China's 'Ghost Town' in Angola Remains Empty

China's 'Ghost Town' in Angola Remains Empty

A city that was built in Angola to accommodate 500,000 sits empty because local residents cannot afford the asking price for the houses.

The newly constructed city known as Nova Cidade de Kilamba is located in a rural area about 20 miles outside of Angola's capital, Luanda.

The city was originally constructed to be a new site for residential and retail developments. Construction of 750 eight-story apartment buildings about a dozen schools and more than 100 retail units already are completed, but continue to remain vacant.

The city complex was built by the state-owned China International Trust and Investment Corporation (CITIC) in just about three years, costing around $3.5 billion. The city is the largest of several new "satellite cities" which are being developed by Chinese firms around Angola to ease congestion of densely populated urban areas.

While the site offers plenty of new space for continued development and occupation occupying around 12,355 acres, houses are listed between $120,000 and $200,000 and much too expensive for the majority of Angolans.

Roughly two-thirds of Angolans live on less than $2 a day, relegating many to live in slums without electricity or running water.

Elias Isaac, country director at the Angolan Office of the Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa (OSISA), told Louise Redvers of the BBC that there is no opportunity for economic advancement.

"There is no middle class in Angola, just the very poor and the very rich, and so there is no-one to buy these sorts of houses. The government needs to start giving priority to building low-cost housing because a great majority of the population live in shacks with no water, electricity or sanitation."

The Angolan government is reluctant to say building the city was a mistake even though only 220 of the available 2,800 apartments have been sold.


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