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Where will we go to? The Effects of Forced Evictions on Rental Markets and poor Tenants in Abidjan

Irit Eguavoen, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

Abidjanais with lower incomes face short supply in affordable housing and steadily rising rental prices. Combined cost of living and transport in Abidjan is one of the highest in urban Sub-Sahara Africa. Cost of living is directly linked to rental market volatilities as 75% of the city population rents its houses. One enduring consequence of the Ivorian civil war is a housing deficit, which was estimated to be 200,000-300,000 housing units in 2014. Many people, who had fled to the city, found accommodation in unplanned/ spontaneous settlements at vulnerable locations, such as along waterfronts of the inner city lagoon and the Atlantic beach, along sewage canals and on hill slopes - thus on marginal lands at central city locations. In 2012, 93 precarious settlements were listed as ´quartiers en risques´ by ORSEC, by the authority for civil protection and disaster control. Risk avoidance has been established as justification for forceful evictions of entire quarters. Real estate investments accommodate middle and upper classes, usually by demolishing and replacing courtyards with apartment blocks. Evictions and demolitions have already destroyed many housing units of the lower price segment. Whilst the government, in a new political alliance with Morocco, delivers social housing for the lower middle class and provides schemes for house ownership, rental markets in poor neighbourhoods got tighter, denser and unaffordable. As a result, a new rental market has been established which offers even more precarious but affordable housing to the poor, as well as very lucrative but risky short and mid-term investment opportunities to the middle class. The talk will present findings based on ethnographic data in order to show the specific social-political dynamics in Abidjan that are contributing to the acceleration of the housing crisis. It discusses the right to the city debate in a post-crisis, post-colonial and Global South context.


April 24, 2019


Internationales Kolleg Morphomata
Weyertal 59
50937 Köln