Angola Culture of Business

By | July 24, 2022

Subchapters:

  • Introduction
  • Addressing
  • Business Meeting
  • Communication
  • Recommendations
  • Public holidays

Introduction

The Portuguese influence is still visible in the customs and way of dealing, i.e. a long lunch, a rich nightlife and a high degree of formality in negotiations. Although the Angolan bureaucracy is functional in principle, the decision-making processes are very lengthy and are accompanied by corruption or the interests of influential groups. Angolans are a very proud people and their expression can sometimes be seen as arrogance.

Addressing

Communication with ministries or state institutions always begins with an official letter to the minister, where the company and its products are introduced in more detail. It is necessary to hand over such a letter personally through your agent/partner in Angola, who will then personally go to the selected places and communicate directly with the designated competent person. As soon as the Czech company receives confirmation of interest in cooperation, it should travel to Angola to introduce itself in person and gradually build trust. For negotiations with companies, it is already possible to choose a less formal way of communication, via emails, whatsapp or phone. However, some companies suffer from a formal way of communication and require sending official letters to the company’s management.

Business meeting

Business dealings and punctuality: “Time is the gift of Africa” ​​and Africans run differently. It is necessary to arrive at the meeting on time, but this cannot be expected automatically from the other party. If the partner is delayed, it is best to move on and concentrate on the content of the meeting. It is necessary to prepare for negotiations with Angolan representatives at least as conscientiously and to approach them in the same way as negotiations with partners in Europe. It is necessary to take into account the fact that it is a representative of a different cultural circle: the presentation must therefore be clear, comprehensible and convincing. Africans don’t like to read between the lines, and Angolans are no exception, so you need to be specific and to the point. When preparing your own presentation, you should keep in mind that the Czechia in Angola is known as Czechoslovakia, which helped Angola during the civil war, it provided study scholarships (there are many graduates of Czech universities in Angola) and is known for its industrial products. When talking to each other, you need to be receptive, open even to unexpected turns, do not promote yourself, nor degrade yourself, flexibly keep your standard. Most meetings are held from 9 am to 12 pm and from 3 pm to 6 pm. December, January and the first half of February are not suitable trading months due to the high temperatures, the Christmas period and the main holidays.

Business cards, if the bearer has them available, have a standard format. Gifts are given only exceptionally at the highest levels, an invitation to lunch or dinner in a restaurant is much more common.

Food and dining: Business dining takes place exclusively in restaurants, an invitation to a meal prepared at home is a big exception and means an increase in the host’s trust towards the guest. However, invitations to the family are, on the other hand, common during large celebrations and events such as weddings, birthdays or parties. In such a situation, it is appropriate to bring a gift (certainly a gift in kind for a wedding, a gift in kind for a birthday or flowers, sweets, wine, liquor, etc.). Although the situation in the field of gastronomy has improved since the end of the civil war, the number of restaurants in the country is still limited, the variety of dishes is also the same and the prices are disproportionately high. The food is usually accompanied by quality imported wines and liqueurs, and coffee at the end. There are fewer smokers in Angola than in the Czech Republic. The host does not style himself into any particular role except for payment. Toasts with speeches are not very common. The guest’s friendliness to gastronomic customs and local specialties is not necessary, but is welcome. However, the cuisine is more international than local, so the danger of unpleasant situations is not great. Religiously based culinary prohibitions do not exist, there is little room for personal preferences in the limited menu. Dress code for business meetings: Formal and smart attire is required, including a suit with shirt and tie for gentlemen and a suit for ladies (ladies should always have their shoulders covered). Even though this is a country with a tropical climate, formal attire is always required and short pants or short-sleeved shirts are considered rude.

Ideal Negotiating Team: In Angola, the company CEO/Minister and in some cases the Deputy Minister always have the final say and no one else has the authority to act for them. This is also expected when dealing with foreign delegations, that the counterparty will be the highest-ranking representative of the company/institution. Dealing with subordinate representatives often leads to vague promises that are never fulfilled.

Communication

The official language of Angola is Portuguese, and negotiations and written communication take place in this language. Knowledge of English is very limited, including in places where it would be expected. Czech businessmen can only communicate with foreign investors in Angola in English. It is necessary to always think of an interpreter and to agree in advance with the Angolan side what their communication options are. Visit Allunitconverters for more information about Angola culture and traditions.

Recommendation

The recommendations can be summarized in several points:

  • sufficient preparation for negotiations and flexibility to find out information and deliver it to the partner as soon as possible;
  • knowledge of Portuguese;
  • formal and elegant clothes (lighter colors during the day, e.g. blue, gray and not black), black suits and cocktail dresses only for social evenings;
  • Angolans are a very proud people and any hint of condescension is not acceptable, on the contrary, friendly behavior is recommended;
  • when interested in projects in cooperation with state institutions and ministries, it is required to use the services of Angolan partners/agents, who will personally hand over all the documentation, be in direct contact with the given contact persons and speed up the often lengthy negotiations.
  • if you are interested in investing in Angola, it is recommended to contact the Export and Investment Agency AIPEX, which will help find suitable partners and guide you through all bureaucratic obstacles.

Public Holidays

  • January 1 – New Year
  • January 4 – Day of the Martyrs of Colonial Oppression (Massacre of Farmers in Baixa de Cassanje in 1961)
  • 25 January – anniversary of the founding of the capital Luanda in 1576 (in the capital only)
  • February 4 – The day the national liberation struggle began in 1961 February – Carnival (moving holiday)
  • March 8 – International Women’s Day
  • April – Good Friday and Easter Monday (moving holiday)
  • May 1 – Labor Day
  • 25 May – Africa Day
  • June 1 – International Children’s Day
  • September 17 – Day of the State Founder and National Hero, First President Agostinho Neto (birth anniversary; 1922–1979)
  • November 2 – Memorial of the deceased
  • November 11 – Declaration of Independence 1975 (major public holiday)
  • December 25 – Christmas holiday

If a public holiday falls on a non-working day, the taking of the working day off is postponed to the next working day.

Angola Culture of Business