News / Africa

Angola's Economic Boom Has Winners and Losers

Angola's Economic Boom Has Winners and Losersi
|| 0:00:00
X
September 18, 2012 2:13 PM
As Angola is experiencing one of the fastest growing economies in the word, its capital city, Luanda, is facing a dramatic transformation. It has become a land of opportunity for some westerners, but for some Angolans, the development of the city has a bitter taste. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from Luanda.
TEXT SIZE - +
— As Angola is experiencing one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, its capital city, Luanda, is facing a dramatic transformation.  It has become a land of opportunity for some westerners, but for some Angolans, the development of the city has a bitter taste.

The city has become a big construction site.  Everywhere in Luanda, new buildings are rising from the ground, as a ballet of cranes is shaping the new skyline of the capital. Luanda is busy leaving the past behind - burying 27 years of civil war and devastation under mountains of petrodollars.

With an annual growth rate of 11 percent, the second biggest oil producer in Africa is attracting companies and western workers - many fleeing economic crises elsewhere.

Like Sylvia Soares, the young Portuguese architect who has lived in Luanda for two years.  She says she would not have had the same opportunities, had she stayed in Portugal.

"There is no job in Portugal. Not even for the renowned architects, so you can imagine how it is for young architects who have just graduated from university," she said.

Soares says her parents approve of her choice to come work in Angola.

"[My parents] have seen it as a short-period thing to do, because by the time I come back to Portugal, I'll have a better financial situation than if I had stayed in Portugal," she said.

And Luanda is a good place for a young architect, as it transforms itself to meet its ambition of becoming a world-class city.  A few of the changes include the new parliament that is a replica of the American congress and the newly inaugurated waterfront.  

Geographer Chloé Buire says the social composition of the city is also changing.

"There is a whole rescaling of the city actually," Buire said. "And it's not only that there is a special sprawl, like, expansion, but also a whole social reshaping of the central city being emptied of its poorest communities [which] were evicted in the peripheries."

The evictions started in 2010.  To provide the space for a new political center, the government destroyed several slums and neighborhoods.  Thousands of families were relocated - one hour, sometimes two, away from the city center.  

Zango is one of the new neighborhoods where the people were re-settled.

Carolina, who now lives in Zango, remembers the day they came to destroy her house in the city.

"It was a surprise, nobody knew. Suddenly, they came and said that they were going to destroy the houses," she said.  "They brought us in this open space. We had nothing. There was a lot of young kids, and we were getting sick because of the mosquitos."

Carolina says her husband lost his truck-driving job because he now lives too far away. She has to spend $10 and take five different taxis to travel to the city and back every day.

"My life is worse now, because to eat, we have move up and down every day to sell things," she said.

Today, approximately 30 percent of Angolans live in Luanda, and the development of the city - that started even during the war - is expected to continue in the coming years.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid