Friday, August 3, 2012
Angola's Chinese-built ghost town
Thanks to Phil for passing this along.
The ghost towns of China, Ireland and Spain - full of large empty house estates - may be a phenomenon that is on its way to Africa.
Built for people who never move in, they leave those who did with a worthless property they cannot sell.
Perched in an isolated spot some 30km (18 miles) outside Angola's capital, Luanda, Nova Cidade de Kilamba is a brand-new mixed residential development of 750 eight-storey apartment buildings, a dozen schools and more than 100 retail units.
Designed to house up to half a million people when complete, Kilamba has been built by the state-owned China International Trust and Investment Corporation (CITIC) in under three years at a reported cost of $3.5bn (£2.2bn).
Spanning 5,000 hectares (12,355 acres), the development is the largest of several new "satellite cities" being constructed by Chinese firms around Angola, and it is believed to be one of the largest new-build projects on the continent.
The jewel in Angola's post-war reconstruction crown, Kilamba is the star of glossy government promotional videos which show smiling families enjoying a new style of living away from the dust and confusion of central Luanda where millions live in sprawling slums.
But the people in these films are only actors, and despite all the hype, nearly a year since the first batch of 2,800 apartments went on sale, only 220 have been sold.