World's Most Expensive City: Luanda?

Luanda, Angola has brushed past Tokyo and London to be the world's most expensive city, and slums cover much of the city's prime real estate.

"Luanda recently snatched the title of 'most expensive' away from better-known capitals such as London, Oslo and Tokyo, according to a number of international surveys. The tide of petrodollars surging into the once sleepy port has created a property boom like no other. Luanda is squeezed into a little patch of seafront land, and developers have their eyes on every bit of it that is not presently clad in scaffolding.

But they have a problem: Much of the prime land in the city is covered by musseques, informal settlements that grew up when millions of Angolans poured into Luanda seeking safety during the country's three-decade civil war. Today, the land they occupy is worth billions of dollars as the country's economy grows by more than 20 per cent a year on the strength of vast oil reserves and virgin diamond mines.

Yet some people here say there is a solution that would work for everybody: Give slum dwellers...title to their land. Then the next resort developer or condominium project that comes through will have to buy it, putting money into the pockets of the evicted squatters instead of driving them penniless off the only real asset they have."

Full Story: Land of the state, home of the poor

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