Mbala District is the oldest district in Zambia and was the Administration Capital for North Eastern Rhodesia. The District was first established as Tanganyika district under Central African Authority (C.A.A) in 1890. It was declared a Crown Administration under the British South African Company (BSA) whose offices were called BOMA (British Oversees Military Administration). Originally, the BOMA was established in the area of Chief Zombe on the banks of Lucheche River along Stephenson road because of its suitability for checking slave routes to the east and counter Bemba raids for slaves in the area.
It is formerly known as Abercorn established in 1890. Its name was changed to Mbala District in 1968; the name was derived from a type of spotted bushbuck known as Imbala which was commonly found around Lake Chila. It became a Municipality in 1996.
Mbala District is 1,071 kilometres from Lusaka, the Capital City of Zambia and 167 kilometres from Kasama, the Provincial Headquarters for Northern Province. Mbala District Shares International Boundaries with the Republic of Tanzania in the North, Senga Hill District in the Southeast, Nakonde District in the East and Mpulungu District in the West. Mbala District has a surface area of about 10,832 Square kilometres.
The area falls within the high rainfall belts of the country. The area receives an annual rainfall of approximately 1200mm. The rain season normally lasts from November-April. Minimum temperatures are experienced in July. They range from 5o-7oC. Maximum temperatures are experienced in October and range from 200C-270C.
DEMOGRAPHY AND SOCIO-ECONOMIC PROFILE
According to the 2010 census, Mbala District had a population of 203,129 people before Senga Hill was made a district on its own. However, following the declaration of Senga Hill as a district Mbala has a population 117,823 of which 58, 064 are males and 59, 759 females .a total growth rate of 3.6 Percent. Mbala District has 8 wards: Nsunzu, Lwandi, Kawimbe, Mwamba, Mwambezi, Kazimolwa Moto Moto, and Intala under 1 constituency.
TRANSPORTATION AND COMMUNICATION IN THE DISTRICT
Mbala district has a good transport and communication network connecting it to other towns in the country. The district is also served by Samora Machel Airport. Mbala District is strategically positioned as a transit town as it is a gateway to Mpulungu which is a border town between Zambia and Tanzania. The road network is well planned in the sense that there is a main road running through the Central Business District (CBD) with other smaller roads branching off to give access to neighborhoods. Most of the township roads are tarred with only a few that are going to be worked upon in 2018. The rural feeders roads are also being worked on to gravel standard among them is Penza-Kawama road. The district has three communication networks namely Zamtel, Airtel and MTN.
INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN THE DISTRICT
The vision of the district is a prosperous district through provision of improved equitable, quality and diversified Municipal Services in an effective and efficient manner in order to enhance sustainable development. Compared to other towns on the Northern, Mbala town has a comparative advantage over other towns as it is strategically positioned as a transit town for people going to Mpulungu which is a border town between Zambia and Tanzania. Mpulungu is a town harbouring the only port in the country. This is a great investment opportunity for the district.
The district has the following major infrastructure:
Youth Skills Training Centre
The district is constructing a Youth Skills Training Centre which will prove skills to the youths in Mbala.
Land reserved for Sugar plantation
The district has reserved 10,000hectares of land for development of sugar estates. The investor has since been found and is yet to finalize on the same.
Availability of water
The district has a number of water bodies making it to have running water most of the days. The water bodies have also enhanced the tourism potential of the district. In addition, the same has been cardinal in irrigation farming in the district.
Lake Chila: Lake Chila provides beautiful scenery to local people and tourists. The lake is also associated with the 1st world war of 1914-1918 where it is believed that the Germans threw their weapons (guns) in the lake most likely for fear that the Britons would have copied their technology. Some of the guns were retrieved and currently displayed at the local museum Moto Moto.
Due to its magnificent scenery, the lake has a huge potential of boosting tourism both due to its history and it being a venue for cultural ceremony of the Mambwes and Lungus which is known as Mutomolo and it is celebrated annually in the month of June.
The lake has potential of boosting tourism if restocked with fingerlings to increase the fish species and encourage fishing competitions as well as boat cruises. In olden days, a number of people enjoyed boat cruises.
Golf course: Adjacent to the lake is the Golf Course and Club House which overlooks the lake and also provides a lovely recreation centre coupled with its lake view scenery. Apart from that, history has it that in the colonial days, during slave trade, the golf club housed an underground holding room for slaves who were being transported to the east coast through Lake Tanganyika as their masters enjoyed the refreshments in the Cocktail bar.
Chambeshi River Source: The source of Chambeshi River is within Mbala district which forms part of the tourism package for the district. This is in the western part of Masamba area in Kaziwe about 40km from Mbala town. The stream runs through Luapula province to form Lake Bangweulu, it later flows out to form Luapula River and collects to form Lake Mweru. From Lake Mweru it becomes Lualaba River into Congo DRC until it gets to the Atlantic Ocean.
Nsunzu Mountain:Mount Nsunzu is the highest mountain in Zambia and highest peak in Central and Southern Africa. The point makes a magnificent view of the surrounding areas including the neighbouring country of Tanzania. The mountain offers a spectacular view and a great challenge for mountain climbers.
Uningi Pans: It has two segments of pans namely Uningi Mambwe on the eastern side and Uningi Lungu on the western side. The water body can be used for crocodile farming or aqua-culture fish caging.
Namema Hills:. The hills have natural carves used by the soldiers during the World War I.
Saise River: It is the longest river in Mbala district running through to East Africa culminating into formation of Lake Rukwa in the Northern Tanzania. It has fertile soils for agriculture.
Agriculture is the main economic activity of Mbala district. The main crops grown in the district include maize, Beans, Cassava, Potatoes, Rice and Vegetables. The District is also a Livestock rearing district and the major livestock kept are cattle, goats, sheep and chickens. The District has great potential in fish farming and currently there are a number of fish framers with fish ponds which are in production. Most of the fish caught from these ponds is both sold locally and consumed by the farmers themselves.
Key Education Institutions
Mbala town houses a number of education facilities ranging from secondary schools to higher learning institutions such as Mbala School of Nursing and St Mary’s College of education.
The town is serviced with one Government Hospital and two clinics namely Tulemane Clinic with bed capacity of 4 and Chulungoma urban Clinic with 2 bed spaces.
The various financial institutions servicing the town include Barclays Bank, Atlasmara Bank and Cavmont Bank. In addition, the town also houses Zambia National Commercial Bank agent’s office, Automatic Teller Machine for First National Bank and a financial lending institution called Jedo financial lending institution.