Kitwe moots plans to set up “Emerald City”

Zambia’s second largest city by population, Kitwe, is mooting plans to set up a modern mixed use development park. Kitwe District Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Anthony Kabaghe has said they are proposing on coming up with the emerald city on the 100 hectares Mufuchani Industrial Development Park currently under planning.

He wondered why the country has continued to have subdued economic benefits in terms of value derived from the rich emeralds despite been one of the largest producers. Kagem mine is the worlds largest emerald mine and is located in Zambia’s Copperbelt region.

In presenting the proposal during the second planning meeting at the Kitwe City Council Chambers , Kabaghe highlighted that the production, processing and cutting of emeralds if done locally would bring uniqueness to the city of Kitwe and the country.

“Our proposal is, if we come up with what we can call emerald city where we can be able to conduct auctions at the same place, then they will be satellite and small industries. Around those industries could cut and polish for value addition to the emeralds and other products like the jewelry that could cater for both down and upstream of the value chain. So what that does is that it also becomes a tourist centre,” he said.

He further narrated that the Chamber is eager to see the materialization of the concept and Kagem mines have been engaged and consultations have been cordial. He appealed to government and its regulatory institutions to come on board and contribute for the concept materialize.

Meanwhile Zambia Institute of Architects (ZIA) in its proposal has indicated that there is need to select between the two financing and operating models such as, Build Operate Transfer (BOT) and Public Private Partnership (PPP).
As the two models have all been done in Zambia and we have experience on how to implement them, it should assist in coming up with the best model to adopt.

For instance, the PPP unit under the Ministry of Finance would be very helpful and should come on board on the two financing models, said ZIA secretary Bwalya Masabo during his presentation.He also said a study tour to Lusaka South Multi-facility Economic Zone would be very insightful on what incentives are available for potential developers and what comprises their promotion package.

“On serviced plots with sewer, water supply, electricity and tarred roads Road, the Roads Development Agency can be engaged together with Nkana water, Zesco etc so that all key social and economic amenities are in place. This would provide a very good incentive to potential investors”. These must be included in the planning process for the industrial park. Further, having all the plots on the title, Ministry of Lands should be engaged and would also give investors Security of tenor and Collateral as an added incentive,” Masabo added.

The city of Kitwe currently hosts Zambia’s biggest shopping mall and office park, the ECL mall named after the current republic president, Edgar Chagwa Lungu – ECL. This is a National Pensions Scheme Authority – NAPSA development. NAPSA in Lusaka has Levy Mall and office park names after Zambia’s 3rd president, Levy Mwanawasa.