Kitwe, Zambia’s second largest city by population, will have its key roads undergo complete resurfacing, a move that has cheered the Kitwe City Council – KCC. The mining City which is home to Mopani Copper Mine, The Copperbelt University as well as the Copperbelt Energy Corporation – CEC has what it takes to rival the capital, Lusaka in terms of economic activity and lifestyle offering.
Speaking to the Zambian Business Times – ZBT, KCC public relations officer Beauty Undi said the up grading of the roads in the Central Business District (CBD) will embellish the overall outlook of the city in terms of road network. She said the local authority is embarking on robust activities to ensure that the city is one of the cleanest cities in the country.
“We therefore need to ensure that our roads are clean and accessible, for us to attain the cleanest city status. And not only upgrading the road network to bitumenous standard, the paving alone was not looking nice without the roads having bitumen. The beauty and outlook will be enhanced as the roads and walkways are upgraded” she said.
Undi added that city of Kitwe harbours considerable industrial activities with central location having at least a 50 kilometers. “Kitwe has a lot of industries and with accessible roads, we are assured of increased industrial and economic activities in the city. These increased activities should result in more employment opportunities for the youths, we are seeing more Copperbelt businesses shifting into Kitwe from other towns,” she told ZBT.
She further said that the city is experiencing improved economic prospects as the largest mixed use mall, The Edgar Changwa Lungu (ECL Mall) will additionally provide international standard office suites and Hotel Accommodation.
“Due to the erstwhile bad states of the roads, motorist have been complaining that they are buying spare parts every now and then. The road network itself will save the city dwellers and visitors on spending colossal sums of money on spare parts and vehicles maintenance,” she stated.
The Kitwe roads works are being done by the central government and Avic international is the contractor doing the road works. “its not a local initiative but its government who have given us certain kilometres of roads”. Some of the designated roads to be upgraded include Matuka Avenue, Chisokone road and Oxford road as well as Makasha road, She explained.
Meanwhile KCC director of engineering Gabriel Akayombokwa said the project is under Road Development Agency – RDA and is costing about US$242 million for the three districts of Kitwe, Mufulira and Chingola. “ We as a local authority have been engaged as local supervisors, for the CBD roads” Akayombokwa told ZBT.
The Copperbelt and North Western provinces are Zambia’s mining and industrial hub, with copper as their natural endowment exports accounting for over 70% of the country’s forex earnings. Zambia’s fortunes have been heavily pegged on the red metal prices which have also directly reflected through the local unit, the Kwacha’s trading performance against the USD.