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Focus on Angola

VitalStatistics

Population: 18,056,072
Monetary unit: Kwanza
Capital city: Luanda
Major languages: Portuguese (official), Bantu and other African languages
Major religions: indigenous beliefs 47%, Roman Catholic 38%, Protestant 15%
Ethnic composition: Ovimbundu 37%, Kimbundu 25%, Bakongo 13%, mestico (mixed European and native African) 2%, European 1%, other 22%
Age breakdown: 0-14 years: 43.9%; 15-64 years: 53.2%; 65 years and over: 2.9%
Life expectancy: male: 53.49 years; female: 55.73 years
Education: 2.6% of GDP
Urban/Rural split: urban: 59%; rural: 41%
Income per household (USD):
Broadband internet users (%):

Source: Encyclopedia Britannica

Introduction

Angola's economy may still be recovering from a 25-year civil war that ended in 2002, but it is recovering fast. In fact, according to The Economist, this country which is rich in oil, gas, diamonds, and agricultural land, was for the first decade of this century the fastest growing economy in the world.  Its GDP grew at an average of 11.1% a year over that decade, and it is expected to continue to grow, by 8.2% in 2012 and 7.3% in 2013.

Yet for all this stellar economic growth, the PR industry is still in its infancy. With the government allocating around 30% of its budget to social spending there is little consumer market, and, with Human Rights Watch persistently rating the country as one of the most corrupt in the world, few companies see the need to invest in public affairs departments. 

Yet, this is beginning to change. Multinationals are increasingly looking at Angola's consumer market and many have made tentative steps into the country. The famously restricted media is being transformed by the emergence of digital channels, and if you look closely you can just make out the first signs of a PR industry. 


Media

There are many media outlets for Angolans to choose from. Radio Luanda, Cazenga, Mais, Cinco, Escola, and FM Stereo are the most heard stations. TV Zimbo and TPA1 are the most viewed channels. In terms of press, the most read newspaper in Angola, which is also the only daily, is Jornal de Angola. 

Business titles include the newspapers Expansão, Economia e Finanças and Semanário Económico, as well as the magazines Rumo, Economia & Mercado and Africa Today. For those who work in the area of fashion and beauty is essential to be present in Caras and Chocolate magazines.

Yet, much of this media is tightly controlled. “Nearly all of the media in Angola is controlled by the long-time ruling MPLA party and a few figures close to President dos Santos and his family,” says Robert Besseling, Senior Africa Forecaster at Exclusive Analysis, a political risk company in London.

He continues: “The state-run news agency ANGOP is relatively reliable for economic reporting, although it rarely comments objectively on political developments. The print media - including Jornal de Angola - is similarly controlled by the ruling elite. A small number of private TV and radio channels have been set up, such as TV Zimbo, although these are usually affiliated to the MPLA and tightly censored.”

This control of the regular media has deterred overseas media companies from investing in the country. For example, South Africa's DSTV which is widespread elsewhere in the region, does not operate in the country, although Besseling reports that many middle class families have access to satellite dishes that are uncontrolled by the government and MPLA. 

John Thompson at Angola-Today, agrees that this control of the media is a problem. "Angola is a young country and one of the fastest growing economies in the world,” he says. “Yet it remains one of the most under-reported. There is a huge appetite for information about the country but until recently there have been very few clear communication channels.”

He goes on to point out that young Angolans are increasingly using their mobile phones to access online news sources and social media sites. Besseling agrees. “Social media remain important channels of communication for the opposition, civil society and independent journalists,” he says. “The 2011/12 youth protest movement was coordinated by social media, which is likely to result in the government stepping up efforts to censor social media.”

Major Brands

In Angola it is banks like Banco BIC and Millennium Angola, as well as telcos like Unitel and Movicel that have the strongest brands. Food and drink companies are also important, and this summer the Angolan Soft Drink Company spent around $1 million USD on a music-based roadshow to promote its brand Blue.

ViniPortugal, which is the Portuguese Wines Producers Association, uses its cultural links with the former Portuguese colony to build its brand, and South African Tourism is a major player throughout the geographical region.

Agencies

Lift Consulting is a major local agency, Fishburn-Hedges has an office, and Grayling has recently been appointed to lead PR for the $5bn Angola Sovereign Wealth Fund.

As Thompson at Angola-Today says: "Brands in Angola tend to farm out any PR work to agencies

in Portugal, Brazil or South Africa. In some cases agencies do take the decision to maintain an on the ground presence in Luanda but the overheads involved are considerable so they tend to be multidiscipline agencies also offering advertising and marketing.”

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