Angola is rich in both agricultural and mineral resources. Amongst the cultivated products are mealies and manioc, the sugar-cane and cotton, coffee and tobacco plants. The chief exports are coffee, rubber, wax, palm kernels and palm-oil, cattle and hides and dried or salt fish. Gold dust, cotton, ivory and gum are also exported. The chief imports are food-stuffs, cotton and woollen goods and hardware. Considerable quantities of coal come from South Wales. Oxen, introduced from Europe and from South Africa, flourish. There are sugar factories, where rum is also distilled and a few other manufactures, but the prosperity of the province depends on the "jungle" products obtained through the natives and from the plantations owned by Portuguese and worked by indentured labour, the labourers being generally "recruited" from the far interior. The trade of the province, which had grown from about £800,000 in 1870 to about £3,000,000 in 1905, is largely with Portugal and in Portuguese bottoms.
Between 1893 and 1904 the percentage of Portuguese as compared with foreign goods entering the province increased from 43 to 201%, a result due to the preferential duties in force.
The minerals found include thick beds of copper at Bembe, and deposits on the M'Brije and the Cuvo and in various places in the southern part of the province; iron at Ociras (on the Lucalla affluent of the Kwanza) and in Bailundo; petroleum and asphalt in Dande and Quinzao; gold in Lombije and Cassinga; and mineral salt in Quissama. The native blacksmiths are held in great repute.
There is a regular steamship communication between Portugal, England and Germany, and Loanda, which port is within sixteen days' steam of Lisbon. There is also a regular service between Cape Town, Lobito and Lisbon and Southampton. The Portuguese line is subsidized by the government. The railway from Loanda to Ambaca and Malanje is known as the Royal Trans-African railway. It is of metre gauge, was begun in 1887 and is some 300 m. long. It was intended to carry the line across the continent to Mozambique, but when the line reached Ambaca (225 m.) in 1894 that scheme was abandoned. The railway had created a record in being the most expensive built in tropical Africa - £8942 per mile. A railway from Lobito Bay, 25 m.N. of Benguella, begun in 1904, runs towards the Congo-Rhodesia frontier. It is of standard African gauge (3 ft. 6 in.) and is worked by an English company. It is intended to serve the Katanga copper mines. Besides these two main railways, there are other short lines linking the seaports to their hinterland. Apart from the railways, communication is by ancient caravan routes and by ox-wagon tracks in the southern district. Riding-oxen are also used.
The administration of the province is carried on under a governor-general, resident at Loanda, who acts under the direction of the ministry of the colonies at Lisbon. At the head of each district is a local governor. Legislative powers, save those delegated to the governor-general, are exercised by the home government. Revenue is raised chiefly from customs, excise duties and direct taxation. The revenue (in 1904-1905 about £350,000) is generally insufficient to meet expenditure (in 1904-1905 over £490,000) - the balance being met by a grant from the mother country. Part of the extra expenditure is, however, on railways and other reproductive works.