Zambia Economic Development

Zambia Economic Development

Zambia. Official name, Republic of Zambia. Landlocked country located in southern Africa, bordered to the northwest by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to the northeast by Tanzania, to the east by Malawi, to the southeast by Mozambique, to the south by Zimbabwe, Botswana and the Caprivi corridor, in Namibia, and to the west with Angola. Zambia, a former English colony called Northern Rhodesia, became independent on November 24, 1964. Lusaka is the capital city of Zambia according to allpubliclibraries.

In 2006 Zambia’s gross domestic product (GDP) was $ 10,734 million (according to World Bank estimates), with a per capita income of $ 917.80. The wealth of the country has been based on the exploitations of the rich deposits of the Copperbelt. The decline in world copper prices since the late 1970s has had serious consequences on the economy, made worse by the fact that reserves are beginning to deplete. Food processing and industry have expanded since independence, and since the 1970s attempts have been made to diversify agriculture and make the country self-sufficient in this sector, but with only limited success. Estimates of the national budget for 2006 showed figures of $ 1,898 million in revenues and $ 2,143 million in expenditures.

Since the early 1990s, efforts to diversify the economy and deal with the country’s huge foreign debt (3.6% of goods and services exported in 2006) have led to the launch of a succession of investment programs. economic reforms supported by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. Measures have included the liberalization of the agricultural market, the privatization of state companies, and severe cuts in public spending on health, education, and social services.

There is also considerable hydroelectric potential in Zambia. The Kariba Dam, on the Zambezi River, is the country’s main source of energy. Zambia shares the Kariba system with Zimbabwe. Other facilities on the Lumsemfwa and Mulungushi rivers provide power to the city of Kabwe. Power plants have also been built on the Kafue River. In 2003, electricity production was 8,347 million KWh; 99.44% from hydroelectric plants.


Agriculture contributes 21.8% of the gross domestic product; 70% of the Zambian working population work in this sector, mainly in subsistence agriculture. The main crops (2006 annual production data in tons) include maize as a staple food (865,000), sugar cane (2,700,000), fruit (100,984) and vegetables (265,823); cassava (950,000), cottonseed (42,500) and tobacco (4,800). Sunflower seeds, flowers, peanuts and sweet potatoes are also grown. The cattle, destined to the production of meat and milk, are raised for domestic use. Due to permanent drought, deteriorated roads and market mechanisms, the food traded per year is insufficient to meet domestic needs.


The rich mineral veins of the Copperbelt (copper belt) have been of paramount importance in modern Zambian history. The Copperbelt extends west of central Zambia from southern Democratic Republic of the Congo and contains some of the largest deposits of copper, cobalt, and other minerals in Africa.

Mining is an important sector of the Zambian economy. The country’s copper mines were once the richest in the world but reserves are decreasing and from 2020 they are expected to be on the verge of depletion. Copper prices were high during the first decade after independence, allowing for considerable growth. However, by the mid-1980s they fell to less than a third of their 1975 value and, although they have recovered somewhat during 1980, they have generally declined since then. In the early 1990s, annual production averaged 500,000 tons and in 2004 it was 426,900 tons. Lead, zinc, gold, cobalt, coal, amethysts, emeralds are also minedand tin. Zambia is a leading world producer of copper and cobalt; With the export of both minerals, up to 95% of the annual income is obtained.


Industries contribute 32.9% of GDP and employ about 7% of wage earners. The main industrial activities are the smelting and refining of copper and other metals, food processing, the manufacture of chemicals, textiles, footwear and tobacco, the refining of petroleum, the production of cement and fertilizers and the assembly or assembly of vehicles. The grinding of cereals is also important.

Currency and banking

The decimal currency system, introduced in 1968, is based on the kwacha, divided into 100 ngwee (3,603.10 Zambian kwacha equaled US $ 1 in 2006). The country’s central bank is the Bank of Zambia, founded in 1954. In the early 1990s, there were seven local commercial banks and six foreign banks in operation. Other financial institutions are the Zambian Development Bank and the Zaullia Import-Export Bank.

Foreign trade

The value of imports — machinery and transportation equipment, mineral fuel and lubricants, chemical products, and basic industrial goods — amounted to about $ 1,253 million in 2002. Exports — mainly copper, zinc, and cobalt — totaled about $ 930 million. of dollars.

Transport and communication

Zambia has about 1,273 km of railroad. One line runs from Zimbabwe to Maramba, Lusaka and Ndola, joins the Zaire system and reaches Benguela, along the Atlantic coast of Angola. Known as the Benguela Railway Line, it was Zambia’s main trade route until the outbreak of civil war in Angola in the 1970s. The Tanzania-Zambia (Tazara) railway line was built to provide the country with an alternative outlet and connect Lusaka with the port of Dar es-Salaam, in Tanzania. The roads linking the main cities of Zambia are paved, which is equivalent to 19% of the 91,440 km that make up the total road network. Many local roads are impassable during the rainy season. Lusaka has an international airport. The government operates radio and television stations in Lusaka and Kitwe. In 1999 there were about 1,436,000 radio sets and 1,400,000 television receivers in operation.


Zambia’s total workforce in 2006 was 4,985,055, of whom about 23% were employed in the service sector and many others depended on subsistence agriculture. The main labor organization in Zambia is the Zambian Trade Union Congress, with some 400,000 members, including civil servants. Unions are powerful in Zambia, partly reflecting the importance of mining. During the period of one-party rule, the Zambian Trade Union Congress acted as the de facto opposition.

Zambia Economic Development