The Manhattan of Africa
In recent years, Africa has garnered interest from many Chinese companies and organizations. The continent's economic prospects and potential have secured investment from numerous Chinese firms. From the railroads in Zambia and Tanzania to government-funded infrastructure development elsewhere, China-Africa cooperation seems to be an all-time high. However, there is nothing quite like the new development coming up in Modderfontein, Johannesburg.
Johannesburg, South Africa [Photo: cntv.cn]
Earlier on in the decade, an official reveal shocked South Africans. Chinese company Shanghai Zengdai announced that it would be unveiling a massive property development project, a city within a city. In 2013, Zengdai bought over 1600 hectares of land and secured $7.6 billion worth of funding for its development. It was estimated that the project would take 10 to 15 years to complete. The project's first designs looked so grand that people started calling it the "Manhattan of Africa".
Currently, the project has broken ground. Phase one includes 300 blocks of residential real estate. Over time, it will include everything from homes, schools, libraries and hospitals to commercial buildings, retail shops, conference centers, hotels, and offices. The upcoming high rise buildings will change the Johannesburg skyline for the better. Zengdai believes that Johannesburg is rapidly becoming the economic center of the entire continent, and there is a definite market for a vast development such as this.
The project did raise a number of concerns within the local community. Some believe that it is the first step of a neo-colonialism and the government is selling out the country's land to foreign interests. However, the provincial government of Gauteng has assured the public that this project is an opportunity for South Africa to reach a new height of social economic development. Investors will cooperate with local businesses during construction and generate large amounts of income for South Africa as a whole. The project will also require massive numbers of laborers, which in turn will decrease the unemployment rate, something this country desperately needs.