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Home to unique landscape and obvious contrasts, the capital of Angola is a growing business centre. And one of the most expensive in the world.
Go beyond the skyscrapers
A former portuguese colony, Luanda has several marks evoking the past. The fortress of São Miguel is only one of them – transformed nowadays into a Central Museum of Armed Forces. In the downtown area, the unmistakable Iron Palace is believed to be designed by Gustave Eiffel. And the baroque Sé Cathedral is one of the city’s main spot, with more than 300 years of existence.
Find the best sunset
Which might be seen from Miradouro da Lua, outside of Luanda, with a great view over the cliffs by the sea. Or the Mussulo bay, closer to the city, where coconut trees and warm water decorate the beach sand. At night, there’s no escape from taking a walk on the promenade. Or heading to Luanda’s island, where dinner is always more fun!
Culture and Business
Make sure you have your passport and boarding pass with you. Depending on your country of origin, take care of your visa or other necessary documentation ahead of time. Take all the necessary vaccinations and medication, if applicable.
On the coast, the average temperature is 21ºC in summer and 16ºC in winter. The dry season is typically from May to October and the hot and rainy season from November to April.
GMT + 1
Geography & politics
Angola is a country in southwest Africa, bathed by the Atlantic Ocean. It has a blend of African traditions and the influence of hundreds of years as a Portuguese colony. The current political regime in Angola is presidentialism, where the president is also the head of government, has legislative powers and appoints the supreme court.
Tipping & paying
The local currency is the Kwanza (AOA). The banking system is well developed, especially in major cities. Please check with your bank in advance if your card will be accepted in Angola. Tips are not mandatory and should depend on the quality of service provided.
Languages & useful phrases
The official language is Portuguese, with several other national languages, such as Umbundu and Kimbundu. Some useful phrases in Portuguese are: “olá” = hello, “por favor” = please; “muito obrigado/a” = thank you; “desculpe” = sorry.
What you should do
You can be relaxed with your body language—Angolans are very warm people. They feel more comfortable working with people they already know and trust, so try to establish a personal relationship before talking about business.
What you shouldn’t do
You should not interrupt someone when they are talking, it is a sign of disrespect. In your first business meeting, don’t start talking about business straight away. This time is usually used for everyone to get to know each other better.
What to wear
Especially in Luanda, the business world is as formal as in the Western world and it is common to use a suit when doing business.
The most common form of greeting is the handshake. Sometimes a slight bow is also made when meeting someone senior in age or status. Asking about the family and being genuinely interested is a sign of respect. Hierarchy is important, and formal titles and surnames are used.