Zambia’s construction renaissance

By Nawa Mutumweno – The metropolis of Lusaka is abound with numerous facades   that have sprouted as landmarks in the central business district (CBD) and beyond in the past few years.

Standing magnificently in the centre of town is the architectural masterpiece, Central Park, that  has added to the scenic beauty of the capital. Further afield, one’s line of sight is invaded by the must-visit Manda Hill Shopping Complex which has just undergone a massive expansion programme.

These building, to mention but a few, have provided the impetus for mammoth investments in the construction  sector  with new developments springing up on every available piece of land for both commercial and domestic purposes.

Just wrapped up is the Manda Hill Expansion Project on the thoroughfare to Eastern Zambia.  The owners, HBW of South Africa is involved in identifying and investing in strategic property and developing large retail centres with national and international partners.  $100 million was spent on the expansion and redesigning of the shopping complex including a new one and two-storey buildings  to accommodate  office space, furniture shop, leading boutiques, cinemas, restraunts on an open piazza setting, a two-storey packing deck, unveiling a shopper-friendly environment.

Another project worth of note in the capital is the $200 million National Pensions Scheme Authority (NAPSA) development project dubbed ‘Levy Business Park’ (named after the late president) at ESCO site  which commenced in November 2008.The project is to be undertaken by Liberty Property of South Africa, which is renowned for projects  such as Sandton City Shopping Centre, Eastgate Shopping Centre and Nelson Mandela Square.

Other high profile building projects include the construction of a quality, environmentally-friendly diplomatic office building with annexes, to be constructed at the Embassy Park in Lusaka.  Costings for this project are estimated at between Euro 3.5 million and Euro 5 million. Participation and pre-qualification was open to national and international joint ventures (JVs), providing that at least one partner is registered with the National Council for Construction (NCC).

Government is also initiated a housing programme to construct at least 12 000 housing units countrywide under a public-private partnership (PPP) programme. Meanwood Property Development Corporation Limited is currently undertaking the Ndeke Village Housing Project, a large scale medium cost housing initiative involving 4 500 plots.

According to Finance and National Planning deputy minister Chileshe Kapwepwe, these housing units will comprise 6 000 low cost houses, 4 500 medium cost  and 1 500 high cost ones.

“In order to ensure that affordable housing is provided for our people, Government is involving the private sector in infrastructure and service delivery at various levels. We are hopeful that this initial phase will facilitate the construction of more units,” she elaborated.

Not to be left out the Copperbelt boasts of the $160 million Copperbelt City, a mixed use development venture in Kitwe between a Zambian firm, Phoenix Materials, and a South African property company (HBW Group).  The two have formed a joint venture, TGP Properties Limited to undertake the project. The facility, being built along the Kitwe – Chingola road will comprise a shopping mall and hotel.

“In excess of $2 billion will be invested in the area. Construction works at Levy Junction in Lusaka has started and we hope to create more jobs for our people from these developments. The construction of a new mall on the Copperbelt will create jobs for the locals,” enthused Commerce, Trade & Development minister Felix Mutati.

The construction of a 45 000-seater ultra modern stadium valued at $65 million is underway in Ndola and is scheduled to be completed in October 2011. It is being undertaken by a Chinese firm, Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Corporation (AFECC).

Government in the 2010 budget allocated unprecedented resources for the development of road infrastructure, amounting to K1,461.9 billion. By the end of this year, releases to the sector are expected to exceed this figure. Various roads, dams and storage sheds have been completed in various parts of the country. One major road currently being constructed is the Mongu – Kalabo Road that will open the route to the Angolan port of Lobito Bay.

In a bid to open up the Northern Tourism Circuit, government  is undertaking the following projects – rehabilitation of the Kasaba Bay Airport, construction of the terminal building at Mbala airport, electrification of Kasaba Bay and rehabilitation of the Mbala – Kasaba Bay road. In Western Zambia, infrastructure in the Kafue National Park (buildings and gates) is also being developed further to attract more tour operators and visitors to the areas with the assistance of cooperating partners.

On the rail front, the Chipata- Mchinji railway line which links Zambia and its eastern neighbor, Malawi, has been completed with the construction of a dry port adjacent to the Chipata railway station on the cards. Plans are also afoot to link this rail line to the Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) line at Serenje in Central Zambia.

The completion of this project spurs the Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique growth triangle and the Nacala Development Corridor.

“Regional integration is very importance to enhancing trade and investment opportunities,” elaborated Zambia Eastern Province deputy permanent secretary Nicholas Banda.

Mining projects awaiting Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) include the $10 million Mulungwa Coal Mining project by Indongo Coal Mining Limted (in partnership with Jonah Coal Limited of South Africa) which will involve an open pit and coal washing plant with associated ancillary equipment. First Quantum Minerals (FQM) intend, through Kalumbila Minerals Limited, to carry out the proposed Trident Copper-Nickel Project in Solwezi, North Western Zambia. This will include  three proposed mine areas called Sentinel (copper), Enterprise (nickel) and Intrepid (copper) to be developed in that order. With a mine life of 22 years, the development will include large open cast pits, waste rock dumps, topsoil piles, a copper sulphide concentrator, plant, maintenance workshops, mining facilities, tailings dam, administration offices, roads, power supply, water supply and housing facility. Mwembeshi Resources plans to construct an open pit mine at its Kangaluwi Deposit in Chirundu, Southern Zambia.

Indeed the Zambian construction industry is undergoing a renaissance. The country seems to be on the paved road to development!

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