, approved by Law nº 10/2018, of 26th June, revoking the former Law nº 14/15, of 11 August (“PIL”).
It is however possible to incorporate a local company/register/branch outside the scope of Angola National Investment Private’s regime.
The PIL does not apply to investments made by companies in the public domain in which the State holds all or a majority of the share capital and to sectors whose investment regime is regulated by a special law.
This Private Investment Regime introduced relevant changes:
Moreover, it is not mandatory for investors to apply for an investment approval. If an investor does not intend, for example, to be granted tax incentives/benefits, nor does it have the intention of repatriating funds and/or profits abroad, then no approval is needed nor is there a sanction for not filing. However, it is common practice and advisable for foreign investors to submit a foreign investment project under the PIL and register it with AIPEX.
In the above scenario, the process of setting up of a legal structure in country, is much less time consuming when compared with the previous foreign private investment framework in force. For example, if the investor does not apply for an investment approval, the timeframe is less than a week. If the foreign investor set up a company upon approval by AIPEX of its foreign investment project, the timeframes are roughly one (1) month minimum up to a maximum of two (2) months.
In terms of proceedings to be adopted, this new regime requires two procedural schemes: prior declaration and special regime. The prior declaration regime allows the prior incorporation of a business vehicle, after which the investment proposal is submitted for registration purposes and attribution of benefits. Investors may not, however, opt for this regime for investment in priority sectors.
The tax benefits potentially attributable vary according to the procedural regime and the project implementation geographic development area.
Private Investor Benefits and Facilities:
The benefits conferred under PIL apply exclusively to the activities included in the execution of the registered private investment. The attribution of benefits and facilities is automatic, provided that the investment complies with the criteria set forth in the Law.
Benefits of tax nature:
Taxes on which benefits may be granted:
Benefits of a financial nature:
The PIL is not applicable to projects approved before its entry into force, unless otherwise intended by the investor.
In this context, when choosing the type of legal form, the company should take into consideration several factors, such as: taxation issues, local regulation on the hiring of contractors and number of emoluments to set up.
Documents Required to Register a Branch or to Incorporate a Subsidiary in Angola
The following documents must be provided to register a branch or to incorporate a subsidiary in Angola:
All documents required for the registration process must be:
The main steps for registration of a legal structure are as follows:
For the setting up of the local structure the steps are: registration of the name, drafting of the articles, organize the public deed followed by the statistical, tax and commercial registration and the publication in the official gazette. The timeframe is roughly four working days.
It is mandatory to make payments to both employees and the authorities from an in-country bank account.
Banks are open to the public from 08:00 – 12:30 and 14:00 - 15:00 Monday to Friday. Some banks are open on Saturdays from 08:00 – 12:30.
The working week in Angola is Monday to Friday. The maximum number of hours per week as per the Angolan labor law is 44 hours. Commercial offices are open Monday to Friday from 08:00 - 18:00. Some offices are open on Saturday mornings.
Angola is a southern, sub-Saharan African state located on the continental west coast. Angola shares borders with the Democratic Republic of Congo to the north, Zambia to the east, and Namibia to the south. Although civilisation has existed in the territory which became Angola since prehistory, the country’s recent history was shaped by Portuguese colonisation, which began in the 16th century. Angola achieved independence in 1975, but experienced a period of political turmoil until 2002, when it emerged as a stable presidential republic. With vast natural resources, Angola has grown as a destination for international business and is amongst the fastest growing economies in the world. Covering approximately 1,246,700 square kilometres of desert, tropical forest and grassland, and with a population of over 25 million, it is the 23rd largest country in the world.
Full Name: The Republic of Angola
Population: 31.13 million (National Statistical Office, 2020)
Major Languages: Portuguese (Official), Umbundu, Kimbundu, Kikongo
Monetary Unit: 1 Kwanza = 100 Lwei
Main Exports: Oil, Diamonds, Minerals, Coffee, Fish, Timber
GNI Per Capita: US $ 6,380 (World Bank, 2019)
Internet Domain: .ao
International Dialling Code: +244
Good Morning Bom Dia
Good Evening Boa Noite
Do You Speak English? Falas Inglês?
Good Bye Adeus
Thank You Obrigado (If You Are Male) Obrigada (If You Are Female)
See You Later Até Logo
Dates are usually written in the day, month and year sequence. For example, 1 July 2012 or 1/7/12.
Numbers are written with a period to denote thousands and a comma to denote fractions. For example, AKZ 3.000,50 (three thousand Kwanzas and fifty cêntimos).
Angola income tax rates for individuals (resident and non-resident) are levied on a sliding scale at rates which vary from 10% to 25%.
Residence: Residence is not defined in Angola Tax Law; all individuals are taxed irrespective of their residence.
Taxable Income: Individuals are subject to a separate tax on income from business, employment, investments and property. Employment income is broadly defined and includes Benefits-in-Kind.
Capital Gains: Capital Gains obtained by an individual are only taxable when realised as part of a business activity.
Deductions and Allowances:
Tax Rates: Employment income is taxed at progressive rates up to a maximum of 25%. The withholding tax on investment income is a final tax for individuals. Taxable capital gains are included in business income and taxed at the standard corporate income tax rate of 25% for unincorporated businesses. Professional fees (e.g. self-employment) are subject to withholding tax at an effective PIT (personal income tax) rate of 6.5%.
Tax returns must be submitted to authorities no later than the end of the month following the one it respects to.
Social Security is mandatory for all employees working in Angola who are Angolan nationals or foreign residents.
Expatriates are not required to make their social security contributions in Angola, provided they are covered by a similar social security system in their home country.
Social security contributions are payable monthly by employers and employees to the National Social Security Institute (“Instituto Nacional de Segurança Social – INSS”).
All allowances are subject to social security contributions, except the following ones:
(i) Vacation Allowance;
(ii) Social benefits paid by the employers within the scope of Mandatory Social Protection (eg. Family allowance);
(iii) The amounts corresponding to the subscription or participation made by employees and employers of complementary social protection arrangements as foreseen in specific legislation.
The social security contribution payable by the employee amounts to 3% of the Basic Salary plus any other components subject to SS deductions.
The employer must withhold the contribution due from their employees and pay the amount which has been withheld to the Authorities. The rate for employers is 8% of employees’ Basic Salary plus any other components subject to SS deductions.
In total, the employer must submit to the Angolan Social Security Authorities a total of 11% as contributions.
The employer is required to withhold the employee’s contribution and pay both contributions by the 10th of the month following the one social security respects.
PIT (personal income tax) is paid through the withholding tax mechanism operated by the employer on a monthly basis and submitted before the end of the following month.
The employer should also comply with the Mod2 (Annual PIT Tax Return) which must be submitted to the tax authorities by the end of February of the following year (last working day). This can be submitted in-country by the payroll provider on behalf of the customer. These forms require the customer’s signature and stamp.
In Angola, the payroll and registrations of a new employee are the responsibility of the employer. If an expat employee needs to be included in the local payroll, a local labour contract must be registered with the labour entity known as MAPTSS (Ministério da Administração Pública, Trabalho e Segurança Social), and this registration has a fee associated of 5% of the salary declared on the local labour contract.
In principle, an expat employee will be exempted of Social Security assuming he is covered by a similar system in their home country.
Angolan nationals should be included on the payroll and registered with Social Security (SS) entities.
Unless the employee proves their contribution to another social security scheme, all employees must register with the National Social Security Institute and contribute.
Expatriate employees are required to contribute only if the employee has a Residency Permit.
All new employees must be registered within the 30 days of commencing the employment.
The following information and documents are required to be provided by every new employee:
Payment for leavers is to be made with the employee’s last payslip and the leaver must be de-registered from social security.
Beyond ensuring employees are paid accurately and on time, the primary duties of payroll departments in Angola are to ensure companies comply with the country's tax rules and regulations. Specifically, this involves paying employees' Individual Income Tax (IIT), employee and employer social security, consumption (sales) tax, business tax and withholding tax (WHT). Under article 22º of the PIT Code, payroll reports must be kept for a minimum of five years, the records can be kept electronically as long as the records can be printed out on request. It is not legally acceptable in Angola to provide employees with online payslips.
In practice, payroll in Angola may be delivered internally, or outsourced to a third party locally, or remotely (via a foreign company). Foreign companies setting up in the country will need to incorporate and join the Angolan company registry if they wish to administer payroll internally. Foreign companies may engage a global payroll provider to help ensure compliance with Angola’s tax laws as they deliver pay to their employee population working within the country’s legislative territory.