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Known as the, ‘New Copperbelt’, Solwezi is not only located in the North-western province of Zambia, but it is also the provincial capital. Formerly perceived as a dusty town, Solwezi is definitely on the rise due to increasing international interest mainly for its vast mining opportunities. Here’s our article on getting to know the town of Solwezi.
The thriving mining town of Solwezi is home to an estimated 260,000 inhabitants. The town can easily be found on the main road leading to the north west of Zambia, 180 kilometers from Chingola. The most sizeable tribe represented in Solwezi is the Kaonde, in addition to large numbers of Lunda and Luvale speaking people.
Solwezi is getting global recognition for its diverse mining opportunities. In addition to the increased international interest and trade opportunities, there is also substantial local interest. Large numbers of people are moving to the town in search of employment and business opportunities. Subsequently there is an immense scope of construction work taking place, mainly catering to the business travel sector, with many hotels, lodges and guest houses springing up.
Substantial mining is carried out at Solwezi’s three mines; Kansanshi, Lumwana and a new mine at Kalumbila. As a result of the continued success of the mines, there are huge infrastructure investments and development projects going on in the town.
The cost of living in Solwezi is considerably high. Mining is the main economic mainstay of Solwezi, as such most food items have to come from long distances. Hence the unusually high price tags for basic food stuffs. For example mere vegetables are sold at double, sometimes triple the price they are sold in Lusaka, Ndola and Kitwe. In addition, as is always the case where a certain area is experiencing an economic boom, people take advantage and inflate prices.
Solwezi is home to several financial institutions including; Zambia National Commercial Bank, Barclays Bank, Natsave, and Capital Bank. Furthermore, there are several shops, mostly along the central tarred road. Amongst the host of shops is Shoprite, a South African franchise synonymous with quality and cheap products. Furthermore, Solwezi is home to several insurance companies, filling stations and bureaus de change. Finally, in an emergency, there’s a 24-hour medical centre.
To start, tourist attractions in Solwezi include, Kifubwa Stream Rock Shelter. Which gives a home to engravings and inscriptions dating to the late Stone Age. Additionally, Mutanda River boasts some gorgeous rapids in the Mutanda Falls about 35 kilometers out of Solwezi.
If you’re looking at real estate investment, then you should seriously consider Solwezi. A staggeringly large number of expatriates frequent the area on short to long-term contracts. There is an unnoticed and unappreciated demand for quality accommodation and lodgings. With mining set to continue thriving in this area, Solwezi is on the rise for a long time to come.