Expensive Cars Parked In Front Of The Ruins Of Grande Hotel, Luanda, Angola
Grande Hotel is an old colonial building in the center of Luanda. Now, only squatters live in those ruins. They earn money by renting the parking of the hotel to rich people who come there to find a precious place for their Mecedes or BMW! And with the money they earn, they buy alcool and drugs. Strange atmosphere, surrounded by the business center of Luanda!
Luanda is the capital city of Angola and is located in the north west of the country, on the Atlantic coast.
Luanda was founded by the portuguese explorer, Paulo Dias de Novais in 1575, as Sao Paulo da Assunçao de Luanda. The natural roads was ideal to establish a harbor. He arrived with 700 settlers, among which, there were 350 soldiers, priests, merchants and civil servants. The city was an important centre of slave trade to Brazil from 1550 until 1836. In 1627 it became the administrative capital city of Angola. Apart from a short ducth occupation from 1641 until 1648, the city remained portuguese for 400 hundred years, until the independence ;
The population of the city didn’t increase much until the 1930’s. When Angola became independent in 1975, there were about 600,000 inhabitants including an important group of Portuguese living in the european district, who left the country at that time. The long lasting Civil War (1975-2002) brought refugees flying away from the countryside devastated by the fights. During the conflict the city remained under the control of MPLA.
Nowadays the current population is about 5 million inhabitants, which is nearly 30 per cent of the country’s total population. Luanda has to face the same problems than other overcrowded cities in the third-world countries, like slums, insecurity and limited access to running water (for only 50 percent of the population).
Luanda has an excellent natural harbour; the main exports are coffee, cotton, sugar, diamonds, iron, and salt. The city also has a flourishing building industry. Economic growth is largely supported by oil extraction activities, although massive diversification is taking place. Large investment (domestic and international), along with strong economic growth, has dramatically increased construction of all economic sectors in the city of Luanda. This makes it the most expensive city of the world for expatriates while lots of people live in slums.
© Eric Lafforgue