REEDOM ON THE
Similar to other countries in sub-Saharan Africa, China has emerged as a key investor and
contractor in Angola’s telecommunications sector. In 2008, the Angolan government contracted
the Chinese telecom ZTE to head the operations of the previously state-owned Movicel,
makes the country’s second largest mobile network highly vulnerable to government interception
and interference without oversight, particularly given China’s own reputation for such ICT
Other research accounts report that ZTE has been involved with assisting with the
Angolan military’s telecommunication,
though in what capacity is unknown. More recently in
March 2012, ZTE and Huawei, another major Chinese telecom, were both contracted to develop
4G and LTE networks for Movicel.
Meanwhile in June 2012, the country’s other private mobile operator, Unitel, launched a project in
partnership with the education ministry and Huawei to provide free access to the internet for
secondary school students in both public and private schools across the country’s 18 provinces.
Known as “E-Net,” the project aims to benefit over 18,000 students with computers supplied by
Huawei and internet access provided by Unitel.
The Ministry of Post and Telecommunications (MCT) is responsible for oversight of the ICT
sector, while the Angolan Institute for Communications (INACOM), established in 1999, serves as
the sector’s regulatory body. Reporting to the MCT, INACOM determines the sector’s regulations
and policies, sets prices for telecommunications services, and issues licenses. The regulatory body
was set up as an independent public institution with both financial and administrative autonomy
from the ministry,
though in practice, it has a limited measure of autonomy. According to reports
by the ITU and the World Bank, INACOM is not autonomous in its decision making process,
part due to the ministerial appointment of the director general who can be dismissed for any
reason. In addition, the MCT has been known to influence staff appointments, while other
ministries are often involved in sector policy, leading to politically influenced regulatory
“Angola: China’s ZTE Takes on Operational Management of Movicel,” Macauhub, October 30, 2008,
John Reed, “Africa’s Big Brother lives in Beijing,” Foreign Policy, July 30, 2013,
Roselyn Hseuh and Michael Byron Nelson, “Who Wins? China Wires Africa: The Cases of Angola and Nigeria,” paper prepared
for presentation at NYU/Giessen Development Finance Conference, NYU School of Law, April 9, 2013,
Michael Malakata, “Angola’s Movicel launches LTE,” Computer World Zambia, April 23, 2012,
http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/news/network‐wifi/3353225/angolas‐movicel‐launches‐lte/; Egon Cossou, “High‐speed Internet:
Angola’s big 4G leap,” Africa Review, May 1, 2012, http://www.africareview.com/Business+++Finance/Angolas+big+4G+leap/‐
“MED, Unitel Design Internet Access Project,” ANGOP, June 7, 2012, http://bit.ly/17juscJ.
Russell Southwood, “The Case for ‘Open Access’ Communications Infrastructure in Africa: The SAT‐3/WASC cable – Angola
case study,” Association for Progressive Communications, accessed August 30, 2013,
International Telecommunication Union, “Angola Profile.”
“Private Solutions for Infrastructure in Angola: A Country Framework Report,” Public‐Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility
and the World Bank Group, 2005, http://www.ppiaf.org/sites/ppiaf.org/files/publication/Angola‐CFR.pdf: 92.