$1.5 billion Development Aims at Lusaka’s Middle Class

Published: Sunday, January 11th, 2015 by Aaron Leaf

Plans for Nkwashi via nkwashi.com

Following on our recent story on Zambia and the increasingly common theme of mixed use mega-projects, the Zambia Daily Mail has reported recently on a new $1.5 billion development in the works for Lusaka. Named Nkwashi, the project is aimed at buyers from a range of income levels with plots priced between $15,000 and $70,000.

Local developer, Thebe Investment Management Limited is leading the development on a 3,100 acre site about a half hour southeast of the CBD and around an hour from the border with Zimbabwe at Chirundu. According to the project’s website, Nkwashi will comprise of 8,400 residential plots, several parks, an American University with a teaching hospital, an international school, a commercial precinct, a large shopping mall, hotel, and two large lakes. The plots come with connections to utilities and include a shuttle service connecting the development to Lusaka’s downtown.

Mwiya Musokotwane of Thebe Investment is quoted in the Zambia Daily Mail as saying, “At this stage, we have received approval from ZEMA (Zambia Environmental Management Agency) for a pre-sale programme and we are selling the land on a long-term payment programme.”

Plots can be purchased on flexible 60 month payment plans with no upfront deposit, which seems to suggest an incentive for people who may not be able to fund a large up front payment. Basic plot sizes of 505 SqM with a 100 SqM house plan are going for ZMW95,000 or about $15,000 and “premium” plots of 1300 SqM going for ZMW 440,000 ($70,000). There’s a standard option in between going for $27,000.

With a 5 year mortgage, payments will be ZMW1,300 a month for the basic and ZMW6,000 for the premium with the standard option going for ZMW2,300. The top end will only be accessible to Zambia’s upper income professionals. At the bottom end, these units would appear to be accessible to people employed in skilled trades but potentially not to informal workers.

In 2013 Zambia’s per capita Gross National Income was US1,810. In our feature on SmartHomes Zambia on December 7th, developer Chris Jannou said they see a huge potential in Zambian middle income buyers. “Right now, if you build anything under 75 thousand US,” he said, “you are seeing 15 people lining up.”

At Nkwashi, house construction will be the responsibility of the land owners but will be monitored by the Nkwashi Home Owners Association for quality.

Finally, the community management intends to offer a shuttle for residents to get into Lusaka. This seems to recognize that lack of transport may be a deterrent to people at all economic levels, but in particular, to those at the lower end of the spectrum.