High living costs keep people away from Africa’s newest city

buildingKilamba consists of apartment buildings, schools and retail units. (Image source: Nova Cidade do Kilamba Kiaxi/Facebook)Africa’s newest city Nova Cidade de Kilamba, built on the outskirts of Angola's capital Luanda, remains largely uninhabited due to high living costs even a year after being built

Reports have suggested that two-thirds of Angolans cannot afford Kilamba’s apartments, which are priced between US$120,000 and $200,000.

Despite government efforts to portray Kilamba as a thriving community, only 220 of the 2,800 apartments have been sold in the first year, while commercial spaces and schools remain empty.

The city, which is China’s largest new 'satellite city' project in Africa, was built in less than three years at a cost of $3.5 billion. It has the capacity to house half a million people.

It consists of 750 eight-story apartment buildings, dozens of schools and approximately 100 retail units spanning 12,355 acres. The development is believed to be one of the largest new-build projects on the continent.

Efforts are underway to designate a portion of the apartments as social housing for low-income families, allowing long-term rent at lower prices. Although the city has been paid for through a Chinese credit line, if residential property goes unsold, the Angolan government could potentially be left with a failed investment.

The city of Kilamba is a government project that coincided with President Jose Eduardo dos Santos 2008 election pledge to build one million homes in four years.

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