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Preface Last Updated: 11/14/2003 11:46 AM

The name “Angola”comes from the Mbundu word for “king”-ngola. Few African countries have seen their natural and human potential as underutilized and thoroughly ravaged by violence as Angola.

In precolonial southern Africa, the area was home to some of the continent’çs richest kingdoms, which welcomed European merchants and missionaries in the 15th century, only to be corrupted and ultimately destroyed by the transatlantic slave trade in the 16th century. The abolition of the trade – a politically and economically destabilizing event — was followed by the repressive taxation and forced labor regimes of Portuguese colonialism. Although much of the rest of the continent underwent rapid decolonization in the 1960s, the armed struggle for independence in Angola took nearly 15 years and perpetuated internal divisions that turned into a decades-long, ongoing civil war.

Small groups of hunter-gatherers were the first to inhabit the region of present-day Angola, but late in the first millennium Bantu-speaking people migrated to the area from the north. They brought with them iron-smelting skills, agricultural practices, and cattle, all of which they used to establish some of the largest and most centralized kingdoms in Central Africa. In the mid-13th or 14th century, Congo kings organized agricultural settlements surrounding the mouth of the Congo River into provinces, collected taxes, and established an official currency of shells.

Portuguese explorer Diogo Cão sailed into the mouth of the Congo River in 1482. The Portuguese initially maintained peaceful relations with the Congo, trading goods in exchange for slaves. But the slave-traders became more intrusive and violent. When they began to meet resistance, the Portuguese monarchy sent troops to Angola.

Slavery existed in some form in most of Angola’s kingdoms. It is estimated that between the late 16th century and 1836, when Portugal officially abolished slave trafficking, 4 million people from the region were captured for the slave trade. Slave trading agents, or pombeiros — some Portuguese, most African, or Afro-Portuguese (mestiços) — bought slaves from local chiefs in exchange for cloth, guns, and other European goods.

Throughout the 19th century and until the military campaigns ended in 1930, many sectors of Angolan society resisted domination by the Portuguese monarchy. Kings, especially the well-educated leaders of the Congo, invoked historical treaties to resist Portuguese dictates.

The country has been engulfed in war and civil strife since its independence from Portugal in 1975. A peace accord, signed in 1994, brought a temporary halt to the civil war, but war erupted again in 1998.

However, despite these grave difficulties, Angola is not without its share of intrigues. Numerous beautiful beaches surrounding Luanda — such as the Palmeirinhas, Ilha, and Ramiros — are popular places for water sports enthusiasts. Three museums include a Museum of Anthropology, with an excellent collection of African arts, and several discos and clubs are dotted throughout the city. Angolans are also known for their hospitality; it is not uncommon for visitors to be invited into their homes for a traditional meal.

The Host Country

Area, Geography, and Climate Last Updated: 11/14/2003 11:47 AM

Angola, about the size of Texas and California combined (481,351 square miles), is located on the southwestern coast of Africa (South Atlantic Ocean). It borders the following countries: Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Namibia, and Zambia. The coastline extends a distance of nearly 1,000 miles from Angola’s oil-rich enclave of Cabinda north of the mouth of the Zaire River and is separated from the rest of the country by the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the border of Namibia. The country stretches inland for some 950 miles, a third of the way across Africa. The terrain features a narrow coastal plain, which rises abruptly to a vast inland plateau. Angola’s interior elevations range from 3,000–7,000 feet, with the upland region forming one of Africa’s largest watersheds. The climate is semiarid in the south and along the coast to Luanda. The north has a cool dry season (May to October) and a hot rainy season (November to April). Natural hazards are locally heavy rainfall, which causes periodic flooding.

In Luanda during the January to April hot season, the temperature is often in the upper 90s; the sun is quite intense; and the humidity is very high. During the winter months, June through September, the days are pleasant, with high temperatures around 80ºF, with mild evenings. Skies are often hazy, a condition called “cacimbo.” Generally, there are light rains during November and December, with heavy rains falling in March and April.

Population Last Updated: 11/14/2003 11:53 AM

With only about 12 million people, Angola is lightly populated. As a result of three decades of conflict, an estimated 80% of the population is now concentrated in 20% of the national territory closest to the coast, and nearly 30% of the total population now resides in the capital, Luanda. The rest of the population is spread over the central highlands.

Angolans are mostly of Bantu ethnic heritage. About 75% of Angola’s people are members of Angola’s four largest ethnic groups. The Ovimbundu, normally resident in the central highlands and southeastern parts of Angola, are the largest group, comprising about 37% of the population. The Ovimbundu were traditionally farmers and traders.

The Kimbundu, approximately 25% of Angola’s population, live in and around Luanda and to the east. Prolonged contact with Portuguese colonial rulers has given the Kimbundu the highest proportion of Angolans assimilated into European culture.

The Bakongo, usually concentrated in the northwest, and areas adjacent to the Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Cabinda Province, constitute 13% of the population. The Bakongo at one time formed a loose federation known as the Kingdom of the Kongo with whom the Europeans made initial contact in the 15th century when the Portuguese first landed at the mouth of the Congo River.

The Lunda and Chokwe occupy the northeastern sector of Angola, with branches also in Democratic Republic of Congo, and make up 10% of the population. These two ethnic groups once comprised a great kingdom in the Angolan interior and were barely touched by Portuguese influence.

Other relatively minor ethnic groups include the Nganguela in the southeast and the Ovambo and Herero in the southwest (about 7%). The Ovambo and Herero are migratory cattle herders, who maintain close ties to kinsmen in Namibia, and regularly migrate across the Angolan-Namibian border. The rest of the population is made up of mulatto or mestizo (mixed European and African, 2%), Europeans (1%), and others (5%).

Before the 1975 civil war, approximately 750,000 non-Africans, primarily Portuguese citizens, lived in Angola. About 500,000 fled to Portugal because of the war. Today, about 40,000 Portuguese live in Angola, constituting the largest foreign population. The mulatto/mestizo are influential politically and economically beyond their numbers.

The diverse ethnic backgrounds of the population suggest the wide range of languages spoken. No one African language is widely used beyond its ethnic area. Portuguese is Angola’s official language and is used by the government, in schools, and by people throughout the country.

The last official Angolan census was taken in 1970. Since then, because the war has made accurate demography impossible, population figures have only been given as estimates. The Angolan Government estimated the 1988 population at almost 9.5 million. Today’s best estimate is about 12 million inhabitants, with about 3 million of those residing in Luanda.

Public Institutions Last Updated: 11/14/2003 11:54 AM

Angola changed from a one-party Marxist/Leninist system ruled by the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) to a multiparty democracy following the September 1992 elections. Since then, political power is increasingly concentrated in the Presidency. The political power of the MPLA Central Committee Political Bureau has diminished. Currently, the MPLA and eight other political parties are represented in the National Assembly, including the largest opposition party, UNITA, made up of former fighters who have abandoned the armed struggle.

In late 1999, a major Government offensive succeeded in destroying Jonas Savimbi’s conventional military capacity and driving him to guerrilla tactics. Currently, the Government controls 90%–95% of the national territory, and a similar share of the population, with Savimbi’s forces reduced to scattered, but sometimes effective, raids against civilian as often as military targets. As the UNITA military threat abated, the Government has slowly allowed for greater public dissent, a freer press, considerable leverage for opposition parties, and a proposal to hold national elections in 2002. Some of this public debate has increased and strengthened civil society, in the process helping to make the country a more dynamic and interesting place to work in international affairs.

The executive branch of the government is composed of the Chief of State, President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos, Prime Minister (a position which, since the early 1999 government reorganization, is also held by the President), and the Council of Ministers.

The Constitution establishes the broad outlines of the government structure and delineates the rights and duties of citizens. The legal system is based on the Portuguese civil and customary law system. It was recently modified to accommodate a multi-party political system and increased use of free-market concepts and is again under revision in the National Assembly. The legal voting age for Angolans is 18.

Military and civilian courts exist, but the judicial system is precarious. There have been reports of prolonged detention without trial, unfair trials, and arbitrary executions.

The country is divided into 18 provinces, each with its own provincial government, but the governors are appointed by and under direct authority of the central government.

Angola has been ravaged by warfare since initiation of the struggle for independence from the Portuguese in 1961. An estimated 450,000 people have been killed; 100,000 maimed; and 3.7 million people were orphaned or forced from their homes since the wars began. The war has severely damaged the country’s social institutions and infrastructure. The millions of dislocated people, orphaned children, and the lack of communications and transport between cities and the interior have all taken their toll. Daily conditions within the country, and in the capital city, Luanda, are difficult for most Angolans. Hospitals are without medicines or basic equipment; schools are without books; and public servants often lack the basic supplies for their day-to-day work.

Foreign Policy. An ally of the Socialist Block during the Cold War, Angola has increasingly drawn closer to Western nations, including the U.S. Angola’s vast petroleum resources and its role as a regional power give it high importance.

Arts, Science, and Education Last Updated: 11/14/2003 11:55 AM

The arts and crafts market may not be as prolific in Angola as in some African countries, but there are beautiful artifacts. There is a trade in antique masks and fabrics. Ivory engraving is said to be the most intricate and detailed work found in Angola. Some craftsmen in Luanda market in woodcarvings for the expatriate community, and there are a few good painters as well, painting from traditional landscape and portrait to abstract art.

Angola is predominantly Roman Catholic (60%). Protestants (15%) and various indigenous beliefs that may also be nominally Christian (25%) fill out the pattern of religious affiliation. Catholic churches are found in most towns, and their religious workers have played an important role in keeping education and food distribution programs going in the war-torn country.

The Portuguese brought the Catholic religion with them, and toward the end of the 19th century Protestant missionaries arrived from the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. Catholic and Protestant missionaries have played a significant role in Angolan education. At the time of independence the leaders of Angola’s three major liberation movements had been educated at Protestant missions. Literacy, less than 10% at independence, has increased, despite the onset of the civil war, and is estimated at 45% of the total population. Currently, only 40% of Angolan children attend school for the first three grades, after which attendance declines severely. Also, the quality of education is poor, and most of the children of parents with money are sent overseas to Portugal or other countries.

Commerce and Industry Last Updated: 11/14/2003 11:57 AM

The continuing civil war has devastated Angola’s post-independence economy and has created wide-ranging humanitarian and social problems and diverted resources that otherwise might have been used for the maintenance and improvement of infrastructure. The war has caused serious disruptions in the transportation of people and goods, and in agricultural production.

Angola is resources-rich, with abundant offshore oil reserves, high-quality diamond deposits, numerous other minerals, rich agricultural lands, and many rivers, which serve as a source of water and power supply. Prior to independence, Angola was a net food exporter, and one of the largest coffee and cotton producers in the world. Other main crops included bananas, sugarcane, sisal, corn, manioc, tobacco, forest products, fish, and livestock. Now Angola buys almost all of its food, as well as most consumer products. Coca-Cola invested $35 million in a bottling plant located 60 kilometers outside of Luanda. The plant opened in early 2000 and added a second production line in November 2000. Coca-Cola’s investment is the largest single nonmineral investment in Angola’s history.

The oil sector dominates the economy. Petroleum exports account for about 90% of total exports annually, and oil revenue makes up almost half of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, which reached $5.6 billion in 1999. This strong reliance on a single commodity makes Angola very vulnerable to fluctuations in oil prices. Weak oil prices in 1998 and part of 1999, combined with increased arms purchases in response to an escalation of hostilities, led to a heavy external debt burden. Angola’s external debt amounted to almost $10 billion at the end of 1999, and $4.4 billion of this amount was in arrears. Higher oil prices in late 1999 and 2000 and the intake of signing bonuses for new oil concessions helped to keep the debt from growing further.

Angola is the third largest trading partner of the U.S. in sub-Saharan Africa, mainly because of significant petroleum exports. Between 1997–99, Angolan crude oil accounted for about 5% of U.S. total imports of crude. The U.S. imported $2.4 billion of crude oil from Angola in 1999 and exported $252 million of goods to Angola, primarily machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods, and food products.

After 1975, Angola’s Soviet-influenced economy was highly centralized and state-dominated. The Government has very slowly introduced reforms and liberalizations since the early 1990s. The government enacted its most significant reforms to date in 1999, when it unified official and parallel market exchange rates and liberalized interest rates. In April 2000, the Government reached an agreement with the International Monetary Fund on a Staff-Monitored Program (a precursor to receiving loans from the IMF and other concessional lenders). Progress on economic reforms, such as privatization and improved account ability and transparency, continues-but at a slow pace.


Automobiles Last Updated: 11/14/2003 11:58 AM

Individuals assigned to Luanda are advised to bring a vehicle to post, though some members of the Mission do not own one. A 2000 law requiring that all cars brought into the country be no more than 3 years of age has been informally relaxed for non-commercial users. The only safe means of traveling in the city is by automobile. As with all other types of infrastructure in Angola, roads have been poorly or infrequently maintained in the past 20 years. Potholes are typically deep and numerous. High-clearance, heavy-duty suspension vehicles are recommended. Cars brought into Angola by nonresidents are considered in transit, and no taxes are levied. Only leaded fuel is available, and although the lines are long at peak hours, there is no widespread shortage of fuel. Fuel prices have risen considerably over the last year. Rental vehicles are available, but are very costly.

The General Services Office (GSO) takes care of registration, and all vehicles imported by Embassy personnel receive diplomatic license plates. There are no vehicle inspections required for registration or licensing purposes. Vehicle traffic moves on the right as in the U.S. A valid U.S. driver’s license is needed to apply for an Angolan driver’s license, but recently the Angolan Government has been slow in issuing licenses despite charging a fee. All U.S. Embassy employees are issued diplomatic identity cards. Local third-party insurance is available and required by law. Full coverage purchased locally is expensive and not reliable when paying for damages. Vehicle owners may wish to obtain hard-currency insurance from outside Angola.

There are repair facilities in the city for GM, Dodge, Jeep, Ford, Toyota, and Nissan vehicles. However, it is helpful to bring basic items such as air and oil filters, fan belts, spark plugs, etc., with you. A heavy-duty battery is required, and air-conditioning is a must year round. The poor road conditions also cause suspension systems and tires to wear rapidly. Any vehicle shipped to Angola should have heavy-duty suspension, radial tires, and undercoating. Carburetors should be adjusted to low-octane leaded gas and catalytic converters removed, since locally available gasoline is of poor quality. Because of the extremely high rate of pilferage from the Luanda port, do not ship car radios, stereos, or other removable items with the vehicle. Shipping time for vehicles averages about 4 months with some time in port. It will take about a month to receive plates before the vehicle can be driven. During this period, and subject to availability, a motor pool vehicle with driver may be scheduled, on a reimbursable basis, to provide transportation for personal errands.

Local Transportation Last Updated: 11/14/2003 11:59 AM

Local public transportation is limited and deemed unsafe for use by Embassy personnel. The public buses and collective taxis (minibuses or “candongueiros”) are not safe; no individual taxi service exists. Reliable railroad transportation is not available. Roads to the interior are not deemed safe for general travel. (See section on Touring and Outdoor Activities for information on restrictions on road travel.) The best method of reaching other areas is by air. Air transport to major interior cities is available on the Angolan national airline TAAG; however, security conditions and equipment problems regularly interrupt service. Embassy personnel often fly to interior cities on U.N. or petroleum company aircraft on official business.

Regional Transportation Last Updated: 11/14/2003 11:59 AM

The following airlines provide service to/from Europe on a weekly or more frequent basis: Sabena (Belgium), Air France, TAP (Portugal), and TAAG (Angola). Air Namibia, Air Zimbabwe, Air Ethiopia, Air Gabon, and South African Airlines offer regional service.


Telephones and Telecommunications Last Updated: 11/14/2003 11:59 AM

Angola’s telephone system is poor. Local and international telephone connections can be difficult to make and can be extremely frustrating and expensive. The telephone system is slowly being changed to digital, but problems are still rampant.

Post has a good MITEL internal telephone system at the Chancery and the Administrative Annex that will soon be linked, and all Embassy staff members are issued cellular telephones. Embassy staffers depend on handheld radios for local communications.

Wireless Service Last Updated: 11/14/2003 12:00 AM Luanda’s cellular telephone system is estimated to be 400% oversubscribed, and connections, particularly during business hours, are difficult to make.

Internet Last Updated: 11/14/2003 12:00 AM

Internet access is also available through two service providers, Netangola and Ebonet, costing about $400 per year for unlimited usage.

Mail and Pouch Last Updated: 11/14/2003 12:01 AM

The weekly pouch sent to Washington closes on Monday mornings. Transit time to Washington averages 5 days. Weekly incoming pouches from Washington take 2–3 weeks to arrive. Luanda has no APO service. All incoming mail must meet standard pouch requirements of size, weight, and excluded items, such as glass and liquids. Pouch address for mail is:

Full Name Department of State 2550 Luanda Place Washington, D.C. 20521–2550

It is advisable to send all mail by pouch. Angolan mail service is slow to nonexistent. Transit time for international mail can range from 14 days to 4 months. Pilferage and lost mail are considerable problems in the local postal system. The local postal system is not considered safe or reliable for use. International address is:

Full Name American Embassy Luanda C. P. 6484 Luanda, Angola

The DHL courier service is another way of receiving packages or mail quickly and efficiently, as quickly as a week for mail from the U.S. However, the cost of sending mail or packages by DHL is approximately $70–$100.

Radio and TV Last Updated: 11/14/2003 12:02 AM

Luanda’s local radio stations broadcast on AM, FM, and SW. Programs concentrate on popular music and local news, with programs from 6 am until midnight daily. Shortwave broadcasts from Europe, North America, and Africa are the best source for international news and can be received without much difficulty.

Angolan television (TPA) transmits daily in color, with programming consisting of news, sports, cartoons, soap operas, cultural programs, and movies from the U.S., Europe, and Brazil. International programs are usually telecast in original languages with Portuguese subtitles. A multi-system 120/220v television, video, or stereo system is required; local television transmissions are in PAL–1. Some Embassy residents subscribe to satellite cable TV. The Embassy compound receives AFRTS and CNN.

Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals Last Updated: 11/14/2003 12:02 AM

Almost all publications in Angola are in Portuguese; a few French books are also available. The main local newspaper, the state-run Jornal de Angola, is published daily. Several independent newspapers (also in Portuguese) are published weekly or biweekly. English-language publications are difficult to obtain in Angola. It is advisable to receive magazines, newspapers, and books by pouch mail or subscribe to an internet service.

Health and Medicine

Medical Facilities Last Updated: 11/14/2003 12:02 AM

The government-run hospitals are substandard by Western criteria and lack such basics as medicines, supplies, or trained staff, and are often without water, electricity, and sanitary facilities. There is one dental office recommended by the Health Unit nurse for basic dental care.

The Embassy has a local contract nurse available in the Embassy Health Unit three mornings a week for routine visits and dispensing medications. The contract nurse or a recommended private clinic first screens persons with illnesses or injuries before they can be referred for medical treatment outside of Angola. There is also a locally hired physician for the FSNs.

The regional medical officer, based in Pretoria, South Africa, makes quarterly visits to post and is readily available for consultations via telephone, e-mail, cable, or high-frequency radio. However, in case of emergency, there are several adequate general practice medical clinics that Embassy personnel may use until patients can be stabilized for evacuation. Although there is adequate dental care available in Luanda for routine or emergency treatment, Embassy personnel are normally sent to South Africa or Namibia for oral surgery procedures.

Community Health Last Updated: 11/14/2003 12:03 AM

Because of the poor living and health conditions within the capital city’s neighborhoods, disease, illness, and malnutrition are commonplace among the majority of Luanda’s population. Warm weather and standing water from rains create a rampant breeding area for mosquitoes, and malaria is a common and dangerous threat to the population throughout Angola. Dust is also a continuous problem, and many people suffer from allergies and sinus trouble.

Recently a beautification project called Urbana 2000 was begun to try to beautify and clean up the city’s image. Though Luanda’s garbage collection system operates regularly, garbage and trash still ends up in the streets. Air pollution from dust, automobile exhaust, and burning garbage is heavy. City water is badly contaminated by raw sewage, human waste, and other toxic substances. Because of the poor living conditions, the average life expectancy for local citizens is only 45 years.

Preventive Measures Last Updated: 11/14/2003 12:04 AM

Luanda is afflicted with virtually every disease known to mankind. There are incidents of the following illnesses: hepatitis types A, B, C, measles, typhoid fever, polio, leprosy, amoebic infestations (whipworm, roundworm, amebiasis, and giardia lambia), cholera, yellow fever, filaria, tetanus, meningitis, trypanosomiasis, rabies, tuberculosis, syphilis, and two varieties of AIDS. HIV and hepatitis contaminate the local blood supply. HIV/AIDS precautions are strongly recommended. Malaria is a serious continuing health risk because of the warm climate and a lack of community programs to combat it. Luanda is normally dry and dusty for 9 months of the year; as a result, some individuals are troubled with sinus, allergy, and respiratory problems.

It is recommended that vaccinations, including yellow fever, typhoid, rabies, hepatitis A, B, C, and meningitis, be updated prior to coming to post, but for those requiring a vaccination series they can be completed at post. All dental work and checkups should be completed before arriving at post. Antimalarial precautions are a must, with Mefloquine or Doxycycline being the prophylaxis of choice. It is recommended that malaria prophylaxis begin a week prior to arrival at post. An ample supply of over-the-counter medications should be shipped in household effects (HHE).

Post provides bottled drinking water, as drinking local tap water is very hazardous. Care must be taken when dining out, as food poisoning is common, although not necessarily in restaurants frequented by expatriates. All locally grown produce should be soaked in iodine or bleach solution before consuming, and care should be taken with the purchase and cooking of local meats and fish.

In sum, Angola, and Luanda in particular, is a place for the relatively healthy who are free of any major or continuing health problems.

Employment for Spouses and Dependents Last Updated: 11/14/2003 12:05 AM

At present it is not possible for spouses or dependents to work on the local economy, though a reciprocal work agreement is being negotiated. There are also limited spouse employment opportunities in the Embassy and other U.S. Government agencies. The U.N. sometimes has openings, but these are very limited in number, and competition for them is intense. There are multiple opportunities to do volunteer work with non-government organizations (NGOs) and other groups.

American Embassy - Luanda

Post City Last Updated: 11/14/2003 12:06 AM

The capital city, Luanda, is less than 9 degrees south of the Equator, but the Antarctic-fueled Benguela Ocean current, which cools the coastal areas during much of the year, tempers the rigors of tropical heat. Luanda is located on a narrow coastal plain, which quickly gives way to a vast plateau and the highland regions of the interior.

Luanda City overlooks the South Atlantic Ocean, the “island” peninsula (Ilha do Cabo), and the natural harbor and port. The most prominent and historical landmark is the ancient Portuguese fort left over from colonial days that overlooks the ocean as well as the city. Many of the buildings in the city are highrises, mainly hotels and apartment buildings. There is much architectural history in Luanda, which can still be seen in some of the renovation work, particularly the “Cidade Alta” new Government complex.

Large numbers of internally displaced persons are included in Luanda’s population of approximately 3 million people, many of them living in huge, maze-like neighborhoods of sun-dried, mud brick shacks known as “musseques.” These musseques, which seemingly mushroom almost overnight, have no utilities or public services, no running water or electricity, and no sanitation systems.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 11/14/2003 12:09 AM

The U.S. Embassy was officially opened with the establishment of American diplomatic relations with Angola on June 22, 1993. Prior to the establishment of an Embassy in Angola, American interests were handled by the Italian Embassy from 1975 until 1991, followed in 1991 by a U.S. Liaison Office. USAID formally opened its mission to Luanda in 1996, although it had maintained a representative in country since 1991.

The Embassy Chancery is located on the Miramar Compound (a .66-acre site), which sits on the hillside overlooking Luanda Bay. The Miramar Compound consists of 10 mobile homes, three travel trailers, three pre-fabricated office buildings, a safe-haven, a swimming pool, a warehouse, and a guard/gate house. The Administrative and Consular Sections are located about 1½ miles away from the Chancery in the “Casa Inglesa” office building, located above an auto repair shop in downtown Luanda. The USAID office is located in a separate building downtown. The U.S. Mission in Luanda currently has a staff of 22 State, 3 DOD, and 3 AID direct-hire employees. AID also has 4 U.S. PSCs. The Mission has two third-country nationals (TCNs) and 90 Foreign Service nationals (FSNs). Construction of a new consolidated Embassy building on the Miramar compound is tentatively scheduled to begin in 2001.

The Embassy operates on a 40-hour work week, with hours from 8 am to 6 pm, Monday through Thursday, and from 8 am to noon on Fridays. The Embassy honors all U.S. Federal holidays and about eight local Angolan holidays. Addresses and telephone numbers for the Chancery and administrative/consular annex are:

Embassy Compound, Miramar: Rua Houari Boumedienne #32 Caixa Postal 6468 Luanda, Angola

Telephone Numbers: (244)(2) 445–481 (244)(2) 446–224 (244)(2) 447–028 (244)(2) 446–924 (Chancery Fax) (871)–683–133–246 (INMARSAT Telephone)

Web Site:

Administrative/ Consular Annex: “Casa Inglesa” Rua Major Kahangulo, #132/ 136 Caixa Postal 6468 Luanda, Angola

Telephone Numbers: (244)(2) 396–727 (244)(2) 392–498 (244)(2) 395–371 (244)(2) 390–515 (Fax)

USAID Offices Rua Kwamme N’krumah, #31 (Edificio Maianga), 4th Floor

Telephone Numbers: (244)(2) 399–518 (244)(2) 399–519 (244)(2) 399–520 (244)(2) 399–521 (Fax) (244)(2) 399–522 (Fax)


Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 11/14/2003 12:10 AM

Short-term visitors generally stay in one of several Western standard hotels, including Hotel Presidente-Meridien, Hotel Continental, and Hotel Tropico. With the diplomatic discount the rooms run between $120–$170 per night, which includes breakfast. Food consumed in the hotel restaurants can be expensive but is covered by the per diem rate. Temporary quarters are also available in fully furnished travel trailers and mobile homes on the Chancery (Miramar) compound. USAID personnel either stay in a hotel or in temporary duty (TDY) apartments.

Permanent Housing Last Updated: 11/14/2003 12:10 AM

Personnel assigned to Luanda are assigned to permanent housing by the post Housing Board soon after notice of their posting to Angola, based on regulations pertaining to the employee’s grade, family size, and stated preferences. In most cases, personnel go directly to their assigned home upon arrival. Adequate housing is difficult to obtain in Luanda, and rental prices are very high. Mission housing consists of rented houses, townhouses, and apartments. Most of the housing is located in residential areas or downtown apartments convenient to the Embassy and Administrative annex. Details on individual houses and apartments can be obtained from the post administrative officer. All are fully furnished homes.

Furnishings Last Updated: 11/14/2003 12:11 AM

Embassy housing is furnished with complete dining, living, and bedroom sets. Master bedrooms are furnished with queen-sized beds. Some houses have no closets or cupboards, but the Embassy does provide armoires and tries to install shelving, as possible. Government-provided appliances and furnishings include a refrigerator, stove, washer and dryer, freezer, microwave oven, and vacuum cleaner. The Embassy supplies a Welcome Kit to new arrivals that includes towels, linens, pots and pans, dishes, glassware, iron and ironing board, toaster, and coffee maker, which is adequate until an individual’s UAB shipment arrives. Personnel are authorized to ship up to 7,200 pounds of HHE and 250 pounds of UAB. However, storage space in most housing is limited, and post has no facilities to store excess personal effects. The Embassy is gradually adding more bookcases and patio furniture to homes, but newcomers are advised to bring these items if they have them. Throw rugs or medium-size carpets are helpful; most homes have tile or parquet floors. Curtains can be made locally, but newcomers are urged to order them readymade from the U.S. and be reimbursed.

Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 11/14/2003 12:11 AM

Running water is available throughout much of the city, though outages do occur. All Embassy housing includes a water tank with a pump. Because of the inconsistency of the electricity, all housing has generators. Electricity is 220 volts, 50-cycle electrical power. Power outlets are the standard European two round prong. Four transformers are provided per home for major appliances. However, HHE should include smaller transformers for use with small personal appliances. Persons planning to bring sensitive electronic equipment to post should also bring a voltage regulator, UPS, and/or surge protector, as voltage may fluctuate as much as 10%. It is also advisable to bring only battery-operated clocks to post.

Food Last Updated: 11/14/2003 12:12 AM

Personnel are authorized 2,500 pounds of consumables. Most basic items (dairy products, eggs, butter, bread, sugar, flour, beans, rice, fresh and frozen meats, and limited amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables) can be purchased locally in open-air markets and supermarkets (Jumbo, Afri-Belg, and Intermarket) or in hard currency stores (ES-KO and Cantina Palança). Items in the hard-currency stores are expensive compared to Washington, D.C. prices, but not prohibitive. Fresh fruits and vegetables are grown locally or imported from South Africa with a moderate amount of variety (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, onions, lettuce, apples, oranges, mangos, papayas, bananas, etc.). Items purchased in the open-air markets are sold “as is.” Care must be taken with these items, especially in the proper cleaning of all fresh produce. Fresh local fish is also abundant and reasonable. Alcoholic beverages are also found in a wide variety, such as wines from South Africa and Europe, beers from Angola, South Africa, Namibia, and hard liquors. Embassy personnel may also order foodstuffs, including perishables, on a bimonthly basis from South Africa. Due to the cost of air shipment, prices are high, but an employee’s consumable allowance (except military personnel) can be used to defray shipping costs for the first year of their tour.

Suggested items for consumables shipment include favorite snack foods, microwave popcorn, spices, seasoning mixes, dry salad dressing or dip mixes, and pancake syrup. Also suggested is mayonnaise, Bisquick, whole-wheat flour, pancake, muffin, and cake mixes, peanut butter, any dietetic foods or drinks, and gourmet foods that cannot be found easily (e.g., sun-dried tomatoes). Most of the above items can be found in Luanda but quality, quantity, and prices vary widely.

Clothing Last Updated: 11/14/2003 12:13 AM

Locally available clothing is unacceptable by American standards. Size, selection, and availability are extremely limited. It is advisable to bring all clothing items and shoes with you. There are no local taboos regarding clothing, and the majority of people in Luanda dress in the “Western” style. As Luanda has a tropical climate, any type of washable cotton/linen tropical wear would be well suited for day and nighttime use. Replenishment of clothing items is done most often by catalog purchase through the pouch system. Clothes can also be bought in South Africa at reasonable prices and are of good quality.

Luanda’s year-round climate is generally sunny, hot, and humid. Washable 100% cotton clothing is recommended, as dry cleaning facilities are unreliable. Comfortable, durable walking shoes are also recommended. Life, in general, and social functions, in particular, tend to be casual in the expatriate community. Angolans, on the other hand, always dress well for functions. A dark suit/short cocktail dress should be brought to post. Since winter (June–July) evenings can be cool, light jackets or sweaters are also recommended.

Military personnel should bring one or two sets of BDU’s, Class A’s, Class B’s, and dress blues/dress mess (attache’s mandatory; OPSCO, recommended). Ensure you possess all uniform accoutrements before arrival.

Supplies and Services

Supplies Last Updated: 11/14/2003 12:14 AM

It is recommended that all supplies for everyday life be brought to post. Even though most of the items may be found in Luanda, they are not always available, and quality may be questionable or the brand name unfamiliar. For example, these items should be considered for inclusion in HHE: toiletries, cosmetics, personal hygiene products, home medicines, drugs, common household needs and other conveniences commonly used for housekeeping, household repairs, or entertaining.

When preparing to ship HHE, consider including some of the following items: bedding (especially bed pillows), towels, small throw rugs for kitchen and bath areas, two shower curtains with hooks, pictures, throw pillows, laundry detergent, spray starch, coffeemaker, steam iron, ironing board, all paper products, and all cleaning products. Suggestions for the kitchen are: pots and pans, dishes, glassware, silverware, kitchen utensils, table and kitchen linens, plastic wrap, plastic freezer storage bags, aluminum foil, any baking items, and hand mixer or food processor (220v). For personal health: general medications and all personal hygiene products. For entertainment: hardcover and paperback books, multi-system TV (with PAL-1 for local viewing), VCR, and stereo equipment. Bring hobby supplies, such as gardening tools, personal exercise equipment, and any extra personal items needed for entertaining. Bring all sporting equipment and picnic/beach items to post with you. Some suggested items are fishing gear, snorkel gear, water skiing equipment, coolers, thermos jugs, small charcoal grills, plastic/paper picnic utensils, beach umbrellas, and beach chairs. Though most of the above items can be found locally in some form, these are expensive, and some items may be of questionable quality.

Basic Services Last Updated: 11/14/2003 12:15 AM

Luanda has one drycleaner shop that is considered adequate, plus a few well-regarded, reasonably priced barbershops and beauty salons. There are auto repair shops in town that have received mixed reviews and are not inexpensive.

Domestic Help Last Updated: 11/14/2003 12:15 AM

Domestic help is readily available at reasonable rates, usually payable in U.S. dollars. However, those employed who have not worked before for Americans may need training, and most speak only Portuguese. Currently, there is no requirement for pension, social security, or retirement payments for domestic help. All household help should have a medical exam and routine security background check prior to beginning work.

Religious Activities Last Updated: 11/14/2003 12:15 AM

There are missionaries of all faiths living in Angola. Although their principal role is humanitarian assistance, many do hold religious services for their individual faiths. There is a large number of Catholic, Baptist, and Methodist churches in Luanda. The Catholic church has a resident cardinal, and the Methodist church has a resident bishop. Church facilities are simple; most services are conducted in Portuguese, and attendance by Angolans is normally high. An English nondenominational church group meets every Sunday morning and is open to everyone.


Dependent Education Last Updated: 11/14/2003 12:16 AM

The International School of Luanda (LIS) instructs in English as a first language and has a preschool and kindergarten, as well as grades 1–8. It is a member of the Association of International Schools in Africa (AISA) and is listed in the worldwide International Education Handbook. The school is working in conjunction with the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) and their Primary Years Program and is also seeking U.S. accreditation. There are also French and Portuguese schools in Luanda, and a daycare/nursery school is available at the Swedish compound near the Miramar Compound.

Special Needs Education Last Updated: 11/14/2003 12:16 AM

No special education facilities are available in Angola.

Recreation and Social Life

Sports Last Updated: 11/14/2003 12:17 AM

The national sports of Angola are soccer and basketball. Local games are held regularly. Angola also sponsors tennis, European handball, basketball, and field hockey teams. Dance, aerobics, karate, and “capoeira” lessons are available, located at several different fitness gyms and at reasonable prices. Runners can participate in the Hash House Harriers, a weekly “Fun Run” sponsored by the British Embassy, and more informal events.

The Miramar Compound has a small swimming pool. There is also a treadmill and stationary bicycle for exercise located in the recreational trailer on compound.

The city has a tennis club; court rental is $10 per hour for non-members. Bring shoes, rackets, and balls sufficient to last a tour. Reasonably priced tennis lessons are available through private arrangement.

Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 11/14/2003 12:17 AM

Because of the security situation, there is little chance to travel within Angola. Mission personnel are restricted to staying within 20 kilometers of the center of Luanda; to travel beyond this limit, an employee must first obtain written approval from the Chief of Mission. Mission personnel fly to interior cities on U.N. or petroleum company aircraft on official business.

The Embassy has two boats with outboard motors available for rental. The Mussulo Peninsula has nice beaches off the main coast, just a short boat ride from the city. Several pristine and uncrowded beaches further south are accessible by road. Sport fishing is also popular, and the waters just off the coast have an abundant supply of many types of game fish. Anthropology and natural history museums are found downtown. There is a historic fort overlooking the bay. Other attractions outside of Luanda, but within the 20-km security limit, include the Slave Museum and the arts and crafts market.

Entertainment Last Updated: 11/14/2003 12:18 AM

Entertainment in Luanda is limited. The CLO office has a small video and book library. The recreation trailer on the Miramar Compound has a combination TV/videocassette player that receives CNN International and Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS). Periodically, Alliance Française and the Portuguese Cultural Center will have special cultural programs to which all are invited. There is a small theater with local groups performing. Most people dine out for entertainment. Nightclubs, jazz clubs, and many relatively good restaurants serve Angolan, Portuguese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Spanish, and Cuban cuisine. Restaurants in Angola are expensive by U.S. standards.

Social Activities

Among Americans Last Updated: 11/14/2003 12:18 AM Periodically, Embassy personnel hold informal gatherings. One is the “happy hour” every Friday night beside the Embassy pool. The group called Os Comiloes meets periodically to try out new restaurants and to socialize. There is also a book club whose members include Embassy personnel and Americans from the community. Board game nights are routinely hosted in the homes of personnel.

International Contacts Last Updated: 11/14/2003 12:19 AM International contacts among the U.N., diplomatic, and expatriate communities are common. Many informal dinners, receptions, and other types of activities are held on a routine basis (see section on Sports). Angolans are usually friendly toward foreigners and have a special affinity for Americans. They especially like to be invited into people’s homes. Ample opportunities to get to know the people, customs, and cultures of Angola exist. However, a working knowledge of Portuguese is extremely helpful in making host country contacts.

Official Functions

Nature of Functions Last Updated: 11/14/2003 12:19 AM

Because of the ongoing civil war and difficulties in the capital city, there are fewer large official functions than in many other capitals. Each Embassy generally hosts a reception for its national day. Other functions typically are small dinners or cocktail receptions at the homes of individual diplomats or in restaurants, clubs, and theaters.

Standards of Social Conduct Last Updated: 11/14/2003 12:20 AM

Printed invitation cards are used for official functions. However, many people choose to use the telephone or make personal contact to extend invitations for dinners or outings. Printed business cards are widely used by the diplomatic corps, business community, and government officials. Bring a large supply of printed cards to post. Formal dress is the exception rather than the norm. Dress is most often informal (jacket without tie) or even casual, such as would be worn to a barbecue or beach outing.

Special Information Last Updated: 11/14/2003 12:21 AM

A visa and a current yellow fever vaccination are required for entry into Angola.

A travel warning is in effect for Angola. Personnel planning to travel to post should refer to the Bureau of Consular Affairs web site for specific information.

The security situation in Luanda requires caution. Civil war, banditry and landmines make travel throughout Angola unsafe. Street crime, sometimes violent, is common in Luanda and in other urban centers. Police, who often carry automatic weapons, patrol city streets. They are unpredictable, and their authority should not be challenged. Travel in many parts of Luanda is relatively safe by day, but doors must be locked, windows rolled up, and packages stored out of sight. Police checkpoints contribute to unsafe travel on roads leading out of the city. Visitors are strongly advised to avoid unnecessary travel after dark. All visitors are required at the earliest opportunity to contact the Embassy security officer for a briefing.

A 20-kilometer travel restriction outside Luanda is currently in effect. Travel outside the 20-kilometer area requires RSO and Chief of Mission approval.

Post Orientation Program

Luanda does not hold a formal post orientation program. Embassy community sponsors are assigned to each newcomer to help him/her get acquainted and to adjust to his/her new home. Since the U.S. and international communities are small, orientation is informal and social. The Embassy maintains a small collection of books on Angola, including works on history, religion, culture, and geography. A basic knowledge of Portuguese is a necessity for a successful tour in Angola. Post has a limited language-training program. Individual tutoring with native speaking instructors is available.

Notes For Travelers

Getting to the Post Last Updated: 11/14/2003 12:22 AM

There are four main air routes used in reaching Luanda: U.S./Lisbon/Luanda; U.S./Paris/Luanda; U.S./Brussels/ Luanda; and U.S./Johannesburg/Luanda. Early notification to post of travel plans is important. The Fly America Act does not apply to travel between Angola and European countries. Entry visas for Angola should be obtained in Washington, D.C. prior to traveling to post. It is also a good idea to get visas for other African countries that may be visited before leaving Washington, D.C.

HHE shipments are routed from the U.S. by sea through the European Logistical Supply Office (ELSO), Antwerp, Belgium, and from there by air to Angola. For military personnel, all HHE is sent by air to Angola. UAB may also be routed through ELSO and takes about 6 weeks once it has been turned over to the airlines in the U.S. Automobiles come containerized via ship and can take as long as 4 months to arrive. Check with the post management officer and transportation specialist prior to consigning shipments to a packing company. Please ensure that personal effects are carefully wrapped and packed in waterproof paper. All items should be encased in plywood and banded with metal. Your name should be marked on each case. Prior to your arrival at post, please provide the Embassy with an inventory of your personal effects. Remember to insure all shipments. Effects shipped to Luanda should be marked as follows:

American Embassy (Name or Initials) Rua Major Kahangulo, 132/136 Luanda, Angola

Customs, Duties, and Passage

Customs and Duties Last Updated: 11/14/2003 12:22 AM

Duty-free entry is extended to all personal effects, consumables, and automobiles, both initial and follow-on. Please note that only one automobile may be imported tax free. A second car is subject to all duties, taxes, and shipping costs. You may also order items from the U.S. through the diplomatic pouch (see section on Mail and Pouch). Bring at least a dozen small, color, passport-sized photographs for each family member to use for identity cards, driver licenses, etc.

Pets Last Updated: 11/14/2003 12:23 AM

Quarantine is not required for pets brought to Angola. Dogs and cats must have rabies shots within 6 months, but not less than 30 days prior to arrival at post. Heartworm medication is also advised. Limited pet food is available locally, and what is available is very expensive. An ample supply of all food and pet care items should be shipped with consumables as well as in HHE. The mange parasite is prevalent in Angola; infection may occur if a pet comes in contact with infected animals. There are several private practice veterinarians in Luanda. No kennel facilities are available.

Firearms and Ammunition Last Updated: 11/14/2003 12:23 AM

The Government of Angola prohibits the importation of any type of personal firearms or ammunition.

Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures Last Updated: 11/14/2003 12:24 AM

Angola’s currency is the kwanza. The exchange rate is market-determined. U.S. paper currency (no coins) is widely accepted in Angola. Angolan kwanzas are not convertible outside of Angola.

Banking practices are unreliable. It is advisable to use your stateside bank, with direct deposit for all payroll or voucher transactions. Traveler checks are not generally accepted outside the Mission. Credit cards are accepted at major hotels and by a few businesses that cater to the expatriate communities. Otherwise, credit cards are not accepted.

Angola uses the metric system of weights and measures.

Taxes, Exchange, and Sale of Property Last Updated: 11/14/2003 12:24 AM

Diplomat personnel resident in Angola do not have to pay taxes when purchasing vehicles in Angola. Cars registered in Angola for less than 3 years are taxed on a sliding scale for buyers not on the diplomatic list.

There are no restrictions on the resale of personal property.

Recommended Reading Last Updated: 11/14/2003 12:31 AM

These titles are provided as a general indication of the material published on this country. The Department of State does not endorse unofficial publications.

Web Sites

Angolan Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Angola’s Official Web Site

Angola Business and Economics

Angola Press

UNITA’s Homepage

R dio Eccl‚sia-Catholic Emissary in Angola

Lusofone Web Site-gossip (chat room), information, and other links.


Abbot, Peter. et al. Modern African Wars: Angola and Mozambique 1961– 1974. Men-At-Arms Series, 1994.

Angola Unravels: The Rise and Fall of the Lusaka Peace Process. Mass market paperback, 1999.

Antsee, Margaret. Orphan of the Cold War.

Ayo, Yvonne. Eyewitness Africa. London: Dorling Kindersley, 1995.

Bender, Gerald I. Angola Under the Portuguese. University of California Press: Berkley, 1980.

Birmingham, David. Frontline Nationalism in Angola and Mozambique. 1993.

Birmingham, David. Portugal and Africa. 1999.

Bredin, Miles, and Harriet Logan (photographer). Blood on the Tracks: A Rail Journey from Angola to Mozambique. 1995.

Britten, Victoria. The Death of Dignity: Angola’s Civil War. 1998.

Bowdich. Account of the Discoveries of the Portuguese in the Interior of Angola and Mozambique. 1974.

Ciment, James. Angola and Mozambique: Post Colonial Wars in Southern Africa (Conflict and Crisis in the Post-Cold War World). 1997.

Collelo, Thomas, ed. Angola: A Country Study. Third edition. Federal Research Division, Library of Congress, 1990.

Crocker, Chester. High Noon in Southern Africa.

Hare, Paul J. Angola’s Last Best Chance for Peace: An Insider’s Account of the Peace Process, U.S. Institute of Peace Press: Washington, D.C., 1998.

Henderson, Lawrence. Angola: Five Centuries of Conflict.

Hothschild, Adam. King Leopold’s Ghost.

Jolicoeur, Suzanne. The Arc of Socialist Revolutions: Angola to Afghanistan. 1982.

Kapuscinski, Ryszaro. Another Day of Life.

Kelly, Robert C., et al. Angola Country Review 1999/2000. 1999.

Laure, Jason. Angola (Enchantment of the World). Library series, 1990.

Lee, Richard E. (introduction) Congo and Angola Regions, 1999. (Not yet released to the public.)

Maier, Karl, and Serif Lies. Angola Promises (paperback): London, 1996.

Marcum, John. The Angolan Revolution.

Matloff, Judith. Fragments of a Forgotten War. 1997.

Minter, William. Apartheid’s Contras: An Inquiry into the Roots of War in Angola and Mozambique. 1994.

Okuma, Thomas. Angola in Ferment. 1974.

Sean Sheehan, Angola: Cultures of the World. 18 Marshall Cavendish Corporation. 1999.

Somerville, Keith. Angola: Politics, Economics, and Society (Marxist Regimes Series). 1986.

Spikes, Daniel. Angola and the Politics of Intervention.

Tvedten, Inge, et al. Angola: Struggle for Peace and Reconstruction (Nations of the Modern World, Africa). 1997.

Van der Winden, Bob, ed. A Family of the Musseque. Oxford, England: WorldView Publishing, 1996.

Warner, Rachel. Refugees. Hove, England: Wayland Ltd., 1996.

Watson, James. No Surrender: A Story of Angola. London: Lions Tracks, 1992.

Wilson, T. Ernest. Angola Beloved. 1998.

Wright, George. The Destruction of a Nation: United States Policy Toward Angola Since 1945. 1997.

Local Holidays Last Updated: 11/14/2003 12:30 AM

In addition to U.S. Government holidays, the post observes the following local national holidays:

Dia dos Mártires de Repressâo Colonial Jan. 4 Dia do Início da Luta Armada Feb. 4 Carnaval varies Dia International da Mulher Mar. 8 Sexta-Feira Santa April 13 Dia International de Trabalhador May 1 Dia International de Criança June 1 Dia do Fundador da Nação Sept. 17 Dia do Finados/Memorial Day Nov. 2 Angolan Independence Day (Sunday) Nov. 11

Adapted from material published by the U.S. Department of State. While some of the information is specific to U.S. missions abroad, the post report provides a good overview of general living conditions in the host country for diplomats from all nations.
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