The City of Kitwe lies between Latitude 12° and 13° south and Longitude 28° and 29° east. The city sits on a fairly flat land with an altitude of 1,295m above sea level. The city boasts of the centrality of its location in the Copperbelt province of Zambia, and is bordered by Kalulushi, Mufulira, Luanshya, and Lufwanyama districts and the city of Ndola. Kitwe city covers an area of 777 km2 and comprises of a strip of land of about 32 km wide and approximately 64 km long stretching from Mufulira-Ndola Road in the east, to Lufwanyama River in the west. To the south, the City is bounded by the northern tributary of Baluba River; it follows the Musakashi, Kafue and Mutupa Rivers.
According to the Central Statistics Office Preliminary Report of the 2010 census, the present population of Kitwe City stands at 522,092 with an approximated 3.3% annual growth rate. Population growth in the City is expected to grow even faster in the near future due to the City’s growing importance as a centre of mining and trade activities. Although the population may be reflected as being 522,092, the real population catchment for the city is about 700,000. This is because many people and business houses from nearby districts such as Kalulushi and Luanshya conduct their businesses in Kitwe, where the market is, thus increasing the population to be supported by Kitwe’s infrastructural facilities.
Thus, this calls for increased resource mobilization to support development of infrastructure such as roads, hospitals, schools, markets and so forth. Kitwe City Council is the supreme policy-making body at local level. It is responsible for all aspects of city planning, development and service delivery. The Council formulates local policies and approves district development plans. It also discharges municipal functions including refuse collection, street cleaning and lighting, promotion of public health, maintenance of roads, and other services as documented in the sixty-three functions of local governments in Zambia.
The council consists of democratically elected councilors representing their electorate in the twenty–eight (28) wards, five (5) constituencies and Management, which implements Council policies. The Council works hand in hand with the District Administration in the execution of development programmes, and is the Secretariat of the District Development Coordinating Committee (DDCC). The DDCC, which is chaired by the District Commissioner, is composed of line ministries, NGOs, private sector and Community-Based Organisations (CBOs) and is responsible for monitoring and coordinating developmental programmes and projects in the City.
The Kitwe City Council Strategic Plan (KCCSP) is a five-year plan covering the period 2012 to 2016. Its principal aim is to “improve the quality of life of the people of Kitwe through the development of a sustainable economic environment and the provision of quality affordable social services and infrastructure”. The Plan gives careful attention to identifying opportunities which the Kitwe City Council can exploit in improving public service delivery. Furthermore, the Plan’s formulation is based on the principles of governance through active participation of all stakeholders in Kitwe City.
From the time Zambia attained political independence to date, the major economic activity in the country has been mining. Over these years, the sector has contributed an average of over 40% of the GDP on an annual basis. However, the heavy dependency on mining (of copper and other secondary minerals) at the expense of economic diversification has had severe repercussions on the country’s development. Thus, economic complexities such as fluctuating copper prices on the international market and the failure of state-led mining parastatals have had a huge negative impact throughout the economy. Kitwe, whose chief economic activity is copper mining, has not been spared from the negative effects of a fluctuating mining sector.
At regional level, the Copperbelt Province generally relies on mining and a few support secondary industries. The aftereffects of privatization of the mines on the Copperbelt include a myriad of socio-economic problems like infrastructure decay, unemployment, urban destitution, and squalid housing conditions.
These are the challenges Kitwe City Council faces in making service-delivery effective. At city level, Kitwe’s primary economic activity- like the rest of the region- is mining. Other economic activities in the City include agriculture and manufacturing.
In view of the Kitwe City Council’s responsibility to provide social services, the current difficulty faced by the local authority is how to effectively engage the private sector in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to ease the institution’s service delivery backlog.