Although Angola has made development progress since the end of its civil war in 2002, it has been mired in recession since 2016.1 In 2020, the oil-dependent economy contracted by a further 2% amidst the COVID-19 pandemic,2 which led to a global drop in oil demand and deepened poverty in the state. Inflation hit a four-year high in May 2021.3 The International Monetary Fund predicts a gradual economic recovery due to good fiscal performance and debt management,4 but the ever-changing pandemic could cause unforeseen setbacks. On 01 October 2021, the government reinstituted restrictions as deaths from COVID-19 outstripped the malaria death rate.5
As Angola emerges from the health crisis, digital transformation must underpin efforts to revamp and diversify the economy, promote financial inclusion and make progress in poverty reduction. Approximately 70% of the adult population lacks access to banking services,6 and fintech will be key in making financial services more widely available, cheaper, faster and easier to use. The central bank’s national plan for financial inclusion aims for 50% of the population to have access to basic financial services by the end of 2022, and mobile money solutions like Safaricom’s M-Pesa could accelerate progress towards this goal.7
Although Angola’s fintech ecosystem is in its infancy, startups have begun to emerge across the country, and they have encouraged job creation, investment and participation in the formal economy.8 The government has also taken small steps towards cultivating a more attractive regulatory environment for fintech. In September 2020, the central bank and Beta-i, an innovation consultancy, partnered to launch a fintech regulatory sandbox. The sandbox will run four eight-month programs, with ten selected projects per program.9 Still, Angola’s business environment is riddled with corruption, which will be a major obstacle in the cultivation of the fintech ecosystem.
This year, regulators are focused on central bank digital currency (CBDC). The central bank is also expected to introduce a mobile instant payments system, in partnership with telecommunications operator Unitel.10 A biometric passport is slated to launch in late 2021, in an attempt to crack down on fraud and forgery.11 Regulators must look to implement a national cybersecurity framework, as there are currently no cybersecurity regulations in the country. On the Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI) 2020, developed by the United Nations’ International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Angola is ranked #151 out of 194 states.
Financial Regulatory Authorities
The National Bank of Angola is the central bank of Angola.
The Agência de Protecção de Dados (ADP) is the primary data protection authority in Angola.
The Capital Markets Commission regulates the capital markets in Angola.
Policy, Laws and Regulations
Central Bank Digital Currency, 09 June 2021
The central bank announced that it was in the midst of an ongoing study on the role of digital currencies—particularly CBDC—in promoting financial inclusion.12 In October 2020, central bank governor José de Lima Massano stated that the central bank was in the early stage of assessing the use of blockchain in payment systems.13
1. “Angola Economic Outlook.” African Development Bank. https://www.afdb.org/en/countries/southern-africa/angola/angola-economic-outlook
2. “The World Bank in Angola.” The World Bank, 01 July 2021. https://www.worldbank.org/en/country/angola/overview#1
3. Mendes, Candido and Henrique Almeida. “Angola Hikes Key Rate to Record High to Contain Inflation.” Bloomberg, 02 July 2021. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-07-02/angola-surprises-with-rate-hike-as-focus-shifts-to-inflation
4. “Angola : Fourth Review Under the Extended Arrangement Under the Extended Fund Facility and Requests for Modifications of Performance Criteria and Waivers for Performance Criteria Applicability and Nonobservance-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for Angola.” International Monetary Fund, 19 January 2021. https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/CR/Issues/2021/01/19/Angola-Fourth-Review-Under-the-Extended-Arrangement-Under-the-Extended-Fund-Facility-and-50024
5. Mendes, Candido. “Angola Resumes Restrictions as Covid Turns Deadlier Than Malaria.” Bloomberg, 30 September 2021. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-09-30/angola-resumes-restrictions-as-covid-turns-deadlier-than-malaria
6. Kimathi, Sharon. “Angolan National Bank and Beta-i create fintech regulatory sandbox.” Fintech Futures, 18 September 2020. https://www.fintechfutures.com/2020/09/angolan-national-bank-and-beta-i-create-fintech-regulatory-sandbox/
7. O’Grady, Vaughan. “Could M-Pesa be a way forward for financial inclusion in Angola?” Developing Telecoms, 21 June 2021. https://developingtelecoms.com/telecom-technology/financial-services/11368-could-m-pesa-be-a-way-forward-for-financial-inclusion-in-angola.html
8. Burns, Chris. “Tech-driven start-ups deliver a boost to Angola's economy.” Euronews, 22 July 2021. https://www.euronews.com/2019/12/19/tech-driven-start-ups-deliver-a-boost-to-angola-s-economy
9. Harrison, Polly Jean. “Beta-I and the Angola National Bank Collaborate to Create First Fintech Regulatory Sandbox in Angola.” The Fintech Times, 18 September 2020. https://thefintechtimes.com/beta-i-and-the-angola-national-bank-collaborate-to-create-first-fintech-regulatory-sandbox-in-angola/
10. Massala, Guilherme. “Launch of mobile payments system in Angola scheduled for October.” Menos Fios, 28 May 2021. https://www.menosfios.com/en/launch-of-mobile-payment-system-in-angola-scheduled-for-october/
11. “Angola prepares to launch biometric passport.” Xinhua, 02 June 2021. http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/africa/2021-06/02/c_139985648.htm
12. Geto, Daniel. “National Bank of Angola is considering the implementation of digital currencies.” Menos Fios, 12 June 2021. https://www.menosfios.com/en/Angola%27s-national-bank-is-considering-the-implementation-of-digital-currencies/
13. “National Bank of Angola assesses risk of joining ‘Blockchain’.” Further Africa, 02 October 2020. https://furtherafrica.com/2020/10/02/national-bank-of-angola-assesses-risk-of-joining-blockchain/
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Last updated: November 2021