Despite the pervasive poverty that causes half of Angola's families to live on less than $2.00 per day, a group of wealthy real estate developers and financiers that includes Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, is hoping to build an exclusive $7 billion mixed-use luxury development on the Luanda waterfront.
The developers, Baia de Luanda SA, is partly controlled by a subsidiary of the state-owned oil company, Sonangol Holdings, and Geni Holding, a company partly owned by the president’s daughter, one of Africa's wealthiest women.
Baia de Luanda was granted the waterfront land by the government of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos. The project includes dredging, and all road, water and electrical links, and a new 3.1 kilometer park curving round the bay.
The firm hopes to develop four blocs of high-value property along the Luanda waterfront. The seaside development is to be built on a 7-kilometer spit of land that juts into the capital city's bay known as the Ilha. The development is envisioned to include a luxury hotel, expensive restaurants, yacht clubs and marinas.
International hotel chains have been expanding into the African market, but many hoteliers have been reluctant to invest in Angola because of the government's reputation for corruption and the threat of political instability.
Angola is listed as one of the most corrupt on Transparency International’s 2013 Corruption Perceptions Index.
The project is designed to cater to Angola's politically-connected business and government elites and international business travelers. Most Angolans would never be able to afford a night in the project's luxury hotel or even a meal at the project's exclusive restaurants.