Angola Travel Information

Photo Civil war has been the norm in Angola since independence from Portugal in 1975. A 1994 peace accord between the government and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) provided for the integration of former UNITA insurgents into the government and armed forces. A national unity government was installed in April of 1997, but serious fighting resumed in late 1998, rendering hundreds of thousands of people homeless. Up to 1.5 million lives may have been lost in fighting over the past quarter century. The death of insurgent leader Jonas SAVIMBI in 2002 and a subsequent cease-fire with UNITA may bode well for the country.

Angola has three main ethnic groups, each speaking a Bantu language: Ovimbundu 37%, Kimbundu 25%, and Bakongo 13%. Other groups include Chokwe, Lunda, Ganguela, Nhaneca-Humbe, Ambo, Herero, and Xindunga. In addition, mixed racial (European and African) people amount to about 2%, with a small (1%) population of whites, mainly ethnically Portuguese.

In 1482, when the Portuguese first landed in what is now northern Angola, they encountered the Kingdom of the Congo, which stretched from modern Gabon in the north to the Kwanza River in the south. Mbanza Congo, the capital, had a population of 50,000 people. South of this kingdom were various important states, of which the Kingdom of Ndongo, ruled by the ngola (king), was most significant. Modern Angola derives its name from the king of Ndongo.

Angola has a fast-growing economy largely due to a major oil boom, but it also ranks in the bottom 10 of almost every socioeconomic indicator. Aside from the oil sector and diamonds, it is in economic disarray because of 27 years of nearly continuous warfare, corruption, and economic mismanagement. Despite abundant natural resources, output per capita remains among the world's lowest. Subsistence agriculture and dependence on humanitarian food assistance sustain the large majority of the population.

The United States established formal diplomatic relations with the Government of Angola in 1993. Before 1989, U.S.-Angolan relations were defined by the Cold War. The United States initially supported Holden Roberto's FNLA and later Jonas Savimbi's UNITA against the pro-Soviet and pro-Cuban MPLA government in Luanda. Since 1992, the bilateral relationship has steadily improved. Policy planning talks between the United States and Angola occurred in March 2003.

Important: Travel to Angola may require a travel visa. Whether a visa is required for travel depends on citizenship and purpose of journey. Please be sure to review Travisa's Angola visa instructions for details. Visa instructions for other countries are available on our do I need a visa page.

Country Statistics

Full country name: Republic of Angola
Capital city: Luanda
Area: 1,246,700 sq km
Population: 18,056,072
Ethnic groups: Ovimbundu 37%, Kimbundu 25%, Bakongo 13%, mestico
Languages: Portuguese
Religions: indigenous beliefs 47%, Roman Catholic 38%, Protestant 15%
Government: republic
Chief of State: President Jose Eduardo DOS SANTOS
Head of Government: President Jose Eduardo DOS SANTOS
GDP: 116.3 billion
GDP per captia: 5,900
Annual growth rate: 3.9%
Inflation: 13.5%
Agriculture: bananas, sugarcane, coffee, sisal, corn, cotton, cassava
Major industries: petroleum
Natural resources: petroleum, diamonds, iron ore, phosphates, copper, feldspar, gold, bauxite, uranium
Location: Southern Africa, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Namibia and Democratic Republic of the Congo
Trade Partners - exports: China 38.1%, US 21.2%, India 9.2%, Canada 4.2%
Trade Partners - imports: Portugal 20.5%, China 17.8%, US 9.6%, Brazil 6.9%, South Africa 5.7%, France 5.1%