RUSTENBURG, The Angolan government has introduced several initiatives to encourage investment and business opportunities in the oil rich country, emigration assistance group Xpatweb said on Tuesday.

One of the first initiatives was to relax the visa requirements for countries such as Botswana, Mauritius, the Seychelles, Zimbabwe and notably, Singapore.

Citizens from Namibia, South Africa, Mozambique, the Cape Verde, Rwanda and Zambia can enter Angola without a tourist or business visa.

“It is clearly an effort by the Angolan government to encourage business and investments into the country, and to alleviate the unavailability of foreign currency in the country and the challenges behind that,” immigration specialist at Xpatweb, Tarissa Wareley, said.

Another innovative decision was to allow people to conduct business under a tourist visa. This was a concession to investors from countries who were still required to enter the country with a visa.

“A tourist visa will now suffice, even though visitors will be doing business or negotiating investments,” Wareley said.

She said the government had also extended the validity of the tourist visa from 90 days to 120 days.

It introduced evisa applications that will be issued within 24 hours and this further streamlines the process and facilitates access into the country.

The normal processing times for visas range anything between two to three weeks. If there was an urgent need for a business or investors to enter Angola it would no longer be subjected to this delay.

The government was also allowing foreign nationals to partner with an Angolan national to set up a business, without having to invest at least $500,000.

According to the World Bank the oil sector accounts for onethird of Angola’s GDP and more than 90 percent of exports.

Given the importance of the sector the government has adopted a more lenient approach to shortterm visas.

The validity of these emergency visas has been extended from seven days (with an additional seven days) to a total of 20 days (initial 10 days with an additional 10 days).

Source: African News Agency