Challenges and opportunities in Angola's housing sector

This blog is written by Branca Do Espirito Santo. From time to time, CAHF publishes blogs from guest authors. The views expressed here are therefore those of the author’s and not CAHF, but are published with the aim of promoting information and debate in the housing sector.

Centralidade 4 de Abril Localization: Cabinda

The development of the Angolan government’s housing program has evolved substantially over the last 46 years. A former Portuguese colony, Angola established independence in 1975. In the early years of Angolan independence, incomplete houses and houses no longer occupied by Portuguese citizens who left, were nationalized by the State and delivered to Angolan citizens. [1] By Law 19/91 of 25th of May, the Government gave the tenants the opportunity to buy the State rental housing stock.

A number of new government initiatives were launched during the 1980’s to meet the housing needs of the citizens. As part of these initiatives, a cooperative project with Cuba saw the construction of buildings in various provincial capitals named E-40 buildings.

Then, in the late 1990s, there appeared the first experience of a public-private partnership—between the Angolan public company EDURB and the Brazilian company Odebrecht. The project was implemented south of Luanda, resulting in the Talatona neighborhood, a high-income residential area, whose profit from sales was intended to finance infrastructure and the construction of social housing.

In 2001, the Provincial Social Housing Program (PPHS) was implemented in Luanda. This emergency housing program aimed to relocate families who had been victims of climate change events as well as families, those who lived in areas prone to natural disasters or who inhabited areas designated for the development of specific structural projects. These projects are in the neighborhoods of Morar, Sapu and Zango.

Moreover, in 2001, the first phase of Urbanização Nova Vida – commonly known as Projecto Nova Vida (Nova Vida Project) – was inaugurated. This project was entirely financed and promoted by the State. A private company, lmogestin–SA, was contracted to sell the properties for this Project. Initially, 2 500 housing units were built (T3 – 3 room apartments and T3 and T4 – 3 and 4 room houses) along with the accompanying infrastructure. Seventy percent of the units were for civil servants, while the remaining 30% were intended for the public (free market). Civil servants benefited from a rent-to-purchase payment scheme over a period of 20 years while members of the general public purchased the free market units made use of equity.

During the second phase of the Nova Vida Project, 3 519 housing units will be built,[2] using a self-sustainable model in which the State only finances the external infrastructure, while the tenants pay for the internal infrastructure. The equity of the project was as a result of sales based on the house floor plans. This approach was possible because 80% of the houses were for the general public (free market) and the prices charged covered the construction costs.

The Urbanização Nova Vida was registered as the first pilot project in Angola, with management and maintenance of municipal infrastructure and services rendered by a consortium of private companies (Angolan and South African companies).

Furthermore, the first housing cooperative in the Republic of Angola, called Lar do Patriota, was created in 2001, targeted at middle income families.

Centralidade KM 44 Localization : Luanda

With the end of the war in 2002, the private sector witnessed a boom in the construction of housing for high-income families, whose prices were very high. Currently this higher-end market niche is experiencing a high vacancy rate, while demand for affordable housing for low and middle income households remains great.

In 2006, an official housing policy (Resolution N. 60/06)[3] was approved by the Council of Ministers, guaranteeing the universal right to housing, and in 2017 the Law Framework for Housing (Law 03/07)[4] was approved by the National Assembly with the aim to define housing policy development.

The Law 03/ 07 promotes public and private housing policies through the definition of  new criteria for human settlement and the construction of new neighborhoods and cities, the regulation of a system of fiscal incentives, credit for housing, promoting to raise public or private funds for housing, public private partnerships in the field of housing, guarantee of urban security, access and infrastructure, and the control of urban sprawl by consolidation of the urban and rural identity of the country.

At the National Conference on Social Housing in Angola in April 2008, the President of the Republic announced the launch of the National Program on Urbanism and Housing (PNUH) aimed to address the shortage of housing for low and middle income households. The program included the construction of one million housing units throughout the national territory, through the engagement of a range of actors. The responsibility for programme implementation was: 11.5% by public interest (State), 12% private public, 8% by cooperatives, and 68.5% land plots for self builds.

Furthermore, the PNUH also included the following sub-components; I) requalification and urban reconversion, ii) constitution and urbanization of land reserves, iii) land regularization, iv) construction of self-sustaining villages.

Centralidade Praia Amelia Localization : Namibe

In addition, a sub-program which is managed at local level consists of the construction of 200 housing units in 130 of 164 existing municipalities, benefiting a total of 26 000 residences.

Some of the challenges in Angola’s housing sector are:

1-Increasing need for affordable housing

Angola has approximately 32 million people,[5] with a natural growth rate of 3.22% and a fertility rate of 5.9 children per woman. 62.6 % of the population lives in urban areas and the urban growth rate is 4.19%.[6] Angola has a young population, with 65% of the population less than 24 years old and an average age of 20.6.[7] The rate of household formation is very high, and thus the need for new housing is a challenge.

The economic activity in Angola is highly dependent on the oil sector and with a structural reform underway, the country is facing a long recessive period, with real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) remaining stagnant for four years.[8] As a result GDP per capita has decreased, contributing increased poverty.

According to the National Institute of Statistics of Angola (INE), in rural areas, 9 out of 10 people live in multidimensional poverty.[9] As a result, many rural residents migrate to the cities with the aim of improving their living condition. However the dream of improving living conditions through migration to urban centers is often not fulfilled in reality. On the contrary, the struggle for survival is constant.

With the funding shortage that the state is currently facing and the subsequent need to cut state expenditure, the state has been unable to invest in urban infrastructure at the magnitude needed to prepare the cities to settle the new inhabitants. Consequently, urban sprawl is characterized by unplanned and unregulated growth, contributing to the increase of informal housing areas, where 48.6% of the population lives.[10] These areas have poor living conditions; residents lack basic services and amenities such as sanitation, clean drinking water, electricity, health care, education, and green spaces nor public transport. Some of these informal housing areas are at risk and vulnerable to climate events. High levels of crime are another persistent problem.

2- Affordability matters

The minimum monthly wage in Angola is AKZ 21.454 (USD37) for the agriculture sector, AKZ 26.817 (USD47) for the transport, services, and manufacturing sector and AKZ 32.181 (USD56) for the trade and extractive industry.[11] According to the Report on Angolan Economy 2020, the average national nominal wage is AKS 44.40 (USD78).[12] According to the National Bank of Angola (BNA), currently the market exchange rate is AKZ 568.679 / USD1.[13]

The unemployment rate was 30.6% in late 2020 and 55.3% among the youth between 15 and 24 years old.[14] According to the Household Survey on Expenses, Income and Employment in Angola (Inquérito das Despesas, Receitas e Emprego em Angola- IDREA 2018-2019), it is estimated that the level of self employment is 41.6%  and the source of income of 72.6 % of the country’s population is the informal market.[15]

According to the Executive Decree n. 363/20 of 24 December 2020, the monthly installment for rent to purchase in government housing projects varies between AKZ 63.955 and AKZ 13.833.[16] Workers who earn minimum wage, unemployed people and the majority of those working in the informal sector of the economy, are not eligible for the program. Therefore, the construction of affordable housing for purchasing and rent is crucial to meet the increasing need.

Centralidade da Quilemba Location Huila

3 – Putting in place one system for construction of affordable housing at scale

In the National Development Policy (PDN 2018-2022), the priorities identified under the housing policy consist of:

  1. The availability of plots of land with infrastructure, title, and framed in the urban plan of the area for directed self-construction. The mobilization of various players for their participation in the housing program is also a priority.
  2. To provide infrastructure for all the centralities/urbanizations where houses have been completed but are not occupied due to lack of services
  3. The construction of affordable housing through public private partnerships for low income households.[17]

Once access to infrastructure, land and title for the directed self-construction units is taken care of in the PDN 2018-2022, there are still additional challenges to address, including access to construction materials, construction technologies, skilled labor, tenure provisions, housing financing, management and operation of infrastructure, and availability of data.

The construction at scale of affordable housing requires the availability of construction materials in sufficient quantity and quality in the local market. Also, modern technology that is low cost and environmentally friendly and workforce training are crucial for the construction of adequate housing. These concerns are high on the agenda of stakeholders of the construction sector in Angola. The legalization of properties is also important as it guarantees the security of possession of the property.

Although the housing sector is capital-intensive, in Angola, there is virtually no mortgage market and limited housing microfinance available. The non-existence of a mortgage market constitutes a real bottleneck for the development of the housing sector.

The accumulated inflation rate in October was 21.88%,[18] while the interest rate of the Treasury Bills in maturity of 364 days was 17.48%[19] in September 2021. The interest rates charged by commercial banks range from 22% and 26%,[20] making access to bank credit unaffordable for many.

New infrastructure will increase the quality of life of citizens, as it will guarantee a supply of essential services, such as water, roads, sanitation, as well as education and health care. Efficient urban management is also required in order to ensure the sustainability of these services.

Availability of data on demand and supply side is required—on the one hand for the formulation of public policies and for all actors that intend to participate in the housing program, and on the other hand, as it demonstrates the opportunity that the demand for affordable housing represents, either for social enterprises or providing elements for the private sector to prepare their business plans, thus allowing them to take informed investment decisions.

Centralidade KM 44 Localization : Luanda

To conclude, despite all the initiatives already implemented as part of the government housing policy to address the shortage of housing in Angola, the need for affordable housing at scale and accompanying infrastructure continues to increase as a result of an urban growth rate which exceeds economic growth. As a result, we see an increase in multidimensional poverty in rural and urban areas as well as migration from rural to urban areas.

The need to improve the living conditions of people living in the underserved informal settlements and to increase affordable housing stock are challenges that can be transformed into opportunities. In this regard, the following measures should be considered by the stakeholders:

  1. Improve coordination of many different actors that intervene in the value chain of housing and infrastructure construction.
  2. Facilitate an enabling environment for the investment in affordable housing for purchase and rent for families whose household income is irregular or who depend on workers whose wages are at the bottom end of the wage scale.
  3. Develop a transparent subsidy policy that protects specific population groups such as people with disabilities, elderly, female, and male heads of households who live below the poverty line.
  4. Create conditions to increase the capacity of the national construction materials industry, through the implementation of incentives for companies in the industry and property developers who are willing to build large-scale dwellings, using low-cost construction materials and technologies, and local materials involving the Academy and designers.
  5. Improve access to technology that is low cost for the construction of affordable housing. Such technology can be leveraged to mitigate the impact of climate change because Angola is vulnerable to climatic events and is committed to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
  6. Capacity building to enhance the quality of the workforce, with the technical skills required to build quality housing units. This is an important factor that guarantees the construction of adequate housing and can contribute to the reduction of construction costs.

    Centralidade Zango Zero Location : Luanda
  7. Modernize the legal regularization system through the implantation of a single registration system to ensure tenure provisions in a timely manner.
  8. Improve macroeconomic conditions which influence the factors that determine interest rates on credit for housing. Mass production of affordable housing requires financing for construction, sale and rental, and thus its critical to build and support a broad housing finance system with alternative housing finance products for low income households.
  9. Implement a system for management, operation and maintenance of infrastructure to support and guarantee the expected living conditions over time of the new housing and infrastructures to be built as well as for a more efficient use of the public and private resources invested.
  10. Collect data on demand and supply side for the design of public policies for the public sector and other stakeholders and for the decision on investment for the private sector.



[1] Cain, A. (2017). The Private housing sector in Angola. (Accessed 11 August 2021). Pg. 1.

[2] Imogestin SA. Urbanização Nova Vida-Segunda Fase. (Accessed 9 November 2021).

[3] Ministério do Urbanismo e Habitação : Urbanismo e Habitação – Legislação fundamental- Súmula de legislação sectorial. Pg. 415

[4]Ibid. Pg. 387.

[5] INE: Projecções da População 2014-2050. Pg. 23. Novembro 2016.

[6] CAHF (2021). Housing Finance in Africa Yearbook 2021. (Accessed 11 September 2021).

[7] Governo de Angola (2018). Plano de Desenvolvimento Nacional 2018-2022. (Accessed 7 September 2021). Pg. 22.

[8] Angolan National Budget reviewed 2020. Diario da República n.122 de 11/08/2020 Law 31/20 (Accessed 11 September 2021). Pg. 4081, n. 53. 3.

[9] INE, Pobreza Multidimensional, Pg. 30.

[10] CAHF (2021). Housing Finance in Africa Yearbook 2021. (Accessed 11 September 2021). Pg. 45.

[11] Decreto Presidencial n. 89/19 de 21 de Março de 2019.

[12] Universidade Católica de Angola- Relatório sobre a Economia Angolana 2020.  Pg. 125.

[13] Banco Nactional de Angola. (Accessed 9 December 2021).

[14] Universidade Católica de Angola. Pg. 167.

[15] INE: IDREA Publicação de Indicadores Sobre Emprego e Desemprego 2018-2019, Abril 2019. Pgs. 11-12.

[16] Republica de Angola MINPOT / MINFIN.!/sala-de-imprensa/noticias/8744/valor-das-habitacoes-da-propriedade-resoluvel (Accessed 9 December 2021). Calculated by the subscriber.

[17] Governo de Angola (2018). Plano de Desenvolvimento Nacional 2018-2022. Pg. 130.

[18] Governo de Angola. MINISTÉRIO DAS FINANÇAS.!/economia-nacional/inflacao (Accessed 11 October 2021).

[19] Banco Nactional de Angola. Nova Série. (Accessed 9 December 2021).

[20] CAHF (2021). Housing Finance in Africa Yearbook 2021. (Accessed 9 December 2021). Pg. 45.

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