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Chinese-Built Housing Development in Angola a ‘Ghost Town’

Kilamba in Africa's Angola, a massive 3.5 billion USD Chinese housing construction project, allegedly now still a ghost town despite completion.

Kilamba in Africa's Angola, a massive 3.5 billion USD Chinese housing construction project, allegedly now still a ghost town despite completion.

From NetEase:

China’s residential project in Angola called a “ghost town”

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reported on July 2nd that China’s CITIC Group’s residential construction project in Angola, involving over 3.5 billion USD in total investment, has been completed after 3 years. However, this satellite city that can house 500,000 people has, due to high selling prices, been reduced to a “ghost town”. (File photos, taken 2011 2011 May 13)

Kilamba in Africa's Angola, a massive 3.5 billion USD Chinese housing construction project, allegedly now still a ghost town despite completion.

The Chinese embassy in Angola made a clarification, that this residential project has actually not been fully completed, but the first phase of sales has already been very favorable, and “the foreign media’s reports is completely inconsistent with the actual situation”.

Kilamba in Africa's Angola, a massive 3.5 billion USD Chinese housing construction project, allegedly now still a ghost town despite completion.

According to reports, there are 750 buildings of 8 floors each, with a dozen schools and space for over 100 stores and shops. “It is the largest amongst the satellite cities that Chinese companies are building in Angola.” The Angolan government made a short promotional film for the residential area, calling it the “shining jewel” of the country’s post-civil war “crown of reconstruction”.

Kilamba in Africa's Angola, a massive 3.5 billion USD Chinese housing construction project, allegedly now still a ghost town despite completion.

However, the actual residential area does indeed “eerily” quiet. The [BBC] report says there are basically no cars or pedestrians there, that the windows of apartments are closed, and the balconies empty. The BBC says the majority of Angolans are unable to afford the housing prices here. The report says that for many people, the selling prices of 120k to 200k USD in satellite cities is simply an “astronomical price”, and that 2/3rds of Angolans depend on less than 2 USD per day to survive. Even Angola’s highest white-collar workers couldn’t afford the down-payment.

Kilamba in Africa's Angola, a massive 3.5 billion USD Chinese housing construction project, allegedly now still a ghost town despite completion.

Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa expert Elias Isaac says: “The great majority of the population live in shacks with no water, the government needs to start giving priority to building low-cost housing. Angola doesn’t have a middle class in Angola, just very poor and very rich people.” According to reports, Angola’s President Jose Eduardo dos Santos had promised in the 2008 elections to construct 1 million homes for the ordinary common people, with the Chinese built satellite city being “an important part of the president fulfilling his promise.”

Comments from NetEase:

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fivejiaonaqu [网易安徽省马鞍山市网友]:

Those bunch of stupid losers have hyped/speculated the housing market all the way to Africa?

俺是一农民 [网易湖北省网友]:

[Head of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’s Africa Research Office] He Wenping says, “This a construction project that benefits everyone, as well as the foundation for African economic growth”. == Sounds familiar!

啊看见 [网易江苏省苏州市网友]:

Everything refuted as a rumor/lie is actually the truth.

9門提督 [网易山东省网友]:

Did you think other countries also use selling land as the primary source of economic growth?

流氓小亨 [网易江西省南昌市网友]:

When people are stupid and don’t have much money, its no good no matter how much you toss and turn [make a fuss].

明前毛峰 [网易安徽省淮南市网友]:

You guys just go ahead and keep taking money out [of the country] and burning it, you spendthrifts!

坐等崩盘 [网易山东省青岛市网友]:

BBC, this time you really have got it wrong, a “ghost town” according to China is a neighborhood where not a single person lives, and this new residential district in Angola no matter what still has a few people living there, so how can you guys say it is a “ghost town”????

武英殿大学士曾国藩 [网易陕西省西安市网友]:

The moment you made a clarification, I believed it…

寂寞看世界 [网易湖北省武汉市网友]:

You think other people are this stupid too?

lahj [网易北京市网友]:

This is all traded for, Angola has a lot of oil.

xiaowen3081 [网易湖南省长沙市网友]:

The residential area is meant to help improve the people’s livelihoods —— Whether that’s the case there I don’t know, but over here its used to exploit us [with usury]!

网易江苏省常州市网友:

A bunch of unscrupulous businessmen who after cheating people out of their money in China have now gone to Africa to lose face for Chinese people.

网易广东省网友:

Invested 3.5 billion USD… how much entered those people’s pockets?

陈则安 [网易广东省江门市网友]:

Domestically [the country] keeps trying to tax us and raise the retirement age while squandering money abroad!!! China, I’m proud of you, I feel such pride!!!

3256521 [网易四川省成都市网友]:

Do foreign countries have “masses who don’t know the truth”? [An expression used by the government to refer to the public when the public believes something that is unfavorable (or sometimes actually not true), similar to another popular expression that accuses troublemakers as people “having ulterior motives”]

Written by Fauna

Fauna is a mysterious young Shanghainese girl who lives in the only place a Shanghainese person would ever want to live: Shanghai. In mid-2008, she started chinaSMACK to combine her hobby of browsing Chinese internet forums with her goal of improving her English. Through her tireless translation of popular Chinese internet news and phenomenon, her English has apparently gotten dramatically better. At least, reading and writing-wise. Unfortunately, she's still not confident enough to have written this bio, about herself, by herself.