Urban Governance and Turning African Cities Around: Luanda Case Study

Author: Croese, S.
Year: 2016
Type: Grantee publication – working paper

This working paper presents the findings of the study on the process that has taken place over the past decade to turn around the city of Luanda, the capital of Angola. It is part of a broader research project that examines the case of Luanda, alongside Johannesburg and Lagos, to shed light on the governance practices that have started to emerge on the continent in an era that has been marked by rapid economic growth.

Luanda has been the main beneficiary of Angola’s economic boom that started in 2002 fuelled by oil revenue. Two projects were undertaken as part of efforts to turn the city around: the redevelopment of the Bay of Luanda and the construction of the New City of Kilamba. The Bay of Luanda work included the redevelopment of the waterfront to create pedestrian spaces, cycle lanes, sports fields and spaces for cultural events, while the New City of Kilamba consisted of the construction of 710 buildings, kindergartens and schools, along with water and electricity infrastructure.

Both projects have benefited many people as measured by the high use of the waterfront and the occupation of Kilamba homes. Their symbolic value as a part of efforts to project Luanda as a world-class city is also considerable. The central government’s control over the execution of the projects allowed their rapid completion, but this stifled accountability and affected the ability of local administrations to manage them or adequately respond to citizen needs. A more integrated, decentralised and participatory approach to the management of urban and economic growth will have to be a central theme in Luanda’s governance if the city’s turn-around is to become more inclusive and adaptive in the long term.

Key words: Turn-around city, Luanda, Bay of Luanda, New City of Kilamba, world class

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