Lusaka

As Zam­bia’s pri­mary busi­ness travel des­ti­na­tion, Lusaka is rel­a­tively ‘user-friendly’, with a small, sim­ple air­port, nice se­lec­tion of branded ho­tels, and a lay­out that makes it a city easy to nav­i­gate.

Business Traveller (Africa) - - CONTENTS -

The cap­i­tal of a south­ern Africa coun­try that by and large flies un­der the radar, Lusaka has much to of­fer those cor­po­rate trav­ellers look­ing for a seam­less ex­pe­ri­ence, from a small and sim­ple air­port to a nice spread of branded ho­tels, good restau­rants, and a straight­for­ward lay­out.

As the cap­i­tal of Zam­bia, Lusaka at­tracts the ma­jor­ity of busi­ness travel to the coun­try. It's also the coun­try's most pop­u­lated re­gion, with nearly two mil­lion res­i­dents, as well as the chief ad­min­is­tra­tive, fi­nan­cial, and com­mer­cial cen­tre. Lo­cated in the south-cen­tral part of the coun­try, near the bor­der with Zim­babwe, it is a sprawl­ing city with mod­ern in­fra­struc­ture and friendly res­i­dents.

Lusaka was estab­lished as a set­tle­ment in 1913 and has de­vel­oped into the cen­tral point from which a lot of other busi­ness travel takes place, be­ing a tran­sit point for cor­po­rate travel to and from Zam­bia's Cop­per­belt.

“Zam­bia, and Lusaka in par­tic­u­lar, is an out­stand­ing des­ti­na­tion for busi­ness travel in the re­gion. It of­fers a tremen­dous en­vi­ron­ment for mega con­fer­ences, events and in­cen­tive travel,” says Lau­ren Wat­son, Mar­ket­ing Man­ager at the Radis­son Blu Ho­tel, Lusaka. “The coun­try's strate­gic lo­ca­tion – be­ing sur­rounded by eight coun­tries and with easy ac­cess to them - pro­vides a good plat­form for busi­ness net­work­ing.”

There is growth in the re­tail, and to a lesser ex­tent, bank­ing sec­tors, and Lusaka is the hub within the coun­try for these in­dus­tries.

City at­trac­tions in­clude the Lusaka Na­tional Mu­seum, the Po­lit­i­cal Mu­seum, the Zintu Com­mu­nity Mu­seum, the Free­dom Statue, the Zam­bian Na­tional As­sem­bly, the Agri­cul­tural So­ci­ety Show­grounds (known for their an­nual agri­cul­tural show), the Moore Pot­tery Fac­tory, the Lusaka Play­house, the Cathe­dral of the Holy Cross, and the zoo and botan­i­cal gar­dens of the Munda Wanga En­vi­ron­men­tal Park.

Lusaka is also home to the Uni­ver­sity of Zam­bia and two large shop­ping malls, in the form of Ar­cades and Manda Hill shop­ping mall. The city cen­tre in­cludes sev­eral blocks west of Cairo Road, around which lie the New City Mar­ket and Kamwala Mar­ket, a ma­jor shop­ping area, as well as the Zintu Com­mu­nity Mu­seum. Fur­ther east lies the gov­ern­ment area, in­clud­ing the State House and the var­i­ous min­istries, around the Cathe­dral Hill and Ridge­way neigh­bour­hoods.

One of the main streets and points of in­ter­est for busi­ness is Cairo Road. Build­ings along Cairo Road in­clude the Cen­tral Bank Build­ing, Zam­bia Na­tional Build­ing So­ci­ety, Zam­bia Na­tional Com­mer­cial Bank, Bar­clays Bank Zam­bia's head of­fice, Stan­bic Bank Zam­bia, and In­vestrust Bank.

The Zam­bian econ­omy re­volves around cop­per and con­tin­ues to grow, thanks to higher com­mod­ity prices, but the gov­ern­ment is in the process of eco­nomic di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion to re­duce the econ­omy's reliance on this in­dus­try. This ini­tia­tive seeks to ex­ploit other com­po­nents of Zam­bia's rich re­source base, by pro­mot­ing agri­cul­ture, tourism, gem­stone min­ing and hy­dropower.

But the coun­try's growth prospects wouldn't have been helped by the news in Septem­ber that the UK had frozen aid fund­ing to Zam­bia, af­ter the gov­ern­ment ad­mit­ted that $4.3m meant for poor fam­i­lies had gone miss­ing.

The move fol­lowed al­le­ga­tions of cor­rup­tion within Pres­i­dent Edgar Lungu's ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Ire­land, Fin­land and Swe­den also sus­pended aid, which is be­lieved to af­fect the ed­u­ca­tion, health and nu­tri­tion sec­tors, as well as so­cial cash trans­fers for the poor­est Zam­bians.

The aid sus­pen­sion came as Zam­bia's debt lev­els faced in­creas­ing scru­tiny, with the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund say­ing it had sus­pended lend­ing to the coun­try as it was wor­ried that its debt was un­sus­tain­able.

AIR­PORT & AIR­LINES

Ken­neth Kaunda In­ter­na­tional Air­port is the largest air­port in Zam­bia. It is lo­cated 27 kilo­me­tres from Lusaka, and de­spite be­ing built in the late 1960s is fairly well main­tained, of­fer­ing trav­ellers

“Zam­bia, and Lusaka in par­tic­u­lar, is an out­stand­ing des­ti­na­tion for busi­ness travel in the re­gion. ”

ac­cess to car rental firms, trans­fer ser­vices, for­eign ex­change bureau, duty-free stores, a post of­fice and a restau­rant.

The air­port is in the process of be­ing up­graded, the com­ple­tion of which will make a huge dif­fer­ence to the air­port ex­pe­ri­ence. When the plans were first un­veiled in 2013, it was said that the new air­port would con­tain a new two-storey ter­mi­nal build­ing, in­clud­ing 22 check-in coun­ters, 12 bor­der chan­nels, six se­cu­rity check coun­ters, a shop­ping com­plex, an air­port ho­tel with 80 rooms, and a new car park.

“Un­til then, how­ever, the old air­port is in use with both do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional flights from the same build­ing,” says Wat­son.

Con­struc­tion on the new ter­mi­nal build­ing even­tu­ally be­gan in June 2015 and is sched­uled for com­ple­tion in 2019. The pro­ject has been granted a bud­get of $360 mil­lion.

As for the ex­ist­ing lounge of­fer­ing, Septem­ber 2014 saw the an­nounce­ment that Kenya Air­ways would open a brand new lounge, bring­ing to four the num­ber of lounges at the in­ter­na­tional air­port. The other lounges are the SAA, IAPCO Club and FNB lounges. First Na­tional Bank Zam­bia launched its first FNB Lounge at KKIA in 2013. FNB Pre­mier Bank­ing clients can use their Plat­inum card to gain ex­clu­sive ac­cess, and the lounge is wi-fi en­abled, has catered food and com­fort­able wash and change rooms.

From an air­line point of view, Emi­rates is ar­guably the big­gest in­ter­na­tional air­line fly­ing into Lusaka, along with Africa's ‘Big 3' – South African Air­ways, Kenya Air­ways, and Ethiopian Air­lines – and fast­jet, which pro­vides a low-cost op­tion be­tween Dar es Salaam (Tan­za­nia) and Lusaka.

Other African air­lines fly­ing into Ken­neth Kaunda In­ter­na­tional in­clude Air Botswana, Air Namibia, Air Zim­babwe, Air­link, Malaw­ian Air­lines, and TAAG, whilst 2015 saw RwandAir an­nounce the launch of three weekly flights from Ki­gali. Air­link op­er­ates di­rect flights be­tween Jo­han­nes­burg and Lusaka on Mon­days, Tues­days, Wed­nes­days, Fri­days and Satur­days. Air Zim­babwe re­sumed sched­uled flights be­tween Harare and Lusaka in 2015.

Lo­cal Zam­bian car­ri­ers haven't fared too well for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons, but Proflight Zam­bia has been in busi­ness for 20 years and man­aged to pros­per. It has also been quite ac­tive in the last cou­ple of years, cel­e­brat­ing its first in­ter­na­tional sched­uled air ser­vice from Lusaka to Li­longwe (Malawi) in 2013, fol­lowed by the launch of a ser­vice be­tween Lusaka and Dur­ban in South Africa. The

air­line re­cently added four weekly flights from Lusaka to Harare (Zim­babwe), re­duc­ing travel time from seven hours by road to 70 min­utes by air. Proflight also flies to Liv­ing­stone, Ka­fue Na­tional Park, Sol­wezi, Ndola, Kal­abo, Kitwe, Kasama, Jeki, Royal, and Mfuwe in Zam­bia.

HO­TELS

There is a good se­lec­tion of well­known in­ter­na­tional brands in Lusaka, en­sur­ing a steady sup­ply of qual­ity ac­com­mo­da­tion.

The ‘new­est kid on the block' is the Hil­ton Gar­den Inn Lusaka So­ci­ety Busi­ness Park, which only opened in Au­gust. The ho­tel is lo­cated in the heart of the city with up to four shop­ping malls within a five-kilo­me­tre ra­dius, and is just a 30-minute drive from Ken­neth Kaunda In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

Hil­ton Gar­den Inn Lusaka So­ci­ety Busi­ness Park has 148 rooms with city views, in­clud­ing four ju­nior suites with kitch­enettes lo­cated on the 18th floor. The ho­tel also has an all-day din­ing restau­rant – Gar­den Grille – and a bar and lounge, an out­door pool and 24-hour fit­ness cen­tre.

Event­ing fa­cil­i­ties in­cludes 150m2 of ban­quet­ing space and pre-func­tion ar­eas. Busi­ness trav­ellers can also take ad­van­tage of the ho­tel's meet­ing spa­ces, with state-of-the-art 12-seater board­rooms with built-in flatscreen TVs.

The brand is Hil­ton's mid­mar­ket or ‘select ser­vices' brand, and it's in­ter­est­ing that the group has de­cided that it is a fit for Lusaka, clearly see­ing an op­por­tu­nity to fill a gap in the city's ho­tel of­fer­ing.

The ho­tel is part of the new­lyre­fur­bished de­vel­op­ment So­ci­ety Busi­ness Park on Cairo Road. The 20-floor mixed-use park is part of a pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship agree­ment be­tween Zam­bia Na­tional Build­ing So­ci­ety and the Na­tional Pen­sion Scheme Au­thor­ity. The agree­ment be­tween the two is a 20-year pro­cure­ment part­ner­ship for the $100m re­de­vel­op­ment of the park, which its man­age­ment was sub­se­quently awarded to Hil­ton. HGI Lusaka So­ci­ety Busi­ness Park

An­other in­ter­na­tional brand with a pres­ence in Lusaka is Radis­son Ho­tels, with its Radis­son Blu Ho­tel, Lusaka, which opened in 2012 and of­fers up­mar­ket ac­com­mo­da­tion five kilo­me­tres from the city cen­tre.

The ho­tel's lo­ca­tion also of­fers con­ve­nient ac­cess to the busi­ness and com­mer­cial dis­tricts and prides it­self on its mod­ern ameni­ties and 142 rooms and suites. Those rooms are made up of 10 one-bed­room suites, 16 busi­ness class rooms, 17 su­pe­rior rooms and 109 stan­dard rooms. Guests en­joy free high-speed, wire­less in­ter­net ac­cess, in­di­vid­ual cli­mate con­trol, an invit­ing out­door pool and a spa.

In terms of food and bev­er­age, the ho­tel's Chuma Grill Restau­rant & Bar hosts the com­pli­men­tary break­fast buf­fet and serves African fu­sion and in­ter­na­tional dishes for lunch and din­ner.

For a mid­day snack or cock­tail while you lounge by the out­door swim­ming pool, guests can or­der some­thing from the Pool Bar.

The ho­tel also has a fit­ness cen­tre, whilst the con­fer­ence of­fer­ing in­cludes five fully-equipped con­fer­ence rooms, a ver­sa­tile pre-fun-ction area, and two spa­cious ball­rooms. There's also a pro­fes­sional con­fer­ence co-or­di­na­tor on hand to as­sist, and there are 300 on-site park­ing spa­ces.

Con­struc­tion on a se­cond Radis­son Ho­tels prop­erty in Lusaka is al­ready un­der­way. The Park Inn by Radis­son Lusaka Lon­gacres is ex­pected to open in 2020 and will form part of a mixed-use de­vel­op­ment, which will in­clude a 9,000m2 shop­ping mall. Its lo­ca­tion will put em­bassies, diplo­matic mis­sions and the United Na­tions of­fices within easy reach.

The 136-room ho­tel will of­fer a mix­ture of stan­dard rooms and suites, along with an all­day din­ing restau­rant and bar. The meet­ings and events area will in­clude one ball­room, three meet­ing rooms and a board­room. The ho­tel will also house a welle­quipped gym.

Of the groups with a pres­ence in Lusaka, Mar­riott has the great­est, cour­tesy of its Protea Ho­tels by Mar­riott brand. The first Protea prop­erty opened in 2000, when it re­branded the 20-room for­mer Chisamba Sa­fari Lodge, now known as Protea Ho­tel by Mar­riott Lusaka Sa­fari Lodge. Over the last 17 years the group has grown that pres­ence with a fur­ther seven ho­tels in Zam­bia, three of which are sit­u­ated in Lusaka.

The Protea Ho­tel by Mar­riott Lusaka Cairo Road, with 75 rooms, opened in June 2006; the 100-room Protea Ho­tel by Mar­riott Lusaka opened in Au­gust 2008; and the Protea Ho­tel by Mar­riott Lusaka Tower, with 137 rooms,

opened in April 2014.

Protea Ho­tel by Mar­riott Sa­fari Lodge, sit­u­ated in its own pri­vate game re­serve, has twice ex­panded, adding 20 ad­di­tional rooms each in 2005 and 2010, to of­fer a to­tal of 60 rooms. De­spite its seem­ingly leisure-fo­cused lo­ca­tion, it does of­fer con­fer­enc­ing fa­cil­i­ties for up to 80 del­e­gates, as well as free wire­less in­ter­net ac­cess.

Protea Ho­tel by Mar­riott Lusaka Cairo Road is in the heart of Lusaka's CBD. The ho­tel has two con­fer­ence rooms, both suitable for be­tween 15 and 40 del­e­gates, and can be com­bined for larger groups. There are also board­rooms on the se­cond and fourth floors avail­able for smaller busi­ness meet­ings. Free wire­less in­ter­net ac­cess is avail­able through­out the ho­tel.

Protea Ho­tel by Mar­riott Lusaka is across the road from the Mu­lun­gushi In­ter­na­tional Con­fer­ence Cen­tre. It is sit­u­ated in the Ar­cades Shop­ping & En­ter­tain­ment Com­plex, putting a range of shops, bars and restau­rants with easy reach of guests.

The Protea Ho­tel by Mar­riott Lusaka Tower is also in the Ar­cades Shop­ping com­plex. The ho­tel's ninth-floor restau­rant and bar of­fer ex­pan­sive views over the city. There are two meet­ing rooms and four board­rooms that com­ple­ment the con­fer­enc­ing fa­cil­i­ties at the neigh­bour­ing Protea Ho­tel by Mar­riott Lusaka.

There are other big in­ter­na­tional brands in the form of Best Western, In­ter­Con­ti­nen­tal, and Taj.

Look­ing at the African brands, Cresta Ho­tels has the Cresta Golfview, which has 78 rooms, four con­fer­ence fa­cil­i­ties that can ac­com­mo­date up to 300 del­e­gates, air­port trans­fers and com­pli­men­tary wi-fi. An­other safe bet is go­ing with Tsogo Sun Ho­tels, which op­er­ates the more bud­get-friendly StayEasy Lusaka and the four-star South­ern Sun Ridge­way, which was for­merly the Hol­i­day Inn.

Most ho­tels and lodges of­fer some form of con­fer­ence and event fa­cil­i­ties, but the Mu­lun­gushi In­ter­na­tional Con­ven­tion Cen­tre was pur­pose-built to host large con­ven­tions. The ‘old wing' was built to host the Non-Aligned

“Credit and debit cards are widely ac­cepted in Lusaka at the shops in the malls or the ho­tels. ”

Sum­mit in 1970. It of­fers seven con­fer­ence halls with the largest hall ca­pac­ity of up to 2,500 peo­ple. The ‘new wing', ad­ja­cent to the orig­i­nal build­ing on Great East Road, was de­signed to “re­flect the in­ter­na­tional flair of a con­fer­ence venue”. It added 13 con­fer­ence halls, the largest of which can ac­com­mo­date up to 1,000 peo­ple.

PAY­MENTS

Although non-cash pay­ments are grow­ing in pop­u­lar­ity, trav­ellers should not de­pend on credit to get around the coun­try.

“Credit and debit cards are widely ac­cepted in Lusaka at the shops in the malls or the ho­tels,” says Wat­son. “How­ever, for more lo­cal trans­ac­tions, cash is the only method of pay­ment.”

Visa is the card of choice in this part of Africa, Master­Card is far less pop­u­lar, and use of all other cards is vir­tu­ally un­heard of out­side of the in­ter­na­tional ho­tel chains.

GET­TING AROUND

Mini-buses are ubiq­ui­tous, cheap, and fast, and for a few kwacha you can get into or out of town eas­ily.

For the unini­ti­ated, though, a taxi might be a bet­ter op­tion, at least ini­tially. Taxis come in two colours – sky blue and a light grey, and are usu­ally Toy­ota Corol­las. There are no me­ters in Zam­bia's taxis, so prices are some­what ne­go­tiable, but al­ways on the high side for Africa. Be sure to set a price be­fore get­ting in the cab. A good tip is to ask the ho­tel concierge how much your trip should cost.

Take down a taxi driver's mo­bile num­ber and most will be happy to do an all-day deal, wait­ing for you while you con­duct busi­ness, or pick you up early or late and take you to and from the air­port.

Like in most fast-grow­ing African cities, traf­fic is atro­cious – avoid go­ing in and out of the city cen­tre by any route dur­ing rush hour, if you can. In­creas­ingly, slow traf­fic does at least help re­duce the aw­ful death rate on Lusaka's roads.

“Zam­bians are in­cred­i­bly pleas­ant, help­ful and wel­com­ing peo­ple,” says Wat­son. “As a busi­ness trav­eller, feel free to ask for ad­vice when needed.” ■

HGI Lusaka So­ci­ety Busi­ness Park

Radis­son Blu, Lusaka

Radis­son Blu Ho­tel Lusaka

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