How to beat the localisation challenge – Joao Costa reports on how, even in Angola, quality local talent can be found

How to beat the localisation challenge – Joao Costa reports on how, even in Angola, quality local talent can be found

Angola has an abundant and diversified wealth of natural resources. It rivals Nigeria, the first oil producer in Africa, and is the leading US and China oil supplier.  However, the greatest richness and potential as a country is its people.  The national talent is its best asset and the most important and determining capital growth for true economic and social progress in the country.   But quality Angolan leaders a rare commodity in Angola currently.

Like all emerging countries, Angola has a huge scarcity of adequately trained professionals, in particular at senior management level. Most large companies in Angola are still using “expatriates” to fill this deficit of specialized and highly educated labour.

The contractual duration and permanence of expatriates in the country is about three years, so the medium term solution is to recruit national young talent to be trained and placed in key positions of organizations and institutions that constitute the framework of Angola’s economy.

However, with a total of 24 million people, where over 64% of the population is less than 24 years of age, Angola has a very young population.  Only about 6% of the population has a degree, which makes the succession planning to replace expatriates with nationals, very much a long-term project which will take at least a generation to deliver.

The recent policy of prioritising national talent (Angolanisation) imposed on companies operating in Angola is to have a maximum ratio of 70% nationals to 30% expatriates. This trend has been growing, driving demand for good Angolan talent, not just due to this imposition, but also because of corporate savings relating to the costs of managing expats.

Increasingly therefore, multinational companies are looking to attract quality Angolan nationals or dual nationality holders to fill core positions within their operations.  One of the best ways to do this is to engage a Search Firm to proactively find and head hunt this rare commodity.

JCC on phone - map behind GOOD

An example of this increasingly important trend is illustrated by the results we have seen here at Executives in Africa in the last few years.  As one of the leading companies in Executive Search in Africa we are proud that more than 90% of the candidates placed for our clients in Angola have been local nationals.  With a Lusophone Team fluent in Portuguese, and regular visits to the country, Executives in Africa have an unrivalled understanding of the region.

The Government in Angola has also, in recent years, been promoting and encouraging the return of young professionals, currently working around the world, back to the country. These young people have often trained in the best education institutions in Europe and the USA. There is a program of incentives and support measures that encourages the return and integration of Angolans back into their home market.

To be successful, this initiative by the government needs to be supported by companies through the commitment to proper talent development programs, capability development and succession planning.  This in turn requires HR professionals and a commitment by CEOs to support the role that HR can play in the success of a business through proper Talent Management strategies fully aligned with business strategies.

To find out more about how Executives in Africa can partner with your company to support capability building and localisation without compromising on the quality of your leadership team, please contact Joao Costa at

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