Zambia’s economy has experienced strong growth in recent years, with real GDP growth in 2005-13 more than 6% per year.
The country’s economic fortunes began to change in the late 1990s when the privatisation of the mining sector began to draw in foreign investment and improve output. Improved copper prices and investment in mining have improved prospects for export earnings in Zambia. Government support for agriculture is also said to have contributed to economic growth, averaging around 6% a year in recent years.
Record high copper prices and a bumper maize crop in 2010 helped Zambia rebound quickly from the world economic slowdown that began in 2008. Zambia has made some strides to improve the ease of doing business. Regulatory changes by the current government in 2012-2013 included Statutory Instruments (SI) Number 33 (mandating use of the kwacha for domestic transactions) and SI Number 55 (monitoring foreign exchange transactions). Along with problems of fiscal management and weakening global copper prices, these SI’s were perceived as undermining confidence in Zambia’s economy and currency, leading to sharp depreciation of the kwacha in March 2014. In response, the Minister of Finance revoked SI 33 and 55 in late March 2014.
China in particular has invested heavily in Zambia, creating jobs and new infrastructure. Census date suggests about 100,000 Chinese live in the country, and about 500 firms are active in sectors across the economy.
GDP – composition, by sector of origin:
Agriculture: 19.8% | Industry: 33.8% | Services: 46.5% (2013 est.)
Copper mining and processing, emerald mining, construction, foodstuffs, beverages, chemicals, textiles, fertilizer, horticulture
Corn, sorghum, rice, peanuts, sunflower seeds, vegetables, flowers, tobacco, cotton, sugarcane, cassava (manioc, tapioca), coffee; cattle, goats, pigs, poultry, milk, eggs, hides
Zambia has a reputation for political stability and a relatively efficient, transparent government.
Current Head of State: Dr. Guy Scott
Legal System: mixed legal system of English common law and customary law; judicial review of legislative acts in an ad hoc constitutional council.
- Full name: Republic of Zambia
- Population: 14.8 million (UN, 2012)
- Capital: Lusaka
- Area: 752,614 sq km (290,586 sq miles)
- Major language: English (official), Bemba, Lozi, Nyanja, Tonga
- Major religions: Christianity, indigenous beliefs, Hinduism, Islam
- Life expectancy: 49 years (men), 50 years (women) (UN)
- Monetary unit: 1 Kwacha = 100 ngwee
- Main exports: Copper, minerals, tobacco
- GNI per capita: US $1,160 (World Bank, 2011)
- Internet domain: .zm
- International dialling code: +260