Since the end of Angola’s civil war, the country has undergone massive reconstruction, which means it is steadily attracting foreign investment and more and more expats are moving to its capital, Luanda. Nevertheless, the adjustment to life in this African city may be a difficult and slow one for many expats. Most of Luanda’s population continues to live in poverty, infrastructure is in desperate need of repair and the provision of essential services such as water and electricity can be sporadic.
Portuguese is the official language of Angola, and Luanda is the third most populous Portuguese-speaking city in the world, behind Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. The population is largely made up of numerous African ethnic groups, and there is also a sizeable minority population of European origin, especially Portuguese, and growing communities of Chinese and Vietnamese immigrants, as well as South African expats.
Expats living in Luanda will find themselves experiencing life in a very insular expat community; living mostly in housing compounds in the newer and more affluent Luanda Sul area to the south of the city. This area is home to numerous international schools
and is the best area to live for those with small children. However, the commute from Luanda’s southern suburbs to the city centre can sometimes take close to three hours.
Expat compounds offer a good quality of life, with large houses, swimming pools and high security. While there is plenty to keep expats in these compounds occupied on weekends, many choose instead to escape Luanda for the beaches and resorts outside of the city.
A major drawback for expats moving to Luanda is that the cost of living
is amongst the highest in the world; Luanda has consistently been named among the top ten most expensive expat destinations in the world in Mercer’s annual Cost of Living Survey. Accommodation, which is in high demand in Luanda, will be an expat’s biggest expense, and it’s important to factor this into any contract negotiations before moving to Angola.
Roads and driving standards are in a poor state and traffic congestion is a daily frustration. Nevertheless, major road reconstruction is underway, most notably with the construction of a six-lane highway connecting Luanda with Viana, a town to the east of the city. While Luanda has basic public transport in the form of minibus taxis as well as train and bus networks, most expats have a car and driver provided by their company.
is another issue that expats need to consider when moving to Luanda; the city has seen increasingly violent crimes rates in recent years, particularly in the poorer areas around the periphery of the city.
Despite the many drawbacks of living in this African city, expats moving to Luanda are likely to have a richly rewarding experience, both culturally and financially.