Kolwezi comes from KOL UWETSHU EZ which literally translates into Lunda language “COME TO LIVE IN OUR VILLAGE” as the legendary hospitality shown by the Lunda people.

Kolwezi is a city in the Democratic Republic of Congo, west of Likasi in Lualaba province. Situated at almost 1,500 m on the Manika Plateau, Kolwezi is an important mining centre for copper, cobalt, uranium and radium. The city is also a banking and artisanal mining centre. The region produces maize, cassava and groundnuts. It is also the terminal of one of the longest high-voltage power lines in the world, the Inga-Shaba.
City of Kolwezi Area: 213 km², Estimated population size: 572 942 hab.


The city was created in 1937 to house the headquarters of the Western mines of the Belgian company Union Minière du Haut Katanga (UMHK). Kolwezi developed as scattered neighbourhoods, like other segregating cities in Upper Katanga and colonial Southern Africa. With a decision-making and residential centre of European executives, in the South-East the Customary Center, for the local population and several cities planned for the working population close to the careers and factories of the UMHK. Almost four-fifths of the municipal territory was then within the concessions of the company.

After Katanga declared independence from the Republic of Congo in 1960, rebels repeatedly tried to emancipate themselves from the authority of the central state of Congo, renamed at the time Republic of Congo. Zaire. In 1978, the tragic events of the mining town of Kolwezi resulted in another rebellion, this time against the dictatorial regime of Marshal Mobutu installed thousands of kilometres from Katanga, in central Kongo, in the former Leopoldville renamed Kinshasa.

The origin of the name of the city

Two versions compete on this subject. According to the first version, the origin of this name is a banal scene recruiting indigenous workers who were asked where they came from before hiring them. To this question, they answered: «Kol a Ruwej “, which means: “I come from Ruwej’s house”. Due to bad hearing, the white heard: Kol Wej. And that’s where the name of Kolwezi came from.

According to proponents of the second thesis, Kolwezi would take its name from a river whose source was on the side of the current airport of the city. This is the most widespread and the most official thesis. Unfortunately, to this day, this river no longer exists.
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Geographical data

Kolwezi comes from Kol uwetshu ez which literally translates into lunda language “Come live in our village” as the legendary hospitality shown by the Lunda people. Capital city of the province of Lualaba, Kolwezi covers 213 Km² and is subdivided into two municipalities: the town of Dilala (154 Km²) in the West and that of Manika (59 Km) in the East.

Geographic coordinates

Kolwezi is located at 10 ° 43 ‘South Latitude and 25 ° 28’ East Longitude, Kolwezi is built in a region of Middle Plateaux ( Manika ) is 1200 to 1400 m altitude, 341 km North-West from Lubumbashi, the capital of the province of Upper Katanga, 426 km from Dilolo, on the Angolan border.


The climate is Sudanese at altitude with a very dry season that lasts at least six months, and considerable annual and especially diurnal temperature differences: the hottest temperature is recorded in October – November (32° C) and the lowest in June – July (6° C).
The climate of this region is characterized by the alternation of two well-marked seasons: a dry season from May to September and a wet season from October to April. Average annual temperatures range from 18 to 22 ° C, with monthly minimums as low as 10 ° C


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The hydrographic network is dominated by the Lualaba, local name of the Congo River that extends in an arc over more than 15 km around Kolwezi. The other rivers ( Kalemba or ” Poto Poto “, the left tributary of Luilu, Musonoïe, Kabulungu stream, right tributary of Luilu, Kakifuluwé, kolwezi, Dilala.) Are oriented mainly south and north. Sometimes South-East North-West. They belong to the same hydrographic network which converges towards the Lualaba. The Luilu and Musonoïe are the most important rivers in the region. The Luilu is the natural boundary to the west of the municipal perimeter of Kolwezi, the Musonoïe crosses right through the municipal perimeter.


The town of Kolwezi is a grassy savannah belonging to the Manika plateau, it includes several types of natural environments characterized by marshes, gallery forests and especially savannas sometimes wooded: the plain of Kanzenze to the northwest, the basin of Lualaba to the east, the rugged hills of Kibara to the north and finally the Manika Plateau to the south. We must also point out the presence in the landscape of the site of giant termite mounds, from 3 to 5 per hectare. The plateau is of relatively gentle slope, inclined south, north is occupied by the tributaries of rivers Luilu which, it, flows into the Lualaba. These rivers Musonoïe, Kolwezi, Kakifuluwé, Kabulungu, Dilala, Lubembo, Mwangwe, Kamakenge etc. These rivers dig the plateau in relatively deep valleys and locally marshy.


The Kolwezi soil is sandy – clay with a subsoil rich in mining deposits mainly copper and its derivatives, cobalt, gold, uranium and radium, and so on.

Particularities of the city.

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The city of Kolwezi has the advantage of being connected to Asia via the port of Dar es Salaam by the Solwezi-Kolwezi road and to Europe and America by the port of Lobito by the RN39 axis Kolwezi- Dilolo, this city has an interconnection of three high-voltage lines, Inga, dam Nseke and Nzilo a great asset to boost the economy of the city and its surroundings

Wealth of the city

Born to house the headquarters of the group West GECAMINES, Kolwezi has a very rich basement that makes it an increasingly expanding city, we can mention:
Copper: thanks to copper more than 35% of the population lives thanks to this formal and informal exploitation.

Cultural data

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Kolwezi has cultural diversity, in this diversity, there is the G5, which represents the five influential tribes of this entity, namely:
These tribes have their folk groups, which at the discretion of the official, political or cultural events display their respective cultures, so respectively we have Lwanzo lwa mikuba, Divar, Kuliva, and Asondef

Languages spoken in this city

Swahili (85%)
Sanga (35%)
Ruund (30)
Tshiluba (25%)
Apart from the official language, French, generally everyone speaks Swahili output expatriates and those who come from other provinces and territories (Kasai, Kapanga,)

Main activities

Mining Industrial
Exploitation Mining
General Trade
Agriculture (Subsistence)
Informal Trade

Economic situation

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Main activities of economic operators

Industrial Mining
General Trade
Subcontracting mining (industrial construction, mining, transportation, … )
Artisanal mining
Agropastoral The economic activities of the city of Kolwezi to core, mining copper and cobalt primarily, once the mining sector is experiencing difficulties, economic activity, in general, is paralyzed, the economy of this city has not yet reached true diversification.
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Mining has emerged as a creative channel for the large number of jobs, in the broad sense of the term and without dissociating those so-called “formal” and those called “informal”. The largely industrial exploitation of copper and cobalt ores coexists with pockets of artisanal exploitation, to exercise a job in the mining sector on a regular or irregular basis as an artisanal «digger” or as a commercial intermediary in the mining chain. Artisanal mining is perceived socio-culturally as a remuneration work honouring the man and the community which explains the enthusiasm of the young people to work in this sector.
Among those who could not find a job in the mining industry, another social class was born with an imagined imagination to become an entrepreneur as a provider of services, consumer goods and miscellaneous equipment. To the mining companies of the city and its surroundings.
For the most part, these entrepreneurs have in-depth knowledge of the needs of mining operators and compete with suppliers from abroad; even though they are seen as a threat to local entrepreneurs in terms of their lead in accessing an efficient financial system for SMEs, new technologies and the quality of the products/services provided, as our tax system is towards the maximization of receipts and not towards optimization of local SMEs / SMIs.

Large local businesses

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Kamoto copper company ( Kcc ) Mutanda mine ( Mumi ) Gecamines ( Gcm ) Sicomines (SCM) Egmf Gpm Large companies are mainly mining and have also allowed the development of other companies such as service stations, hotels, mining equipment rental, maintenance and maintenance services, etc.

Main agricultural products

The agricultural production of the city of Kolwezi is weak, this is due to the following constraints: first we mention the insecurity of the arable lands vis-à-vis the mines which induces that a map is made to separate the mining areas from the agricultural ones.
This weakness is also due to the means of production, the majority of farmers work by hand, to this is added the cost of obtaining expensive agricultural inputs (fertilizer, quality seeds, pesticides, …), besides the scarcity of fertile soils for maize cultivation.
The lack of access to agricultural credit and the rural exodus of young people to artisanal mining activities make labour difficult to find.

Health situation

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Mwangeji General Hospital

Number of hospitals 6
Number of health centres 89
The city of Kolwezi has two health zones, namely Manika and Dilala, each corresponding to the two municipalities that make up the city, most of the health facilities are in good condition, especially those belonging to the private sector. and religious denominations compared to those belonging to the state.
The health zones of Kolwezi are mainly supplied with medicines by Prosani , also supported by ASF, Sanru and Unicef, it is worth pointing out that despite these supports and compared to the purchasing power of the population, it becomes difficult to grasp the impact positive of all these interventions with regard to penalties that end the population to procure drugs or honour the bills established by the Fosa (health facility) and therefore, it becomes common to see many properties seized pledge in the Fosa .
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Hewa Bora School Complex, New Province of Lualaba

Accessibility of the city

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Roads Yes
Airways Yes
Waterways No
Train Yes
The accessibility to the city of Kolwezi is mainly by road, the RN 39 which joins the RN1 at Nguba village level in the territory of Lubudi, the state of this network is good overall, it is maintained regularly for the benefit of large mining companies in the province of Lualaba namely TFM, BOSS MINING, KCC, MUMI, SICOMINES,… This city also has a national airport that is in a fairly acceptable state and requires modernization so that this airport infrastructure reaches the rank of international airport to further boost the economy of the province, some airlines serve the lines Kamina, Kalemie, Lubumbashi and most recently Dilolo, however, given the current economic climate, air travel is still a luxury because only one category of the population has access (corporate executives, dignitaries, etc.).

Communication networks

Africel Yes
Airtel Yes
Orange Yes
Vodacom Yes

Tourist attractions

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Parks No
Botanic Gardens No
Zoological Garden No
Waterfalls Yes
Tourist Attractions Yes
Sacred Sites No

The city of Kolwezi offers many forms of tourism: industrial tourism where you can find the hydroelectric dams of NSEKE and NZILO, geo-tourism where one can visit the underground and open mines of KAMOTO, DIKULWE, ecotourism with the Manika plateau where a wildlife reserve is planned, cultural tourism at the village level Walemba said village of copper eaters where, up until now, there are copper crosses, the beaches of Katebi and Wansela, where lake excursions and fishing are carried out, the Congo River, locally called Lualaba, where the country’s second-longest bridge is thrown. after the Marshal Bridge in Kongo Central, agrotourism where we can mention several agro-tourism farms and historical tourism with the memory sites of the 80-day war and the 6-day s.

Development opportunities

1. Geostrategic position
Kolwezi is not only a railway hall, it is also located at the crossroads of a general road network serving both northern Zambia, northeastern Angola and southeastern DRC. , precisely the former Katanga. The backbone of this road network is the RN1 and RN39 paved roads from Kolwezi to Sakania, via Likasi and Lubumbashi, and next to them the railway line ( Sakania – Lubumbashi – Kolwezi – Dilolo – Lobito) in very bad condition.
Taking advantage of this position through the construction and / or rehabilitation of these transport infrastructures can make Kolwezi a great pool of development and important trade with its opening on Zambia by Solwezi-Kolwezi road (Africa Austral, Middle East and Asia) and another on the American and European continent by RN39 ( Dilolo -Lobito)

2. Tourism potential
Alongside the mines, a large tourist industry can be developed in Kolwezi, as above, industrial tourism, geo-tourism, cultural tourism, etc. can be boosted. through this same mechanism, the hotel industry, which is experiencing difficulties whenever copper and cobalt prices plummet, may de facto stabilize with the advent of large investments in tourism, making Kolwezi, one of the most visited site in the country.
With such a diversity of tourism, tourism is positioned as a first alternation to the development of the city of Kolwezi alongside the mining that will make the discovery of Kolwezi a particularly rewarding experience and provided that the provincial government of Lualaba pays particular attention to this.

3. Mining potential
Kolwezi owes its existence to the mines, however, so far the mining sector becomes the weak link in the development of this entity because poorly exploited, at any price everyone wants to live only through mining to the point of neglecting the other sectors of the economy of this entity, an update of the policy in this sector through the objective revision of the mining code with a view to better optimization of economic, social, agricultural and cultural profitability so that Kolwezi becomes again “YA LISANO »

4. Agricultural potential
Marginalized for the benefit of the mining sector, agriculture needs a new lease of life in order to ensure the food security of the population and reduce the dependence on the outside, this vital sector for the development of this sector. entity requires a particular view of the government so that alongside the mines the city can have an industrial agriculture able to cover local food needs and boost the advent of agribusiness and other industries.