Lisbon, Portugal, 4 Jan – Investment in Angola and Mozambique has become simpler and easier in recent years, with new laws and agencies for investors, though the lack of qualified local professionals is still a problem.
The recent guide on “Investing in Angola and Mozambique” published by the Lisbon-based Diário Económico newspaper recommends that investors in the Angolan market first contact the National Agency for Private Investment (ANIP) (www.investinangola.com), a public body responsible for providing information and indicating specific business opportunities, besides handling legal and financial aspects.
“On the private side, [find] the more established and experienced banks, the competitors already in the country, and of course a good lawyer,” recommends Paulo Trindade Costa, a partner at the Miranda, Correia, Amendoeira and Associates law firm, in the Diário Económico guide.
As for sectors to invest in, automatic choices for the granting of incentives are projects in agriculture, construction and associated services, energy and water, infrastructure development and management, tourism and hostelry, and the mineral extraction and processing industry.
In third place, investors in Angola should bear in mind which development areas are eligible for receiving financial incentives: Luanda province and municipalities of Benguela, Huila, Cabinda and Lobito (A); remaining municipalities in the provinces of Benguela, Cabinda and Huila, as well as Kwanza Norte, Bengo, Uige, Kwanza Sul, Lunda Norte and Lunda Sul (B); and provinces of Huambo, Bie, Moxico, Cuando Cubango, Cunene, Namibe, Malange and Zaire (C).
Investors must also take into account that the Angolan state takes majority stakes in infrastructure projects linked to the telecommunications network and postal services, and that private interests cannot operate in the production, distribution and sale of military equipment, central bank activities and issues linked to the national currency, and ownership and administration of port and airport structures.
Regarding the amount of investment, ANIP subjects to prior declaration projects involving an investment of between US$50,000 and 5 million in the case of Angolan citizens, and US$100,000 and 5 million in the case of foreigners. All projects above that ceiling linked to oil exploration or diamond extraction or involving public companies are subject to approval by the Council of Ministers.
Another of the ten tips for investors is to promptly resolve any visa questions, given that the processing time is at least 45 days counting from reception of the application and that for work visas the consular service has to forward requests to the Department of Emigration and Borders.
Finally, all documentation on the investment project should be prepared with the Angolan consulate in the investing country, licences obtained to import capital, the locally-based company established or a branch office registered and respective licences obtained.
Another question to bear in mind is the lack of qualified human resources and personnel with professional experience, a problem Angola shares with Mozambique, from the viewpoint of human resources firms such as Select Vedior and Hays.
“There’s a lot to do regarding the basic skills of managers, ranging from their institutional communication and presentation abilities and training in computer support tools, to concepts of company management and other statutory premises,” says Duarte Ramos, regional director of Hays Angola and Mozambique.
Mozambique has been plugging some of those gaps and also simplifying investors’ lives, specifically with respect to tax payments and new labour laws that allow an automatic quota for hiring foreign workers and improve the system governing compensation for dismissed employees.
The first hint for investors in the Mozambican market is to contact the Investment Promotion Centre and to consult a lawyer, followed by presentation of the company, activity and information on the investment’s value to the corporate registry.
To access the guarantee and fiscal benefits, the minimum investment amount is US$50,000 for foreign investors and US$5,000 for national ones.
Investors must also open a bank account, formalise registration in the corporate registry and proceed with fiscal registration to obtain the corresponding tax number after registration and publication of the company’s statutes in the official gazette.
Highlights among the sectors to invest in are currently agriculture, followed by tourism, mineral resources and energy, as well as transport and communications, though given the country’s deficiencies, successful projects are possible in almost all sectors.
Maputo is the province with the most foreign investment approved, followed by Tete, Sofala and Manica. The government has also identified the northern region as having the most potential attraction. It has therefore set up an Office for Accelerated Development Economic Zones whose mission is to promote and coordinate all actions associated to the creation, development and management of Special Economic Zones. (macauhub)