Healthcare sector in Angola
Surgeon in Hospital ward
With an estimated population of cca. 19 million people (next census due in 2014), Angola represents wide gaps between rich and poor, a fact that reflects in the country’s health indicators. Data provided by the Central Intelligence Agency, indicates a life expectancy at birth of 54.95 (2013 est.), with an infant mortality of 81.75 / 1,000 live births (2013 est.) and an maternal mortality of 450 / 100,000 live births (2010). Supplying safe drinking water to the population is still a challenging matter, especially in rural areas that make up 41% of the country’s total. This translates to e.g. malaria being endemic, making it the main health problem and the principal cause of death in Angola. Other communicable diseases common in Angola are tuberculosis, leprosy, diarrhea (main cause of death for the under five) and respiratory conditions.
The health care services in Angola are provided mainly by the public sector. The private sector only started to be developed in recent years and continues to be confined to the main urban centres of the country, especially to Luanda, the capital city.
Angola’s current lack of infrastructure, capacity and human resources is, however, understandable, after nearly three decades of civil war that only ended in 2002. However, due to its political stability and a robust petroleum industry, the country has seen a relatively constant growth in the last years.
At a 6,8 % GDP real growth rate (2012 est.), the local authorities have ambitious development plans. Prioritising the Health Care sector at governmental level was made in an effort to address several of the lacunae and difficulties in this area, that range from a big shortage of health facilities and medicines, to a shortage of nurses and primary health care workers, training and a lack of a computerized information management system.
Despite the growth, Angola has not yet attracted a significant volume of foreign investment. Thus, opportunities in the health care sector of Angola are still plentiful, and both private and inter-governmental project propositions would be more than welcomed. The following sensitive areas can be addressed:
Increasing provision and quality of mother and child healthcare
Increasing the number of emergency response units
Bringing healthcare access to rural areas
Need for skilled health professionals
Improving control of communicable diseases
Getting into the market
Angolan business environment is unquestionably complex and very dynamic, with new rules and regulations coming into force and changing often. The direct investments in the health sector are faced with many constraints, including high initial costs and administrative and legal barriers. The local labour force has little qualifications and the expatriate work force is very expensive.
The main players regulating the public health sector in Angola are the National Health Service (SNS), the health services of the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA) and the Ministry of Health (MINSA).
The DNME (Direcção Nacional de Medicamentos e Equipamentos) is one of the main bodies responsible for drawing up the strategic planning and implementation of the standards related to the sector specific technologies, including drugs, surgical materials and other medical products. In terms of regulations, the Presidential Decree no 180/2010 defines the general basis for the Pharmaceutical National Policy in Angola.
For first time business operators in Angola, devise a careful entry strategy and plan as much as possible. We suggest the following tips in business protocol:
Perform due diligence using a reputable local law firm specialised in doing business in Angola
Visit regularly and develop face to face relationships with local contacts
Forming a Joint Venture with a local company can facilitate the process of establishing yourself in Angola
Finding a local partner who is well known and well connected
Be aware that market entry can take longer and cost more than in other countries
Market intelligence is critical when doing business overseas, and UKTI can provide bespoke market research and support during overseas visits though our chargeable Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS).
To commission research or for general advice about the market, get in touch with our specialists in country – or contact your local international trade team.
Jose Paulo, British Embassy Luanda; Tel: ++244 222 397 681; Email: [email protected]
Margaretha da Paixao, British Embassy Luanda; Tel: ++244 222 397 681; Email: [email protected]
UKTI runs a range of events for exporters, including seminars in the UK, trade missions to overseas markets and support for attendance at overseas trade shows.