Authorities in Zambia say they are considering relocating the country’s capital from Lusaka, its present location to a new uninhabited site in the heart of the country.
National Planning Minister Lucky Mulusa said his ministry has come up with a proposal to make Ngabwe an uninhabited marshland in the country’s Central Province the new capital city of Zambia. Lusaka Times reports Mr. Mulusa as saying he was going to present the proposal to Cabinet and request for an approval to go on with the feasibility studies of the new capital city.
Mulusa said a new capital was needed to cope with Zambia’s ever expanding population and to meet the demands of a modern capital city.
“When you look at Lusaka in the next 10 years, the city will not be able to sustain us. The rate at which commerce and industry and official activities are growing cannot be met with Lusaka’s ability to grow its capacity.
‘‘Human settlement on its own is a problem and that is why my ministry is proposing that we start up a completely new capital city that will be planned on the modern principles of sustainable development,” he said.
According to the Daily Mail, Lusaka has served as Zambia’s capital since 1935 when the country then known as Northern Rhodesia was under British colonial rule.
Ngabwe is a little-known rural district in Zambia’s Central Province, close to Kabwe town and about 120 kilometres (75 miles) — or two hours’ drive — north of Lusaka.
The area is prone to heavy flooding during the rainy season but Mulusa says it holds the decided advantage of being centrally located, which makes it relatively accessible from all parts of the country.
The minister further said that the new capital in Ngabwe would be planned such that it could comfortably host continental or regional headquarters of organizations such as the African Union (AU), based in Addis Ababa, and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), based in Gaborone, Botswana.
“If Lusaka was properly situated, it would have benefited many institutions,” he said.
In 1991, Nigeria moved its capital from Lagos to Abuja, citing over congestion and crumbling infrastructure among other reasons.
Tanzania similarly announced that it will move its capital from Dar es Salaam to a new location in Dodoma, while Equatorial Guinea has commenced the construction of a new city in Oyala after it announced that it was relocating it capital from Malabo.