Housing for whom? Angola's oil-fuelled urbanization
Allan Cain (Development Workshop)
Paper short abstract:
Since the end of the civil war the government of Angola has used Chinese credit facilities to build prestige urban projects The most famous, Kilamba Centralidade, China's largest housing venture in Africa. was promoted as social housing, but was unaffordable, even for middle-level civil servants.
Paper long abstract:
Since the end of the civil war in 2002, the government of Angola has used Chinese credit facilities backed by petroleum-based guarantees to build prestige urban projects on a scale that in sub-Saharan Africa is second only to post-apartheid South Africa. The most famous is the publicly-privately developed Kilamba 'Centralidade' (new town) with 20,000 apartments, China's largest housing venture in Africa. The apartments, at first promoted as social housing, were too expensive for most of the population and the state had to draw more funds from its housing budget to subsidize the scheme to make units affordable, even for upper- and middle-level civil servants. With the collapse of oil prices through 2014 and 2016, the Angolan state budget has been drastically reduced, and it is unlikely that the government will be able to provide investment and subsidies to continue building new housing in the form of centralidades like The private sector, both international and local, has been a major beneficiary of construction contracts from the state. The private sector, however, has been reluctant to provide its own financing and to invest in real estate itself, due to weak land tenure and the lack of legislative reforms to make a functional land market. Solving the problems around land may be a way to stimulate the engagement of private-sector participation in providing direct financing for the housing sector.
Inside a construction boom: politics, responsibility and the temporalities of urban development