Emerging Markets

Executive exodus— Luanda


With their country in the midst of economic ruin, thousands of Portuguese nationals are heading to skills-starved Angola in search of lucrative jobs. It may be boosting the former colony’s economy, but is everyone going to benefit?

Portugal, Portugese, lusophone

Landing at Luanda’s Quatro de Fevereiro International airport is rarely a pleasant experience. The immigration queues are long and slow, the boothed officers gruff, and it always seems to take an age for your luggage to creak its way into the sweaty and overcrowded arrivals hall.

Several security checks later, you are finally allowed outside into the humidity. Here the honking traffic jams await you, ready to sap your energy and leave you ill-prepared for the surly receptionist at your overpriced hotel, where the internet is slow and the air-con…

Ports in a storm

Portugal’s émigrés

A country’s youth is its most precious resource; trite, yes, but true. However bad the economic situation, a government will do all it can to find jobs, training or education for the next generation. Rare is the government that realises that the best advice it can give its young is to leave. This shows how difficult life has become in Portugal. Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho last year urged young unemployed – a third aged under 25 are jobless – to “leave their comfort zone” and emigrate.

Many have taken his advice. At least three million Portuguese now live abroad, leaving just over 10 million back in Portugal. Their destinations are eclectic: more than a million live in France, while around 100,000 have made a home in Luxembourg (there is even a name for them: Lusoburgues). Fellow Lusophone countries are also understandably attractive. Brazil has taken more than 700,000, Angola is popular and tens of thousands have made the journey to Mozambique.

The tough question for Passos Coelho to ponder is this: once they’ve gone, will they ever come back?

Top 10 destinations

  1. France: 1,145,531
  2. Brazil: 705,615
  3. Switzerland: 278,933
  4. US: 190,199
  5. Germany: 162,472
  6. UK: 154,455
  7. Venezuela: 131,067 8 Canada: 130,607
  8. Macau: 129,735
  9. Luxembourg: 100,073

Top 5 Lusophone destinations for Portuguese nationals

  1. Brazil: 705,615
  2. Macau: 129,735
  3. Angola: 94,767
  4. Mozambique: 20,413
  5. Cape Verde: 11,318

0:00:00 0:01:00

Drag me