Angola Economic Conditions

The most important agricultural product of Angola is currently coffee, grown mainly in the northern part of the country, between the Cuanza and the Mbrige, and on the slopes of the Amboim plateau. The major plantations belong to the Companhia de Cazengo; some, even very large ones, are in the hands of Tedeschi (SW of Bembe they own a plantation with 200,000 coffee plants). The export value of coffee has represented, on average, 25-30% of the total export value in recent years.

Also noteworthy is the production of maize, which finds excellent living conditions on the plateaus of Benguella and Mossamedes, Libolo and Malanje, as well as in the upper Loanda. Production grew very rapidly after the war: in fact, while in 1912 only 460 tons were exported, in 1919 these were about 16,000; in 1923, 31,500 and in 1926, 36,700.

According to, the sugar cane area has been shrinking after the manufacture of alcohol was banned in 1911. The most important plantations are in the lower Cuanza (Bom Jesus), in the Alto Dande (Tentativa), in Dombe Grande in SW. of Benguella, near Novo Redondo and Mossamedes and to the east of Malanje. The export of sugar, which is almost entirely in the hands of the Companhia do assucar de Angola, represents 5-6% of the total export value.

In the valleys of northern Angola, in recent years, the cultivation of oil palm has taken a major step. In the Loanda district there is a Portuguese plantation with 40,000 palm trees, and another, Belgian, with 30,000. In the surroundings of Amboim and in the lower Cuanza the coconut palm is cultivated and produces remarkable products. The cultivation of wheat, barley, rice and vines has a completely secondary importance. The cultivation of potatoes and peanuts is very widespread. Some cocoa is grown in Cabinda and Amboina; tobacco is also cultivated a lot by the natives.

Among the industrial plants, cotton occupies a considerable area, which finds good living conditions in almost the entire colony. The largest plantation (10,000 hectares) is located near Quissama, on the left of the Cuanza. Although the quality of cotton that is produced is not bad, this cultivation is still not widespread. Good products gives sisal. Still in the experimental stage are the rubber plantations, which is extracted, however, in moderate quantities, from wild plants. The forests are not rationally exploited, although they possess valuable essences for construction, cabinet-making and dyeing timber.

Livestock farming is underdeveloped, but continuously increasing, especially in southern Angola. Beekeeping is very important, practiced above all by the natives, which also gives honey and wax for export. Fishing is active all along the Angolese coast: the main fishing centers are the Bahia dos Elephantes, the Bahia dos Tigres, Mossamedes and Porto Alexandre.

Mining exploration of Angola has yet to be done, but it is certain that the region does not lack useful minerals. In the NE part. in the district of Lunda there is a rich diamond zone, but diamonds are also obtained in various other locations in the colony. In 1916 they extracted for 1300 carats, in 1919 for 48.500 carats, in 1921 for 100.700 carats, in 1926 for 154.o00 carats. The value of the exported diamonds represented, in 1926, 17.4% of the total export value.

In importance, oil comes in second place. The major concessions are owned by the Companhia de Petroleo de Angola (Sinclair Oil Company), and by the Concessões de Petroleo de Angola, with British, French and Dutch capital. The first company carried out various drilling, up to a depth of about 700 m., In the Cretaceous soils of the northern coastal area. Further drilling was carried out at Quissama and Porto Amboim.

The production of rock salt is now only of local importance. The salt is also obtained from several salt pans along the coast, the most important of which is the Salina Capulo, south of Ambriz.

Some graphite was found near Huambo and some sulfur was also found in the coastal area. Small quantities of gold are mined here and there, and copper in Bembe-Mine.

The industry is still underdeveloped. There are some sugar factories, some factories for the packaging of dry fish, various sawmills, a sisal fabric factory (Bailundo); in Loanda – the industrial center of Angola – there are furniture factories, tobacco factories, palm oil factories, cement factories, a modern match factory, etc.

Angola’s external trade movement is on the rise:

Imports consist mostly of cotton, drugs, wine, beer and spirits, cars, scrap metal, trinkets, cutlery, watches, low jewelry, haberdashery, shoes, cement, chemicals. Exports include diamonds (for Belgium only), rubber, coffee, maize, cotton, corn, sugar, palm oil, beeswax; Portugal is the only market.

Angola Economic Conditions