Published on Africa Can End Poverty

Luanda's vertical slums

This page in:


















This building, across from my hotel in Angola's capital, is a squatter settlement.

People occupied individual units after the building was damaged during the civil war (the top floor has bullet holes).  They use their own generators and water tanks (hauling water to the top floor is a business). 

The city is choking with congestion. Schoolchildren spend five hours a day traveling to and from school.

The government is trying to improve urban services, not just in Luanda but in other cities.  Over half the population lives in urban areas.  If they improve urban services, even more people will move to the cities.  A conundrum or basic development economics?


Shanta Devarajan

Teaching Professor of the Practice Chair, International Development Concentration, Georgetown University

Join the Conversation

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly
Remaining characters: 1000