A country sharing Africa’s southwestern coastline with the Atlantic Ocean, the Republic of Angola shipped an estimated US$42.1 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2018. That dollar amount reflects a -28.2% decline since 2014 but a 20.9% uptick from 2017 to 2018.
2017 data shows that 87% of products exported from Angola were bought by importers in: China (56% of the global total), India (8.3%), Taiwan (4%), South Africa (3.9%), Canada (3.1%), United States (3.1%), Spain (2.9%), United Arab Emirates (2.8%), Malaysia (1.6%) and Italy (1.3%).
Applying a continental lens, almost four-fifths of Angolan exports by value were delivered to Asian countries while 7.8% were sold to importers in Europe. Angola shipped another 6.2% worth of goods to North America, with 4.9% going to fellow African nations. Smaller percentages went to Latin America (2.3%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean and Oceania (0.01%) led by Australia.
Given Angola’s population of 30.4 million people, its total $42.1 billion in 2018 exports translates to roughly $1,400 for every resident in the southwestern African country.
In macroeconomic terms, Angola’s total exported goods represent 21.1% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2018 ($199.3 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 21.1% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2018 compares to 21.7% for 2014, seeming to indicate a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Angola’s total economic performance. And while this article focuses on exported goods, it is interesting to note that Angola also provided $631.1 million worth of exports-related services to global customers for an additional 0.3% of GDP in PPP.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Angola’s unemployment rate was projected to be 20% in 2018, according to Trading Economics.
Angola’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Angolan global shipments during 2018. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Angola.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US$40.7 billion (96.8% of total exports)
- Gems, precious metals: $972.7 million (2.3%)
- Fish: $132.5 million (0.3%)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $39.7 million (0.1%)
- Wood: $33.5 million (0.1%)
- Machinery including computers: $31.2 million (0.1%)
- Aluminum: $23.6 million (0.1%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $18.1 million (0.04%)
- Food industry waste, animal fodder: $16.8 million (0.04%)
- Articles of iron or steel: $12.9 million (0.03%)
Angola’s top 10 exports are highly concentrated, accounting for 99.8% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Aluminum was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up by 196.7% year over year since 2017.
In second place for improving export sales was food industry waste and animal fodder thanks to a 138.7% acceleration.
Angola’s shipments of fish posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 134.7% year over year.
The leading decliner among the top 10 Angola export categories was machinery including computers via an -84.3% reduction.
From the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, crude oil represents Angola’s most valuable exported product at 91.3% of the country’s total. In second place was petroleum gases (4.9%) trailed by unset diamonds (2.3%), processed petroleum oils (0.6%), frozen whole fish (0.2%), monument/building stones including granite (0.1%), rough wood (also 0.1%) then crustaceans including lobsters (also 0.1%).
Overall Angola achieved an estimated $32.7 billion trade surplus for 2018, up by 69.1% from the $19.3 billion in black ink one year earlier.
The following types of Angolan product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.
In a nutshell, net exports reflect the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US$40.1 billion (Up by 27.7% since 2017)
- Gems, precious metals: $968.9 million (Down by -8.6%)
- Fish: $78.5 million (Reversing a -$118.8 million deficit)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $23.6 million (Reversing a -$31 million deficit)
- Ores, slag, ash: $6.8 million (Reversing a -$5.7 million deficit)
- Lead: $6.1 million (Reversing a -$7,000 deficit)
- Wood: $5.1 million (Down by -91.8%)
- Copper: $975,000 (Reversing an -$11.1 million deficit)
- Live animals: $746,000 (Reversing a -$6.4 million deficit)
Angola has highly positive net exports in the international trade of crude oil and, to a lesser extent, petroleum gases. In turn, these cashflows indicate Angola’s strong competitive advantages under mineral fuels including oil category.
Below are exports from Angola that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Angola’s goods trail Angolan importer spending on foreign products.
- Machinery including computers: -US$1.4 billion (Down by -36.5% since 2017)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$705.9 million (Down by -29.7%)
- Meat: -$483.9 million (Down by -32.8%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$380.3 million (Down by -4.4%)
- Vehicles : -$337.7 million (Down by -52.9%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$329.2 million (Down by -33.2%)
- Cereals: -$297 million (Up by 614.3%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: -$273 million (Up by 147.9%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefab buildings: -$226.9 million (Up by 29.6%)
- Footwear: -$219.9 million (Up by 125.2%)
Angola has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the machinery including computers category.
Angolan Export Companies
No Angolan corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000.
Wikipedia lists exports-related companies from Angola. Selected examples are shown below:
- Angola Cables (fibreoptics)
- Angola LNG (natural gas)
- Cuca beer (alcoholic beverages)
- Endiama (diamonds)
- Secil Maritima (shipping)
- Sonangol Group (oil, gas)
- Transafrik International (cargo airliner)
- Unitel Angola (mobile phones)
Angola’s capital city is Luanda.
See also Nigeria’s Top 10 Exports, South Africa’s Top 10 Exports and Capital Facts for Luanda, Angola
Forbes 2016 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on June 24, 2018
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on July 5, 2019
The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on June 24, 2018
Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on July 5, 2019
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on June 24, 2018
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on July 5, 2019
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Angola. Accessed on June 24, 2018
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on July 5, 2019