It's in Angola, has 750 buildings, 12 schools and over 100 stores, but it's empty, it was designed to house half a million people Located about 30 kilometers from the capital of Angola, Luanda, Nova Cidade de Kilamba is a new mixed development of 750 residential apartment buildings of eight stories, a dozen schools and over 100 shops. Most of the complex is empty, residents. The ghost towns of China, Ireland and Spain, full of big empty apartment buildings, are also beginning to be seen in Africa.
Designed to house half a million people when completed, Kilamba has been built by the state-owned China International Trust and Investment Corporation in less than three years at a cost of U.S. $ 3,500 million. The citadel, covering 5,000 hectares, is considered the largest satellite city that Chinese companies are building in Angola, and one of the largest construction projects in the continent. Kilamba is seen as the jewel in the crown after the war that the country experienced. In the government's promotional videos show smiling families enjoying a new lifestyle away from dust and confusion from downtown Luanda, where millions of people live in slums. But the people in the ads are just actors. Almost a year after the first batch of 2,800 apartments went on sale, only 220 have been sold
Kilamba is a quiet but disturbing voices bounce off the fresh concrete or lose in extensive paved roads. There are hardly any cars and few people. Dozens of rows of buildings of various colors are repeated with their shutters closed and empty balconies. Only a handful of commercial premises are occupied, mostly by utilities but no shops. With the exception of a supermarket there's no place to buy food. After driving for about 15 minutes without seeing anyone other than Chinese workers, many of whom seem to live in containers near the site, I found a small school. The students come from outlying areas. Sebastiao Antonio, a 17-year-old spends three hours a day to go to school. "I really like this place. Has parks, sports facilities for football, basketball and handball.'s Very quiet, much more than the other city, no crime," he said. But after asking if he and his family would move there, Antonio just smiled. "No way, we can not afford this.'s Impossible. And no work for my parents here," he said.
A similar thought Jack Francis, 32, who began working in Kilamba as street sweeper. "It's a nice, safe. But to live here you need a lot of money. People like us have no money how can we ask to live here?".
Kilamba departments cost between U.S. $ 120,000 and U.S. $ 200,000 out of the reach of nearly two thirds of Angolans live on less than $ 2 a day. However, Paulo Cascão, general manager of Delta Imobiliaria, the leading sales agency, said the problem was not the price but the difficulty of access to bank credit. "The prices are right for the quality of the apartments and the conditions that the Citadel can offer," he said. A new legal framework was recently introduced to allow local banks to grant mortgages, but for most Angolans (even the few who are well paid) to find enough money for a deposit is a real struggle. "The government must begin to prioritize the construction of affordable housing because the vast majority of the population live in shacks without water, electricity or sanitation," said Elias Isaac, director in Angola the Open Society Initiative of South Africa. "There is no middle class in Angola, only the very poor and the very rich. So no one can buy these houses," he added. According Cascão the government announced that a portion of the apartments in Kilamba will designate social housing for low-income people can rent the still unknown but the details of the measure and its critics think it is a political promise of the forthcoming elections. There is also the question of what will happen to the apartments of full cost if not sold. Kilamba was funded by a credit line from China to Angola is returning with petroleum, which technically means that the debt has been paid. But if the houses are not selling the government will keep the shares in their hands and a wasted investment potential ..
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