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Country Reports

Angola Country Report

Overview

INTRODUCTION

Travelers to Angola (1.2 million km²; population 22 million) should take care when preparing their trip due to the country's precarious security situation and various other issues.

AREAS TO AVOID

Some Western governments advise against travel to Cabinda province, an enclave located between the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, due to the separatist rebellion that has been taking place there for several decades. Cabinda city enjoys a more stable security situation due to a heightened presence of government security forces; Western diplomatic authorities nonetheless advise against all but essential travel.

Travel along a portion of Luanda's expressway between Benfica and the November 11 Stadium (located in the Luanda Sul suburb) is strongly advised against due to a series of violent assaults and abductions reported in 2016. American consular authorities formally advise their foreign nationals against walking along the "Serpentine" area (Nehru Street), especially between Hourari Boumedienne Street and Gamal Abdel Nasser Street due to potential for physical assault and muggings. Additionally, embassy staff are forbidden from walking in Luanda between 22:00 and 05:30 (local time) and are required to strictly avoid the neighborhoods of Cazeng, Sambizanga, Kicolo, and Rangel at all times.

Certain areas, especially southern provinces, are still at risk of landmines despite demining efforts. Western governments recommend individuals be particularly vigilant in BenguelaHuilaHuamboBie, and Cuando Cubango provinces, where there is a higher risk of landmines.

The border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been closed since April 1, 2017, and the province of Luanda-Norte - located on the border with the DRC's Kasaï region, which faces major bouts of violence - is subject to heightened security measures. Some 30,000 people have sought refuge in Luanda-Norte province since April 2017.

Sailing should be avoided along the Angolan coasts. Travel is restricted off the coast of Cabo Ledo region (south of Luanda) due to the presence of military installations.

CRIME

Crime in Angola has increased significantly since early 2016, as oil prices - the government's main source of revenue - have fallen. Violent criminal acts occur most often in urban areas, particularly the capital Luanda. Pickpocketing and carjacking are the most commonly perpetrated crimes, often turning into physical assaults. Due largely to widespread arms trafficking, perpetrators are usually armed and can resort to force in the event the victim attempts to resist. Although such assaults can happen anytime, they are most common after nightfall. Be discreet and avoid drawing attention to yourself (do not wear expensive-looking jewelry, watches, etc. and keep cameras and other valuables out of sight). When booking accommodations, always make sure to book hotels known for safety. Some recommendations include EpicSana, Hotel Presidente, and Tropico; only high-end hotels should be expected to have measures in place in order to guarantee (in theory) the security of their guests. Always remain vigilant when withdrawing cash, only using indoor ATMs around your hotel. Travel by foot is not recommended in the city, especially at night; it is best to avoid going to crowded areas, such as markets. If confronted or threatened by a potential attacker, do not resist.

Additionally, it is advised to check your surroundings when leaving and entering your house to limit the risk of attack.

Illegal requests for bribes are regularly reported at Luanda International Airport. Immigration and customs staff are known for detaining individuals and asking them for money before releasing them.

It should also be noted that police are notoriously corrupt and ineffective at fighting crime. If stopped at a "security checkpoint," it is best to cooperate with their demands.

KIDNAPPPING

The risk of kidnapping in Luanda has increased in 2016. Several abductions for ransom have been reported, particularly on the expressway between Benfica and the November 11 stadium. There has been an increase in the modus operandi of such attacks, which consists of armed men abducting individuals stuck in traffic in Luanda. Despite a slight decrease in reported kidnappings in recent months, the threat remains due to the tense socio-economic context. To minimize the kidnapping risk, it is recommended to always drive with doors locked and windows rolled up, to vary your itineraries, to prohibit any decorative element on your car (sticker, flag, etc.) that may make it recognizable, to avoid wearing clothes displaying your company's logo, and to make sure that a trustworthy and reliable person always knows your whereabouts.

SECURITY (CABINDA ENCLAVE)

The political and security situations remain precarious in the Cabinda enclave, which has been under the grip of a separatist rebellion led by the Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda (FLEC) for several decades. Although the situation has noticeably calmed over the past few years, in February 2016 the FLEC announced the resumption of hostilities. Dozens of clashes reportedly took place from February through May 2016 between the separatist group and the government's security forces, a common target of FLEC. A subsequent series of clashes took place in February 2017. The deteriorating security situation in the enclave has led several Western governments to strictly forbid all travel to the region.

SOCIOPOLITICAL RISK

Despite a seemingly stable sociopolitical situation, protests remain possible, especially since the country faces a tense economic situation due to soaring inflation, slowing growth, a deficit, and falling oil prices. The government officially devalued the currency in July 2016, but managed to avoid skyrocketing inflation. A parallel economy nonetheless remains; the US dollar is commonly exchanged for two to three times the official rate. Additionally, inflation continues to increase due to the ongoing crisis in the oil and gas sector.

It is advisable to avoid all demonstrations as confrontations between security forces and protesters can sometimes become violent.

HEALTH

Health and sanitary conditions require a certain level of precaution, especially since healthcare infrastructure in Angola is deficient; hospitals and clinics are poorly-equipped, except some private hospitals in Luanda, yet are very expensive. It is crucial for foreign nationals to subscribe to a health insurance program before departure to ensure proper access to medical care while abroad and medical evacuation in the event of a serious or time-sensitive health problem.

The entire country is affected on a yearly basis by mosquito-borne diseases during the rainy season, which lasts from November to April. Amongst them is yellow fever, which threatens the whole territory and particularly Viana, a suburb of Luanda, since December 2015. Vaccination against yellow fever is strongly recommended and an international certificate of vaccination (valid for ten years) is requested by the authorities upon arrival.

Regarding malaria - for which the country has been classified as zone 3 chloroquine-resistant - a heightened vigilance is required due to the resurgence of malaria cases during heatwaves, torrential rains, and a worsening sanitary situation.

Cases of Zika virus infections have been reported across the country since January 2017.

It is imperative to take preventive measures against mosquito bites and to follow adequate medical treatment.

Tap water is not drinkable in Angola, requiring strict hygienic measures to prevent contracting waterborne diseases (e.g., diarrhea, cholera, typhoid fever). It is advised to regularly wash hands, to only drink bottled or disinfected water, to cook food properly, and to not consume ice or ice cream.

Additionally, Angola is inflicted by trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), which is transmitted by the tse-tse fly and is endemic in the north. Tuberculosis and HIV-AIDS (2.4 percent of the adult population is HIV-positive) are also health risks throughout the country.

It is recommended to never walk barefoot and to avoid bathing in stagnant water to reduce the risk of parasitic infection (e.g., bilharzia).

NATURAL RISKS

Torrential rains and flash floods occur during Angola's rainy season (November to April), which can cause serious damages to infrastructure networks (water and electricity supply systems, roads, etc.) as well as a number of fatalities, specifically in Luanda.

Angola is currently facing a major drought: 1.4 million people have been affected in seven southern regions and 800,000 others face acute malnutrition. ;line-height:�T��?>

INFRASTRUCTURE

Occasional fuel and diesel shortages happen, which often prompt electricity and water outages for several days without warning. It is advised to stockpile water and fuel.

Sanitary water and food can sometimes be scarce in the country; it is best to anticipate such shortages.

There are very few high-standing international hotels in Luanda. It is recommended to book a room well in advance - at least two to three months before your arrival.

Phone signal outside of urban areas is not guaranteed. It is advised to subscribe to several network providers to ensure coverage wherever you go. A satellite phone is required to communicate outside of urban areas.

Access to internet is gradually increasing in the country.

TRANSPORTATION

The road mortality rate is particularly high in Angola despite improvements to infrastructure throughout the country thanks to projects aimed at modernizing the road network. Several thoroughfares in the capital remain in poor condition.

In any case, local driving habits (overtaking, speeding, failure to respect the highway code, etc.) call for a heightened vigilance when using a car. In Luanda, congestion is frequent due to the high number of vehicles on the roads, which also increases the risk of getting assaulted while stuck in traffic. Keep valuable items out of sight and drive with doors locked and windows rolled up. Do not park in secluded or badly lit areas.

Most Western governments advise against using public transportation due to the antiquated vehicles and the high risks of assault. Nonetheless, Morvic, Transcoop, Divisao, and Universal taxi companies are quite safe and can be used if necessary.

Major highways, especially in the south of the country, have been paved and petrol stations have been built. Some segments remain unpaved and secondary roads are often impassable. 

Landmines are still present in rural areas; travel outside Luanda is advised against. Most Westerners tend to restrict their travel to a 40km (25 mi) area outside of Luanda to minimize risks.

All travel outside of Luanda must therefore be done during daytime, with an SUV (four-wheel drive), in a convoy of at least three vehicles with armed personnel, and with enough water, food, and fuel reserves.

During the rainy season, from November to April, most roads become impassable.

Boaters should avoid the Cabo Ledo region (south of Luanda), home to Angolan military installations.

All Angolan airlines have been blacklisted by the European Union and using them should be avoided, as aircrafts are antiquated and badly maintained. If travel by air is unavoidable, it is recommended to fly with TAAG Angola Airlines, as some of their aircrafts (six Boeing B777 and four Boeing B737-700) abide by the necessary safety standards.

LEGAL

Lack of respect toward the national authorities, including offhand and seemingly harmless comments, is punishable by law and can lead to imprisonment and/or deportation.

It is illegal to use cameras, binoculars, or GPS systems near government buildings or any other sensitive infrastructure. As "other sensitive infrastructure" is not defined, it is generally advisable to avoid using these devices in urban areas as a precaution. 

Homosexuality is illegal in Angola.

It is recommended to always carry identification documents to avoid being fined USD 100.

Ivory trafficking is prohibited, as is buying it for personal use.

Finally, foreigners wishing to travel to mining regions must obtain an official pass from the authorities beforehand. Applications can be made at all major police stations in Luanda.

Climate

Angola is located in a tropical zone and is divided into large three sub-zones. The northwestern region (from the Cabinda enclave to Ambriz to Luanda to Malanje) has a humid tropical climate, as does the east of the country. The central and southern plateau regions have a more temperate and drier climate; the average temperature in the city of Huambo (previously Nova Lisboa), located at an elevation of 1,701 m, is 19°C and can fall to zero in the winter. Finally, the south of the country is arid or semi-arid, between the plateau and the Namibian border, beginning from Namibe province.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +244 Police: (222)39.29.33, (222)33.48.41, (222)33.67.00, (222)33.71.00

Electricity

Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

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