Amid efforts to diversify the economy while increasing oil and gas production, Angola has instituted a series of ambitious measures to attract investment. This strategic investment approach has not only welcomed foreign players to the market but encouraged pan-African commerce and economic growth.
Visa-Free Travel Opens Business Opportunities
Under efforts to bolster tourism while attracting entrepreneurs and investors into the domestic economy, Angola passed a policy amendment in late September 2023 allowing visa-free travel to nationals for over 90 countries.
While the visa-free stay is exclusively for tourism-related purposes, the amendments lay the foundation for a new era of intra-African travel and trade.
Angola seems to be following the likes of Kenya, which instituted a visa free rule for African visitors due to be in full effect by the end of 2023. The East African country has opened its doors to all African citizens, announcing the removal of visa restrictions for Africans traveling to the country for business or tourism-related purposes. The move falls in line with national efforts to stimulate economic growth and trade and has sparked widespread celebration from many across the continent.
Deemed progressive, the decision has triggered a discussion about the economic opportunities visa-free travel would bring to Africa. By removing barriers to entry, visa-free policies will stimulate regional business networks, thereby fostering multilateral investment, skills and technology transfer as well as cross-border collaborations. In addition to creating social cohesion and cultural exchange, such amendments allow for a unified contribution to the advancement of Africa’s wider economy.
With its recent tourism-related visa amendment, Angola is well positioned to introduce a more open approach to regional integration and inclusivity
Stock Exchange Strengthens Domestic Capital Markets
The introduction of visa-free travel is a significant step towards growing Angola’s economy but it is by no means the only progressive action being implemented by Government to attract investment. In 2022, the country reached a milestone with the launch of the Angola Stock Exchange, kicking off a new era for the domestic financial system and capital markets.
The launch followed more than a decade of delays and is expected to see as many as 20 Initial Public Offerings (IPO) in the coming years – including National Oil Company (NOC) Sonangol, the privatization of which is set to be complete by 2026. With the opening of the exchange, Angolan companies are better positioned to access new sources of financing; foreign investors are able to diversify their portfolios; Government has improved regulatory oversight and transparency; while new avenues for wealth creation and distribution have been created. Additionally, local entrepreneurs have better support through the IPO process while financial innovation is set to spark economic growth and opportunity.
Through the Angola Stock Exchange, the country has sent a strong signal that Angola is open for business, with a mature financial market backing investment.
Long-Term Investment Approach Enhances Attractiveness
On the oil and gas front, the Government has taken a strategic approach to attracting investment and strengthening the competitiveness of local firms. The Government established the National Oil, Gas & Biofuels Agency (ANPG) in 2019, an independent regulatory body created to manage the country’s oil and gas concessions. The ANPG has not only brought greater transparency and clarity to the industry but its creation has allowed NOC Sonangol to focus its efforts on its role as operator, thereby increasing its competitiveness.
Additionally, through the introduction of a six-year bid licensing round in 2019, the Government has sought to revitalize investment in Angola’s upstream sector. A total of 55 blocks are planned to come on offer by 2025 in the Namibe and Benguela Basins, and the multi-year-round has already piqued the interest of a strong slate of players. The ANPG is preparing the open its next round in the coming weeks, with four onshore blocks in the Congo Basin and eight onshore blocks in the Kwanza Basin. These measures have set a strong precedent for other resource-rich players in Africa eager to secure investment on a long-term basis.
Angola Reaps the Rewards of Progressive Strategy
The Government’s progressive investment strategy has already begun to show fruitful results. The country not only represents one of the biggest oil producers on the continent but has managed to retain investor appetite despite global hydrocarbon divestment. In 2022, TotalEnergies announced a multi-energy strategy in the country, including the $850 million Begonia oil development. Similarly, ExxonMobil is looking at investing up to $15 billion in Angola’s oil and gas industry, eager to monetize reserves in the country’s offshore Namibe Basin.
These commitments are just the start. During the country’s premier energy event – Angola Oil & Gas 2023 – which took place in September, seven industry-advancing deals were signed. These included agreements between Azule Energy and Sonangol; environmental management company Ambipar and energy firm Kini Energias; oil and gas company ETU Energias and global technology company SLB; and insurance company Protteja Seguros and oil and gas company Petromar. Additionally, the ANPG signed cooperation agreements with three universities – Universidade Agostinho Neto; Catholic University of Angola; and Instituto Superior Pliténico de Tecnologias e Ciências.
Going forward, Angola’s business-friendly economy and attractive fiscal terms will serve as a catalyst for further investment in the country, consolidating Angola’s position as a regional powerhouse.
Source: Energy Capital Power