NORTH-WESTERN Province minister Nathaniel Mubukwanu says his administration will this August host an expo to unveil the hidden treasures of the region.

Covering 125,826 square kilometres with a population of close to a million people, Mubukwanu talked about the unique investment potential in all eleven districts.

Mubukwanu said the province shared boundaries with Angola to the west and Democratic Republic of Congo to the north and provincial borders with Western, Central and Copperbelt provinces.

“This strategic location provides potential for investment in road and rail connectivity leading to access to large markets within the region,” he said. “Up until now, very little was known about this province save for it being among the least developed provinces in our country. Today it is common knowledge that our province is being referred to as the ‘New Copperbelt’ of Zambia. We have earned this new name of ‘New Copperbelt’ of Zambia because of the discovery of large mineral deposits, our hidden treasures.”

Mubukwanu said the North-Western Province was home to some of the largest mines in the country such as Kansanshi, Lumwana, the Trident project, which is home to Kalumbila Mine.

Common minerals, according to Mubukwanu, include copper, cobalt and gold, among many.

He said the province also had enormous potential for both livestock and aqua culture development.

“As a province, we are the number one producer of pineapples, high quality organic honey from our natural forests; we produce maize grain and the famous Solwezi beans. The North-Western Province receives normal to above normal rainfall annually. This makes it a very suitable region for agriculture promotion,” he said.

Mubukwanu said the PF government’s connection of the entire province to the national electricity grid two years ago had made the province much more attractive for investment.

He noted that soon 90 per cent of the province would be connected to communication networks, linking it to the outside world.

“Many times we have over-publicised the Musi-o-tunya falls also known as the Victoria Falls at the expense of acknowledging the Zambezi source with its beautiful riparian forests which are part and parcel of our country’s national heritage,” he said.

Mubukwanu also mentioned the national parks and game management areas of the province and indicated his administration’s intention to make full use of the August expo to market all tourism sites in the region.

“Additionally, for those who have never been to North Western Province, we are home to the Chinyingi suspended bridge over the Zambezi River which is the only suspended bridge across the Zambezi River in the entire Republic. I am yet to learn which other river is hosting a suspended bridge,” Mubukwanu said.

“We also have pre-civilisation curves dotted around the province and these we need to bring to the world as we strive to bring the world to North-Western Province.”

Mubukwanu also talked about a rich cultural heritage comprising different tribes.

“Notable is the Likumbi Lya Mize Cultural Ceremony which UNESCO awarded a Diploma of Intangible Heritage and Masterpiece of Humanity in 2005. This even shall serve as part of the closing ceremony for the 2019 Expo. The Makishi masquerade has since assumed the world heritage status as defined by UNESCO,” he said.

Mubukwanu said with a population boom owing to increased mining activities in the region, there was great potential for investment in housing and other social amenities.

“And the PF government will do everything possible to facilitate and promote such investments,” he said.

“There is a famous saying that to make an omelet, you have to break an egg. This is what we shall do from the 18th to 24th of August 2019 and beyond to unveil the hidden treasures of our province,” he said.

Mubukwanu further said participation of young people in the growth of the province was cardinal.

He said one of the objectives of the expo was to compile investment profiles for each district and promote real time interaction between the would-be investors and key stakeholders including traditional leaders.

“On this particular one, one of the frustrations that our investors usually encounter is delays in processing titles and land ownership and other requirements. But you know as government we have moved ahead in that registration of businesses in Zambia now doesn’t take as much time as before,” he said.

Mubukwanu appealed to business houses, corporate world to support the cause of hosting the expo through financial contributions.

He also urged the media to fully participate and support the expo through their reporting.

He announced that the provincial administration would award media houses that would dedicatedly cover the expo and reward the hard work of news editors and reporters.

“Many of us, since the President assumed office, we have noted and gladly so his efforts to reach out to the countryside in person. I don’t think there is any part of the country where His Excellency has not been. This clearly demonstrates his desire and wish to be in touch with the challenges and the difficulties that our people are facing so that through his administration through various provincial administration we should open up this country to grow the economy of our country and improve the living conditions of our people,” said Mubukwanu.

“May I therefore take this opportunity to thank the President of the Republic of Zambia for his leadership and encouragement to us to host the Expo in order to open up the province to meaningful investment.”

North-Western Province permanent secretary Willis Manjimela said the government aspired to pursue economic diversification and job creation through value addition and industrialization anchored on agriculture, mining and tourism.