Zambia has large metals reserves and strong potential for growth in the mining industry in particular. Copper dominates, but the country boasts deposits of iron ore, coal, uranium and manganese. Economic policy has significantly improved over the last several years in Zambia, with key macroeconomic indicators such as inflation, real GDP growth and the current account balance strengthening substantially since 2003. Investment in key non-mining sectors, especially tourism, has contributed to the country’s high growth.
We keep our informed of the latest market moves and political developments in Zambia, as part of our 'top-down' and 'bottom-up' perspective. Clients also benefit from in-depth analysis on 12 of Zambia’s most important industries. We provide interactive data and forecasting alongside detailed and risk-assessed analysis from our expert research teams. We aim to keep you one step ahead, so you find business in Zambia is a breeze.
Zambia Country Risk
Zambia's economic growth will remain subdued over 2016 owing to pressure on net exports from still low copper revenues, a regional drought as well as a substantial power shortage. Real GDP growth of 3.4% this year will be underpinned by a modest increase in private consumption and fixed capital formation. In the medium term, Glencore's announcement to invest USD1.1bn into Zambia's mining sector will bode well for overall investment into the country.
The Zambian government will continue to boost social expenditure as President Lungu attempts to gain public favour in light of the August general elections. Fiscal revenues will increase gradually over the coming years, in line with the copper sector's slow recovery. Elevated public debt levels will keep investors cautious as concern over debt-servicing costs rise.
Zambia Operational Risk Coverage (9)
Zambia Operational Risk
Zambia Operational Risk
BMI View: Overall, foreign investors will face fewer risks from a trade and investment perspective in Zambia than many of the country's regional peers. Zambia exhibits high levels of economic openness, largely due to attractive trade and investment characteristics, a favourable tax regime and low levels of red tape in relation to the completion of many bureaucratic procedures - all of which contribute to minimising potential risks to foreign investors. Problems which do pose threats are the subdued Zambian economic environment due to weak global copper prices, corruption and an underdeveloped...
Zambia Crime & Security
Zambia Crime & Security
BMI View: Crime and Security Risk is the second lowest area of risk in the Operational Risk environment for investors and businesses in Zambia. Zambia offers a safer operating environment than most SSA states, as the country enjoys stable relations with its neighbours, is not a primary target of international terrorist groups, though risks still exist from politically charged violent clashes. The main security risks to businesses in Zambia emanate from violent and petty crime and the costs associated with protecting property and personnel. Furthermore, while incidences of cybercrime are currently low, they are likely to rise as the country's internet penetration levels increase. Zambia receives a score of 49.9 out of 100 for Crime and Security Risk, putting it...
Zambia Labour Market
Zambia Labour Market
BMI View: The workforce suffers from severe restrictions due to the lack of skills and formal work experience among the population and the onerous burden of labour regulations. This limits the quality and options available for businesses looking to recruit Zambian labour and imposes significant extra costs on employers. Zambia's push to diversify the economy away from heavy-reliance on the primary sector is significantly threatened by the dearth of skilled labour, despite the country's investment-openness. Businesses face elevated costs as a result due to the need for training and importing skilled labour from abroad. On the positive side, it is reasonably easy to bring in more highly skilled workers...
BMI View: As a landlocked state, Zambia requires an efficient supply chain to ensure doing business in the country is cost-effective. This is not currently the case, as shipping times and costs are very high, which erodes business margins and cuts profitability. Key threats include insufficient rail capacity, rising road congestion, high energy costs and poor availability. That said, the Zambian government is making progress on infrastructure development, and long-term prospects should yield improvements.
The Zambian economy is closely tied to copper mining, which drives economic performance and shapes development of the international supply chain. Copper production underpins the value and growth rate of international exports and incentivises development of...
Zambia Trade & Investment
Zambia Trade & Investment
Rising inflows of foreign direct investment (FDI) are testament to the attractiveness of Zambia's business environment. Government policy is largely geared toward foreign participation, with low levels of trade protection, low tax rates, reduced levels of red tape, and equal rights for foreign and domestic investors. This degree of openness also has drawbacks, and capital outflows are undermining the country's balance of payments. Meanwhile, there is pressure on government finances and rising national debt, which places greater emphasis on foreign investment. Overall, Zambia performs well in the BMI Trade and Investment Market Risks Index, with a score of 49.4 out of 100 ranking the country eighth out of 44 states in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).
The absence of tariff and non-trade tariff barrier, a favourable tax regime, and low levels of government red tape, make Zambia an attractive place to invest and raise it...
Zambia Industry Coverage (13)
BMI View: We believe the rising incomes and population of South West Africa will see the region enjoy long-term growth in production in the corn sector. While there will be bumps along the way, we are ultimately predicting the region to see output growth outpace consumption growth over our forecast period to 2019. Meanwhile, in the sugar sector we see production in the key markets of Angola and Zambia beginning to slow over the forecast period as cheap imports from Brazil and China compete with local production.
Key BMI Forecasts
Angolan corn production from 2014/15 to 2018/19: 6% to 1.97mn tonnes. Although less than the bumper 2014 crop, we expect above-...
BMI View: The Zambian agricultural sector will experience stable but limited growth over the next five years. The country will remain a prime supplier of corn and sugar to the southwest Africa region. Continued kwacha weakness will translate into a higher cost of imported inputs, thereby reducing fertiliser use across Zambian crops. On the consumption side, volatile corn output and limited entry from other producers on the sugar market will keep prices elevated for Zambian consumers....
BMI View: High inflation levels and elevated interest rates will continue to erode consumer purchasing power and restrict auto loan demand. These factors will lead to a 23.8% contraction in vehicle sales in 2016.
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|Zambia - Vehicle Sales, Units|
|e/f = estimate/forecast. Source: National Sources, BMI|
Zambia Commercial Banking
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Food & Drink
Zambia Food & Drink
BMI View: Our outlook for Zambia's food and drink industry growth will be tepid over 2016 on the back of a weaker consumer outlook. Persistently high food inflation will deter food spending, in particular within the staple foods category. Low cost drinks will primarily be the key growth driver in the alcohol market as the Zambian consumer remain highly price conscious. The MGR sector will experience positive investment owing to the country's longer term growth prospects.
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BMI View: The Zambian construction industry will slow in 2016 after four consecutive years of double-digit growth as public spending and investment in the mining sector are cut on the back of lower commodity prices. We expect a more moderate, yet healthy, expansion over our 10-year forecast to 2025, driven by continued investment into transport and energy projects.
Latest Updates And Structural Trends
Cutbacks in Zambia's crucial mining sector and in public spending will see real growth slow to 6.0% in 2016, down from 10.1% in 2015....
BMI View: Although growing rapidly, Zambia's insurance market is still small in terms of total premiums written, indicating an industry which is still in the early stages of development. The key drivers of growth include improving household income and employment rates, the expansion of the range of products available in the market (including the use of microinsurance products) and growing, innovative distribution channels. While all positive trends, the market will continue to be held back by widespread poverty, high levels of informal employment and low life expectancy rates - as well as the impact of inflation and the depreciating value of the kwacha.
BMI View : Zambia's mining royalty reversal will support the sector's investment outlook. However, both low copper and coal prices and the country's high degree of mineral policy uncertainty will continue to limit the sector's production growth until the country's Presidential elections in 2016.
Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare
Zambia Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare
BMI View: Zambia's budget deficit will increase in 2016 thanks to another fall in copper production and the Zambian kwacha will continue its trend of depreciation on the basis of a weak copper industry outlook. Private and government consumption will remain the key drivers of growth, with resilient domestic demand helping to offset weaknesses in the export sector. Growth will also be supported by a stable inflationary environment.
Headline Expenditure Forecast
Pharmaceuticals: ZMW1.48bn (USD241mn) in 2014 to ZMW1.67bn (USD182mn) in 2015; +12.7% in local currency terms and -24.5% in US dollar terms. Forecast in US dollar terms decreased compared to the previous quarter.
BMI View: Zambia's power crisis is set to worsen due to prolonged lack of rainfall, reducing the capacity of the Kariba hydropower plant. The Maamba Coal-fired plant coming online will bring some respite, but will not be sufficient to cover the hydropower shortfall.
BMI View : BMI 's Southern Africa report analyses the latest industry, regulatory and macroeconomic developments in the telecoms markets in Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Mauritius and Namibia. It also contains our estimates based on the latest market data and updated five-year forecasts to 2020 for the mobile, fixed-line and broadband sectors. From the five states, Mauritius and Mozambique stand out as dynamic and higher performing markets in terms of penetration and 3G/4G developments along with growth rates.
Latest Updates & Industry Developments
Important downward revisions were made to Angola's...
BMI View: In Zimbabwe we expect mobile subscription growth to remain in positive territory throughout our forecast period, driven by increasing price competition and network expansion to previously underserved areas of the country. However, the incidence of multiple SIM ownership will increase as operators vie for market share with aggressive promotions. Additional competition would also have a positive impact on market growth. Both In Zambia advanced mobile data services provide a useful opportunity for the operators to diversify their revenue stream away from traditional voice services. Both Zimbabwe and Zambia's mobile markets set to benefit from tower sharing arrangements, which will enable operators to cut costs and expand to underserved areas, which should consequently boost mobile growth.
BMI View: Zambia's tourism sector is set to experience healthy growth throughout our forecast period to 2020 as improvements to transport infrastructure and the accommodation sector come into effect. Arrivals will increase at an encouraging rate as efforts to promote the country as a holiday destination and improve international transport links attract ever increasing numbers. The limited hotel sector is expanding at a steady pace and the high length of stay and occupancy rates are encouraging further investment.