Catarina locked down in the hotel where she works in Luanda to ensure it kept running during the pandemic. She is one of many Angolans making an effort to keep the country's economy running smoothly during the health crisis.
From creating a field hospital to enforcing strict health protocols, Angola is working hard to fight the pandemic.
However, it’s the country’s businessmen and women who are helping the economy.
A good example of this is Geraldine Geraldo and her start-up platform, Roque Online, which supplies fruit and vegetables to market traders. Her business is booming amid a fast-track, digital transformation.
She tells us that a market segment that wasn't dependent on technology is now transitioning to the digital marketplace. She thinks this is fantastic and she has seen "a significant growth in more vendors shopping online to source their products."
Growth in farming
Angola’s agriculture sector is crucial to its diversifying economy. It is valued at more than three billion euros this year and is expected to grow to a whopping 28.6 billion by 2050.
João Macedo, the CEO of Novagrolider an agriculture firm, has brought certainty in uncertain times. He created a massive new farm in just a few months which has boosted national production and created jobs. He even tells us that within two years he hopes to employ over 1500 people.
Dulce Oliveira’s family-run farm has faced challenges. Despite this, it has pivoted to beat the pandemic.
Fewer foreign flower imports have helped the company to grow more domestic customers happy to buy their beautiful blooms.
The tourism sector fights back
Safeguarding tourism during the pandemic has been crucial too as it's an emerging sector worth 725 million euros last year. It is also expected to surge to 2.9 billion by 2050.
Using strict safety measures, Angola’s hotels have continued to welcome guests. Staff in some hotels also made very big personal sacrifices to keep things running smoothly.
Catarina De Pina Joana is the Marketing Manager at Epic Sana Hotel Luanda. She says that in March they introduced safety measures at the hotel and within 48 hours they had to decide which team was going to stay in the hotel and confine.
She was part of the team that did this and she describes it as "a very challenging period". However, this tactic bore fruit and that is visible through the hotel's continued success during COVID.
It's policies like these that Vera Daves de Sousa, Angola's Minister of Finance, thinks help contribute to their "building the confidence of the Angolans and all over the world in us, in our policies, in our ways of managing the country, the institutions, in our way to do business".
Many other companies, like boat-builders Rukka, have adapted too. Rukka, for example, tapped into a growing staycation market and sourced materials within Angola.
According to Vera Daves de Sousa, the government also played its role and "managed to quickly address the challenges coming from the health sector" and it "found space to be more flexible with the companies who were struggling with liquidity".
Thanks to local innovation and hard work, Angola has remained dynamic and united during the fight against COVID.