The Republic of Angola is a country located on the west coast of southern Africa, being the 7th largest country in the continent. It is known for its vast mineral and petroleum reserves, and its economy is one of the fastest-growing in the world. 

One of the largest and most profitable businesses in the country is foreign trade.

Although some years ago Angola was a major food exporter in Africa, now it imports most of its food.

Right now oil and diamonds are the most important economic resource for the country. 

Due to the growth in the import business, we are going to check out the process and history of the foreign trade in Angola in the past years. This report will include the following topics:

  • Data Analysis of foreign trade (import/export)
  • Most imported items
  • Prohibited items
  • Import process
  • Required documents for importing


The export market in Angola has suffered different variations during the last years. As you can see in the chart below, the country has experienced a strong boost from the 90s, with a peak of 71.63 B US$ in 2012. 

We must remember that Angola, after achieving independence from Portugal in 1975, entered a civil war that didn’t end until 2002. We can observe this in the charts, seeing that from 2002 the economy and the trade market started to rise.

Angola is the third-largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa. If we compare it with South Africa, the top 1 exporting country, we get the following chart.

Although there is a huge difference in value, we can see they are affected by the same factors.

Angola depends mainly on the offshore petroleum industry, being 90 percent of the exports. The rest of the exports are divided between diamonds, iron, and other items.

If we look at the imports in the past years, we see a similar chart to one of the exports we just revised. 

Angola depends a lot on the import market since it has a very low capacity for producing locally. They are trying to diversify their economy and depend less on this, but it will take years to build the necessary infrastructure.

Leading countries supplying Angola’s imports in 2018 were China (17 percent), Portugal (13 percent), Belgium (5 percent), United States (4 percent), and South Africa (3.6 percent).

Most imported items in Angola are:

  • Light vessels and docks
  • Aircraft
  • Parts for forklifts, bulldozers, and other machines
  • Iron and steel tubes and pipes
  • Trucks
  • Passenger vehicles
  • Heavy construction equipment

Angola has a long list of restricted and prohibited items, so be aware of this if you want to start importing there:

  • Acids
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Animal products
  • Batteries, Haz
  • Bearer Documents
  • Bio Products, Haz
  • Checks, Blank Stock
  • Chemicals, Haz and Non-Haz
  • Corrosives
  • Cosmetics, Haz
  • Credit Card Blanks
  • Dangerous Goods as defined by IATA (Intl. Air Transport Association)
  • Diamonds
  • Drugs, Prescription and Non-Prescription

You can check the entire list here


Importing goods into Angola might be time-consuming and full of delays. The World Bank Business 2019 ranks Angola among the countries with the most time-consuming import procedures worldwide in the category of “Trading Across Borders,” at 174 out of 190 countries assessed.  

Import procedures in Angola require an estimated USD 460 and 96 hours for import document compliance.  In comparison regionally, sub-Saharan Africa averages USD 283.5 and 97.7 hours for import document compliance.

You need to consider that most of the delays come from the loading certificate, the Angola CNCA, because new importers don’t know about it and they have to face delays, storage charges, and fines when the cargo arrives in Angola.


There are some documents and certificates that are a must if you want to import to Angola:

  • Original Air Way Bill (AWB) / Bill of Lading (BL)
  • Original Commercial Invoice (listing HTS codes for each item)
  • Packing List 
  • Angolan Loading Certificate issued in the country of shipment (CNCA)
  • Import License and/or phytosanitary certificate issued by the relevant Ministry, if required based on the product

You can get more information about the required documents here.

Import mandatory certificate – Angola CNCA

As we mentioned earlier, the Angola CNCA is an obligatory certificate that you must have if you import to Angola. If you fail to present it at the customs border you won’t be able to clear out your cargo and you will suffer delays, fines, and storage charges.

The good thing is that it’s really easy to acquire, but be aware that you must have it validated at least 5 days before the goods arrive at the port. So be sure to do it on time.

Just contact us in GetCTN, after checking your situation we will help you with the documentation and provide you with the validated certificate in less than 2 days.

 We have 15 years of experience in this business, and we provide over 500 certificates per month to exporters and importers from all around the world. If you need more information,  just check out our client’s opinions on google or Facebook.

There are more documents that you may have to obtain depending on your cargo, like the certificate of the dangerous goods. Ask our experts and we will assess our situation.

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