Beyond Lusaka – The Property Market in Solwezi
Lusaka, as the capital city of Zambia, has always been the most popular real estate investment destination. But what is happening in other parts of the country? This month, we put the spotlight on Kalumbila town, located in North Western Province about 140km from Solwezi off the Solwezi – Mwinilunga Road (T5), and declared a district in 2015. Since then a substantial amount of effort and investment has gone into developing the early stages of Kalumbila town.
The catalyst for the town is the US$2.1 billion Sentinel copper mine developed by First Quantum Minerals Limited (FQM), which will employ 1,788 direct staff and 1,276 locally based contractor personnel when fully operational. It is a massive mining operation in what was a remote underdeveloped area. An estimated 14,500 truckloads of construction steel material and earth moving equipment replaced 566 households mainly comprising of mud and grass-thatched huts that had been dotted around Miombo forest. The mining area is bustling with various activities with a plant assembling Japanese-made Komastu tippers and graders depicting the huge investment that has been poured into the project.
This new town is ambitiously aiming to be “the happiest city in Zambia”, if not Africa, and is designed by Zambian engineers, planners, property and environmental consultants to develop an approved town plan to a high standard. The town already houses more than 5,000 people, after only 18 months of establishment. The population is expected to grow to over 15,000 by 2020 and by 2050 to potentially be a new Zambian powerhouse city, the size of Kitwe, based on growth in trade with Angola and Democratic Republic of Congo.
In addition, the 100-hectare Kalumbila Industrial Park has received strong interest with the first phase sold out and two large international corporate businesses locating their Zambian headquarters there, generating more than 400 jobs. The main central business district consisting of shops, markets and offices will also drive the expected strong growth of the town. Already, a 54-bedroom apartment hotel, a 1,000 square metre supermarket, ATMs for four banks, a petrol filling station and a 48 booth market square have opened, among others.
Significant investment has gone into infrastructure. North-West Water and Sewerage Corporation will own and operate the water and sewerage system under a public private partnership arrangement. Electrical connection of the new district is provided by the new Lumwana – Lusaka 330kV power lines constructed by First Quantum in partnership with Zesco. An international-standard airport is also under construction. It is envisaged that a multi-facility economic zone will cover the town to attract new businesses and further investment into the district.
FQM has invested more than US$80 million in the development of Kalumbila town and the town is open for further investment. This has created great opportunities for investors, real estate developers, entrepreneurs, corporate, wholesaling and retailing businesses as well as service providers both small and large with many more for this growing town. Plots are available in the Industrial, Commercial and Residential areas of the town at competitive rates. To date, many Zambians have already invested in the town and a number of home-grown businesses are being created in construction, farming and retailing, among others. The ongoing commercial development of Kalumbila is managed by Kalumbila Town Development Corporation Limited (KTDC), which is a joint venture between FQM and local pension funds. The expectation is that Kalumbila will emulate other great Zambian towns which have started from new mines such as Solwezi, Kitwe and Chingola.