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João Lourenço, president of Angola since the 2017 election, has taken strides against corruption as part of his drive towards greater transparency, investigating corruption allegations against several former officials. Legislatively, the government has adopted numerous new laws as part of its broader reforms, including a new competition law and private investment law.

Another of Lourenço’s key objectives was to stabilise and diversify the Angolan economy, which has relied heavily on the oil and gas industry and has suffered commensurately as prices slumped in recent years.

In 2018, tax rates for marginal oil fields were decreased as the government attempted to reform and revitalise the sector. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Oil’s announcement in August 2018 that it would establish a new National Agency of Oil and Gas (ANPG), signalled the end of Sonangol’s regulatory role in the sector. It was later announced that up to 54 of Sonangol’s subsidiaries will be privatised.

The success of Angola’s US$3bn eurobond issued in May 2018, which was three times oversubscribed, illustrated the increase in investor confidence in the country. Law firms reported a significant uptick in work in the banking and finance field, while employment and litigation departments are also seeing higher volumes of work.

Portuguese law firms are particularly active in the country, often working in association with Luanda-based firms. International firms also operate in Angola from bases in London and Amsterdam, and Tauil & Chequer Advogados in association with Mayer Brown is a key player from Brazil.

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