Angola has finally shed the divisive “vices against nature” provision in its law, widely interpreted to be a ban on homosexual conduct.

Taking things one step further, the government has also prohibited discrimination against people on the basis of sexual orientation. And so anyone refusing to employ or provide services to individuals based on their sexual orientation may face up to two years in prison.

The changes came on January 23 as Angola’s parliament adopted its first new penal code since it gained independence from Portugal in 1975 and removed the provision, inherited from its Portuguese colonizers.

While there have been no known prosecutions under the law, provisions like this one curtail the rights and freedoms of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, subjecting their intimate lives to unwarranted scrutiny.

Colonial-era laws outlawing same-sex conduct give tacit state support to discrimination against gender and sexual minorities, contributing to a climate of impunity. Iris Angola, the country’s only gay rights lobby group, has often complained that its members face discrimination when accessing health care and education.

Last year Angola gave legal status to Iris Angola, which was established in 2013 – a move that can now be seen as a forerunner for this latest step toward equality. The group called the decision an “historic moment” allowing the organization to defend the rights of sexual minorities in Angola. In contrast, Mozambique, another former Portuguese colony, decriminalized homosexuality in 2015, when it too adopted a new penal code, but declined to register the country’s biggest LGBT group, Lambda, leaving it to operate freely, but not legally.

While countries such as India have been compelled by court rulings to strike anti-homosexuality laws from the books, others have done so through legislative reform. Recent examples include Sao Tome and Principe (2012) and Cape Verde (2004) – two other former Portuguese colonies – as well as Lesotho (2012) and Seychelles (2016) in Africa, and Palau (2014) and Nauru (2016) in Oceania.

In casting aside this archaic and insidious relic of the colonial past, Angola has eschewed discrimination and embraced equality. The 69 other countries around the world that still criminalize consensual same-sex conduct should follow its lead.


For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

ANGOLA | Companies May Pay Foreign Employees in Foreign Currency and Offer Agreed Benefit Packages
In March, Pro-Link GLOBAL reported on Angolan Presidential Decree (No. 43/17) which required foreign workers in the country to be paid only in kwanzas (the local currency), capped benefit packages at 50 percent of base salary, and placed a maximum length on foreign employment contracts of 36 months. See our Immigration Dispatch of March 20 for more details. At that time, we believed the policy to be misguided and likely detrimental to business activity in Angola by making it more difficult to recruit the needed skilled foreign labor. Apparently, Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos now agrees and, on April 24, the President signed a new decree (No. 78/17) repealing the earlier decree.

The net result of the two decrees is that we are now back to the prior rule that companies and their foreign employees are free to contract for whatever salary, in whatever currency, with whatever benefits package, for however long, they agree. While employment-based immigration in Angola will continue to be a somewhat challenging and opaque affair, this is at least a positive “about face” after previously heading in the wrong direction.


Angolan ex-refugees in South Africa who were given a two-year deadline in 2013 to return to their country have been given a chance to apply for residency.

According to the Legal Resources Centre (LRC)‚ the negotiated settlement allows for former Angolan refugees falling into this category to submit further documents to the Department of Home Affairs in order to attempt to regularise their stay in South Africa and apply for permanent residency.

The LRC represented Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town and a number of former Angolan refugees in litigation against the Department of Home Affairs regarding the legal status of former Angolan refugees in South Africa.

In 2013‚ Home Affairs decided that former Angolan refugees no longer needed the protection of the South African government‚ as Angola was considered politically stable. Those Angolans who had been recognised refugees in South Africa were advised to apply for a special type of visa (Angolan Cessation Process Permit) which would allow them to legally work and study in South Africa for another two years‚ while making plans to return to their country.

“Many Angolans have lived in South Africa for close to 20 years. They have created lives for themselves and raised their families in South Africa.


Contributed by our consultant on the ground in Luanda – Inyene Udoyen

As we all know the price of oil has gone down dramatically over the last year and our clients have expressed interest in the effect this is having on the expat rental market in Angola focussing on the following questions:

Has the demand gone down and is there currently a surplus of available properties and, if so, how has this affected the rental price?
For those expats that are in rented accommodation already; when it comes to renewals of leases, is there an opportunity there to negotiate a lower rent before renewing the contract?
Clients are expecting the rental costs to go down when the demand is not as high as it once was; is this happening or not?

Rental prices have come down and there will be a fair amount of availability soon. This month we are seeing a lot of changes in the volume of expat rentals. Many companies have either shut down completely or have cut the amount of staff drastically to cut costs. In the city prices have been coming down over the past year or so and this has sparked a lot of movement with many either renegotiating their contracts or moving to better quality accommodation for the same budget. Several major changes have affected the market:
• Introduction of 15% urban property tax (IPU) 2 years ago and consequent enforcement in companies with organized accounting meant landlords tended to put 15% on top of their original asking price.
• Recent law to limit advance payments to between 2-6 months.
• Recent law that all payment should be made in kwanzas and now only non-residents can quote in dollars in contracts.
• Recent banking restrictions locally mean that it is very hard to get dollars out of the bank even if one has deposits.
• Large gap between official exchange rate ($1:160) and actual rate at which forex can be bought ($1:300+ at bureau de change).
I mention these issues because they have affected what would be a basic drop in prices by muddying the waters somewhat. So although prices have gone down in global terms the asking prices have been affected by these issues and vary greatly. First of all for international clients who can still pay in USD outside the country we can definitely negotiate very good rates as everyone prefers this option. Payment locally in USD now does not hold as much appeal as previously as having the money in your account does not mean you can easily access it. A lot of rentals are still quoted in dollars at the official exchange rate to act as a basic hedge against the devaluing kwanza. Now there is a move to use only kwanzas but the landlords still think in dollars and not knowing where the kwanza will end up they have to take a guess and are mostly using rates somewhere between the official and reality.

Still overall rental rates are definitely down and most of our clients are renegotiating their contracts downwards and Sonangol (Sonangol is a parastatal that oversees petroleum and natural gas production in Angola. The company is responsible for the management of oil and gas reserves in Angola) has cut costs as well which means they may not approve higher costs as readily as before. This year they hope to gradually move to only referencing kwanza with no mention of dollars. Right now there is lot of activity as many companies are consolidating accommodations to save on other costs such as security and transport i.e putting all their staff in one building or complex. A lot of clients that are kwanza-rich and are here for the long-term are buying their properties rather than renting because prices are lower, people are desperate and it’s better than having the money devalue in the bank. Locals are also buying property for this very same reason.

We are also doing a lot of basic factoring now for our clients who can still pay outside the country which allows them to get a lot more out of their contracts e.g for the same price in dollars we pay the rent locally but can include whatever services they need, usually TV/internet, maid, furnishing…etc.

There is still not a surplus of new apartments in the city centre for now, but this is because there are 5-7 new buildings not on the market yet. Once these come online there will definitely be a surplus of apartments in new buildings in the city which should bring the prices down, however, given current trends their are likely to spark more consolidation with companies taking the advantage of putting their staff in new buildings to save the inherent maintenance and security costs associated with older buildings. In fact they are only empty because the owners have taken loans to build them and are angling to sell/rent them in their entirety to one entity, which until last year was a great and viable business model.

Talatona also has a reasonable amount of properties available right now and prices have come down considerably but it is still not the ghost town people expect as many have taken advantage of this dip to move in there from further out and some companies to consolidate their operations and staff dispersement around Talatona instead of the city or further out.

So to summarize:
Prices have come down about 20%.
Kwanza has devalued 16% since 1 January and is set to devalue more.
If you can pay in USD outside then prices have actually come down somewhere in the region of 40+%.
Landlords are now accepting 2-6 months payment frequency.