- Angola is the fifth largest economy in Africa and the third largest in Sub-Saharan Africa. It is the continent’s second largest oil producer after Nigeria.
- It is one of the fastest-growing economies globally, with an annual GDP growth averaging 10% since the end of the 27-year civil war in 2002, primarily due to its oil resources.
- During Angola’s oil production boom from 2002 to 2008, its gross domestic product grew by 15% per year on average, the fastest pace in Africa. Its GDP growth fell to 2.4% in 2009 due to the global financial crisis and the drop in oil prices.
- Economic growth here has recovered a bit since then, but has not reached previous levels. The GDP per capita increased by an average of 6.5% annually, from USD 3,413 in 2007 to USD 5,668 in 2013.
The compound bursts into life when the Maersk Line container arrives. Workers hurry to unload the paper rolls, which are essential to keeping the diapers, toilet rolls and serviettes rolling off the SICIE production lines.
From Viana, a densely populated district of Angola’s capital Luanda where the streets buzz with traffic and activity, SICIE’s Suave-branded products fan out across the country. The company employs some 1,500 people in its production lines and offices and is planning to expand to new premises to the north of the city.
Its business is built on reliable supply lines. Some 13 years after the end of its civil war, Angola’s economy is growing rapidly. However, it also remains highly dependent on oil and gas and still produces little of its own needs – so manufacturing companies like SICIE rely on imports to keep their businesses running.
Turnover has grown some 20 times since 2000, and Chief Executive Officer Sameer Jaffer expects an additional growth of 10% over the next three years.
“There is no downside to what has been happening in the last 12 to 14 years,” Jaffer says. “If I were to advise anyone on what it is like to set up a business in this country, I would say that things are getting easier, and it would be a great idea to do so.”
“The future looks like there’s lots of sunshine at the end of the road,” he adds.
A real change
The rapid development of Angola since the end of the year has left infrastructure and manufacturing still needing to catch up, says Claudio Marcos Rosa, Managing Director of Maersk Line in Angola. Around the sprawling and traffic-choked capital Luanda, the hulks of new buildings reach upwards and its pot-holed roads are in constant need of overhaul.