EU-UNCTAD joint programme for Angola: Train for Trade II


With a population of 34,5 million, the Republic of Angola's gross domestic product (GDP) was USD 67.4 billion in current prices in 2021, which put it in the top ten economies in sub–Saharan Africa (SSA).

There has been a steady growth in GDP per capita rising from 556 USD in 2000 to 1,935 USD in 2021 (current prices). However, despite the growth over time, the most recent trend has been negative, with GDP per capita falling from 3,100 USD in 2015.  On the other hand, the exports of non-oil products from Angola have grown since 2016 in real terms – from USD 2.047 billion in 2016 to USD 2.126 billion in 2021 – after a dip due to the Covid-19 pandemic, while their share out of total exports slightly decreased in 2021 due to the hike in international oil prices.

While the trend is positive, the country remains heavily dependent on the exports of crude oil, accounting for a whopping 93.7% of the nation's total merchandise exports (2021) and making it necessary to continue reinforcing efforts towards sustainable economic diversification.

Overdependence on a single export item (oil) has also discouraged the country from incorporating into global value chains and participating more fully in the export of manufactured goods and value-added services.

Despite the exceptional improvement in GDP per capita, progress in economic diversification and advances in social and human-capital development have been limited. The national poverty rate continues to be high at over 30%, and inequality is a major issue. These challenges remain daunting.

Concerning the level of productive capacities, Angola performs below LDC averages and the averages of countries in the same region in seven out of eight components as measured by the Productive Capacities Index. However, Angola is in a better position than most of its peers in scaling up investment to support the fostering of productive capacities and structural transformation.

Angola belongs to the group of least developed countries (LDCs), with graduation from the LDC category expected in February 2024 based on the “income-only” criterion. While having demonstrated strong growth in the past decades, its economy is characterized by over-dependence on extractive sectors, weak productive capacities, and a lack of structural economic transformation. The Covid-19 pandemic further deepened and exacerbated the country’s trade and development challenges, confirming the country’s systemic and structural vulnerability to external shocks.

UNCTAD is providing regular support to the development of a National Smooth Transition Strategy by the Angolan Government, in view of Angola’s graduation with momentum from the LDC category and beyond. In this context, the country is in strong need of reformulated policies and institutions to help diversify its economy and maximize regional and global trade opportunities. The EU-UNCTAD Joint Programme for Angola: Train for Trade II responds to these challenges by supporting the process of diversification of the country’s economy and exports by building the key components of its productive capacities in seven different Programme areas.

In short, it is important that Angola’s current and future policies and strategies place productive capacities and structural economic transformation, including export diversification and value addition at the center of its key policies and programmes in view of facilitating a smooth transition from the LDC category and beyond.

In 2022, the Train for Trade II Programme received major recognition when it was selected as a global success story for SDG good practices implementation, which was the result of a peer-review process by an inter-agency team of UN experts that reviewed over 700 submissions. The Programme was featured among 21 success stories identified globally and among the four selected for Africa.

Objectives of the Programme

The objective of the EU-UNCTAD Joint Programme for Angola: Train for Trade II is to improve human and institutional capacities to foster appropriate economic diversification policies in Angola, and to help the country build a more resilient economy capable of eradicating poverty. UNCTAD's intervention will focus on key problems previously identified by the Angolan Government. These problems are pervasive challenges that undermine efforts to achieve accelerated, inclusive and sustainable economic growth and development.

The key areas identified are:

  1. Trade policy and negotiations
  2. Trade facilitation
  3. Transport and trade logistics
  4. SME development
  5. Investment
  6. Scoping non-oil trade opportunities and diversification (including in selected agricultural products and creative industries)
  7. Holistic support to the creative economy


  • Angola National Green Export Review: Scoping non-oil trade opportunities/diversification
  • Commercial Diplomacy: Capacity building in trade policy making, negotiations and analysis for Angola
  • Trade facilitation: Support for the implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement in Angola, UNCTAD Empowerment Programme for National Trade Facilitation Committees
  • Transport and Trade Logistics: Promoting sustainable transport and trade logistics systems, corridor and cluster-based approaches
  • EMPRETEC: SME development and support to the creation of an Entrepreneurship Policy Framework
  • Investment: Investment Policy Review of Angola (IPR)
  • Creative Economy: Support for the creation of a stronger creative economy in Angola, including through a coherent dedicated strategy, and focused training to public and private sector agents

Expected accomplishments

  • Enhanced technical skills of Angolan officials and other interested parties through training, and advisory services, as well as policy and regulatory support;
  • Increased knowledge imbedded in national institutions and officials trained to be providers of trade courses;
  • SMEs and businesspeople trained in entrepreneurial and growth techniques by EMPRETEC;
  • Increased capacities through opportunities for regional and international knowledge and experience sharing for government officials and stakeholders;
  • Investment policy framework analyzed and recommendations for improvements provided, incl. support for the implementation of the recommendations;
  • Analysis of economic sectors and value chain mapping;
  • Development of course curricula for academic or vocational training on trade;
  • Creative economy strategy developed;
  • Development of a distance learning network.

Key results achieved

The Train for Trade II Programme’s holistic approach to the sustainable development of the economy and trade has brought significant added value through its processes. In particular, the cross-sectoral nature of the Programme has brought together most Angolan Government ministries and agencies, together with stakeholders from the private sector, universities, and NGOs, and thereby stimulated coordination and broadly consultative processes within the Government.

By May 2023, the Programme has built the capacities of 2668 individuals. Out of these, 54% came from the public sector, taking the number of Government officials trained through the Programme to 1452 individuals. As such, the overall Programme target of 500–700 Government Officials trained has been exceeded at both the lower and the higher target levels. The share of private sector participants was 34%, representing 904 individuals. As such, the original target of 100–150 SMEs trained has been greatly exceeded. Even when looking at the number of entrepreneurs trained through the Empretec Entrepreneurship Training, the figure stands at 380 individuals trained through the Empretec Programme as of May 2023.

Further, 76% of participants so far have been trained by the Programme one time. In comparison, the share of individuals trained multiple times, from two to up to 18 times, stands at 24%. As such, the development of human resources is increasingly building on previous training, leading to further consolidation of knowledge which is expected to be seen through changes in policies and working methods.

The Programme is making progress in its ambitious objective of 40% female participation in trainings, with 32% of participants being female and 68% male at present. These shares result particularly from the overall economic structure where certain sectors and occupations are heavily male-dominated, especially at the provincial level and in the countryside. UNCTAD is making continuous efforts to improve the share of female participants in its activities as well as to make women’s voices heard in policy development processes.

Another overall target relates to persons trained as trainers. This has been the case for 73 persons so far, as such exceeding the lower threshold and soon reaching the higher threshold of the overall Programme target of 50–80 persons trained as trainers. The share of female trainers trained reaches 35,6% at present. The individuals trained as trainers include 26 people trained through a Training of Trainers (ToT) on Non-Tariff Measures (NTMs); six persons who underwent an export diversification ToT and 25 who were trained as trainers in the apiculture sector development under the NGER/Green Exports component; four trained and certified Empretec trainers, out of which two are also master trainers, able to train additional trainers for the country; as well as 12 trained as trainers in trade facilitation.

Results achieved at the output level

  • Output 1 focuses on Potential green non-oil growth sectors identified, their value chains mapped, and action plans produced for their further development, corresponding to the NGER component. The key results achieved so far include:
  • Output 2 focuses on Public sector stakeholders with enhanced and sustainable capacities engaged in trade policy making, corresponding to the Commercial Diplomacy component. The key results achieved so far include:
  • Output 3 focuses on Capacities of the National Trade Facilitation Committee strengthened to develop and implement a national Trade Facilitation Strategy, corresponding to the Trade Facilitation component.
    • 92 participants trained through altogether 9 trainings; 12 persons trained as trainers on Trade Facilitation under the UNCTAD Empowerment Programme for National Trade Facilitation Committees.
    • Sectoral participation in trainings: 72 public sector, 10 academia, 10 NGOs.
    • Certifications awarded after successful passing of exams in online trainings 2020, and 2021 and modules 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 belonging to the UNCTAD Empowerment Programme.
  • Output 4 focuses on Trade logistics stakeholders and relevant institutions capacitated and better equipped to support sustainable trade development, corresponding to the Transport and Logistics component.
    • 456 participants trained through altogether 6 fully-fledged trainings.
    • Sectoral participation in trainings: 318 public sector; 92 private sector; 17 NGOs; 11 media; 10 academia.
    • Technical support to the development of the PPP Law and Decree, and comprehensive review assessing the performance of key transport corridors in Angola.
  • Output 5 focuses on Angola's investment environment strengthened, as per the Investment Policy Review of Angola, in line with a more open, sustainable, highly attractive, and market-oriented economy, corresponding to the IPR component.
    • 240 participants trained through altogether 11 trainings.
    • Sectoral participation in trainings: 184 public sector, 24 private sector; 11 NGOs; 6 media, and 3 academia.
    • Publications:
  • Output 6 focuses on Entrepreneurial skills and trade-related capacity of Micro, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) upgraded, consistently with the National Entrepreneurship Strategy and Action Plan deployment corresponding to the Empretec component.
    • 825 participants trained through altogether 28 trainings.
    • Sectoral participation in trainings: 481 private sector, 273 public sector, 41 NGOs, 22 academia.
    • Four (4) persons Trained as Trainers (ToT), and two (2) of them trained persons are Master Trainers.
    • Empretec Entrepreneurship Training: 380 persons trained.
  • Output 7 focuses on Enhanced and sustainable capacities of the public and private sector stakeholders engaged in the creative economy supported by a conducive policy environment, corresponding to the Creative Economy component.
    • 176 participants trained through altogether 13 trainings.
    • Sectoral participation in trainings: 91 public sector, 65 private sector, 9 academia, 4 NGOs.
    • A State of Play report has been drafted and inputs from stakeholders acquired to develop the Creative Industries Strategy.

Results achieved at the impact level

The Programme’s impact level objective is To increase Angola’s participation in the regional and international economy and value chains.

? Impact indicator 1 measures the Share of non-oil exports to the world. Whereas non-oil exports constituted 7.3% of total exports in 2016, the situation in 2021 was at a 6.3% level.

? Impact indicator 2 focuses on the Value of total exports to SADC countries. With the total exports to SADC at 1,520.886 million USD in 2016 and 803.20 million USD in 2021, a decrease in value of 717.69 million USD can be observed. The decrease can be related to the overall declines experienced due to the global recession trend in 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the decrease was relatively more important in fuel products than in non-oil products. As such, the share of non-oil exports to SADC has increased over the same period, with non-oil product exports reaching 27% of total Angolan exports to SADC in 2021 against 16.7% in 2016.

? Impact indicator 3 measures the Level of investment inflows. The inflows were at -180 million USD in 2016 and –4,355 million USD in 2021, in comparison to -4,098 million USD in 2019. Some issues with statistical data collection have been identified; UNCTAD is assisting Angola with technical support in this regard.

Results achieved at the outcome level

Under the Specific Objective (SO) Enhanced Angolan policies and practices to foster and manage both global and regional trade and investment flows, four separate indicators measure outcome level progress.

  1. SO indicator 1.1 focuses on the Status of laws, regulations and programmes aimed to modernize and strengthen the Angolan economy.
    • 80% of the targeted policy documents delivered, and 140–160% are underway.
    • Refer to the interactive infographic under Progress policy development.
  2. SO indicator 1.2 focuses on the Status of Angola's investment policy.
  3. SO indicator 1.3 focuses on the Status of Angola’s trade policy on the regional and global perspectives.
    • Ongoing support to the development of a Trade Policy Strategy, Commercial Diplomacy component.
    • Ongoing support to negotiations in the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), SADC, and AfCFTA, including Rules of Origin, WTO.
  4. SO indicator 1.4 focuses on the Status of Angola's Entrepreneurship Policy Framework.
    • Development of a National Entrepreneurship Strategy (NES) with the leadership of INAPEM, under the Empretec component.

Progress on policy development



Download overview



Angola's route to economic transformation: Small businesses drive economic growth


Transforming4Trade: Special coverage by UN Africa Renewal

The UN has acknowledged the Angolan programme as a best practice for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This publication by Africa Renewal focuses on the programme’s impact, drawing on beneficiaries’ first-hand accounts.


*Source for figures and estimates: UNCTADStat.

Supporting export diversification through training and by building productive capacities...

image 1

National Green Export Review workshop facilitating the identification and prioritization of green products with export potential in June 2018

image 2

Capacity building training for honey producers and traders in the Moxico province in June 2019

image 3

Women producers of coffee and tropical fruits certified in a capacity building training in the Uíge province of Angola in November 2019

image 4

Quality honey from Moxico, Angola

image 5

Training beneficiary Dona Isabel Menezes at her coffee plantation in the Uíge province of Angola


Helping to train a vibrant entrepreneurial base ...

image 6

14th Empretec training workshop in Luanda, Angola, in April 2021

Four certified national Empretec trainers and two master trainers: Geraldo Basilua, Rosenayde Gomes, Wilson Kitth and Tunísia Sebastião

image 7


Encouraging sustainable investments ...

image 8

National workshop to discuss and validate the Investment Policy Review of Angola in September 2019

... and a conducive transport infrastructure for trade.

Hybrid workshop to showcase good practices on Public Private Partnerships for transport infrastructure development and help prepare PPP projects in July 2020

image 9

Promoting a national brand through developing the cultural and creative industries ...

Facilitating trade and helping to develop trade policies that assist in achieving national development priorities.

image 11

Participants in the training workshop for Module 2 of the UNCTAD Empowerment Programme for National Trade Facilitation Committees in March 2020

... with funding by the European Union


Código del Proyecto

Código del Proyecto



European Union


Republic of Angola





€ 6,300,000



Africa Africa