About Kitwe

Kitwe is the second largest city in terms of size and population in Zambia. 

With a population of 504,194 (2010 census provisional) Kitwe is one of the most developed commercial and industrial areas in the nation, alongside Ndola and Lusaka. 

It has a complex of mines on its north-western and western edges. Kitwe includes a number of townships and suburbs including Nkana East, Nkana West, Mindolo and Garneton. The city is sometimes referred to as Kitwe-Nkana. 


Kitwe was founded in 1936 in north-central Zambia as the railway was being built by Cecil Rhodes’ company. It was first established as an adjunct, non-mining-related but supportive part of an expanding copper-mining centre at Nkana. 


The expanding copper mines at Nkana made it the dominant centre in the region and Kitwe started building up its size and significance over the years, finally surpassing Nkana as the main centre.

 The Rhodesia Railways main line reached the town in 1937, providing passenger services as far south as Bulawayo, with connections to Cape Town. 

The line was extended into DR Congo, and from there eventually linked to the Benguela Railway to the Atlantic port of Lobito Bay, which used to take some of Zambia’s copper exports but is currently closed.



Kitwe is the base for a number of mining operations and
expanding with even more magnitude.