Economy & Industry

An oil-transformed economy

Angola’s main wealth comes from oil, which makes up 90% of its exports. Much of the oil is transported to China and the United States.


In 2006, Angola joined the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which oversees production of oil worldwide to keep prices from falling too low.

While for some years Angola had the fastest-climbing economy in the world (reaching 20% growth in 1995), over recent years the country has seen economic growth of around 3% annually.

Over 1.6 million barrels of oil are produced every day in Angola. But with estimated reserves of over 13 billion barrels, it has some way to go before its oil runs dry. Much of the oil is pumped from offshore rigs and transferred directly to large tankers.

The offshore oil has been unlocked by international companies, who have the resources to construct platforms which can extract oil from deep sea waters. Some of Angola’s oil lies more than 160km (100 miles) from land.

Further natural resources

Artisan miners

Many diamonds go through a state-owned company. But mining in Angola is also practised by individual artisinal miners. Tensions have arisen between Angola and its neighbour DR Congo, over an influx of artisan miners from the DRC.

Angola has a wealth of other natural resources, including diamonds, iron ore, manganese and copper deposits.

Angola’s extensive diamond reserves (in the centre and northeast) are the country’s second most important source of foreign revenue.

Other sectors

Food factories

Manufacturing remains limited, with factories generally processing foods such as sugar, beer and fish.

Wealth from the mining sector has encouraged a boom in construction. Houses and office buildings have been springing up in the capital, Luanda.

Companies in the services sector – such as banking, finance and telecommunications – have been attracted to Angola. And tourism is growing, though there is still a severe shortage of hotels and other types of accommodation, which leads to high prices for stays in the capital.

Many poor in a wealthy economy

The poor

Around 55% of Angolans are below the poverty line (surviving on less than a dollar a day). In the capital, millions live in vast slums – see Food & Daily Life.

Despite Angola’s growing economy, much of the oil wealth is retained by companies and individuals, with little invested back into the state.

In the countryside, most people practise subsistence farming as their main source of livelihood, growing food for their own families and where possible, cash crops such as coffee and sugar cane.

Land mines left over from the war remain a serious threat to farmers and many areas are left unfarmed because of mines.