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.

Country Risk

Zambia Country Risk

BMI View:

Core Views:

  • 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.

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Zambia Operational Risk Coverage (9)

Zambia Operational Risk

BMI View:

BMI View: Overall, foreign investors will face few 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 unfavourable global conditions, corruption and an underdeveloped judiciary. Hence, Zambia scores 52.7 out of 100, ranking the country 5th...

Zambia Crime & Security

BMI View:

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

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. On the positive side, it is reasonably easy to bring in more highly skilled workers from abroad, which should reduce the need to recruit low-skilled Zambian labour. What's more, although we consider the quality and availability of education in Zambia to be poor by global standards, the country performs more moderately on a regional scale. Overall, Zambia scores lowly in the BMI Labour Market Risks Index, with 34.2 out of 100.

The lack of basic skills in the Zambian workforce is a primary labour market risk for investors in Zambia. Primary enrolment rates are rising, but dropout rates are high, which means the...

Zambia Logistics

BMI View:

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 however, 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 terms 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 the transport network, which have a key bearing on logistics risk in Zambia. However, falling copper global...

Zambia Trade & Investment

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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 (22)


Zambia Agribusiness

BMI View:

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-...

Zambia Agribusiness

BMI View:

BMI View: Beyond the current El Nino-related drought, 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 south-west 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 ...


Zambia Autos

BMI View:

BMI View: A struggling economy and downbeat outlook for the Zambian consumer will continue to negatively impact the autos market, which will see another year of contraction in vehicle sales in 2016.

Struggling Economy To Keep Vehicle Sales Down
Vehicle Sales
e/f = BMI estimate/forecast . Source: Ministry of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication, BMI

Key Views

  • Vehicle sales will contract by 5.2% in 2016.

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Commercial Banking

Zambia Commercial Banking

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Commercial Banking Sector Indicators
Date Total assets Client loans Bond portfolio Other Liabilities and capital Capital Client deposits

Food & Drink

Zambia Food & Drink

BMI View:

BMI View: Zambia's high inflation will restrict consumer spending, with growth largely supported by spending on essential products. The alcohol industry will experience a gradual decline in consumption on the back of a high excise duty, while the food industry continues to be depressed by ongoing drought conditions and rising food prices. The MGR sector will offer longer-term growth opportunities as regional food retailers increase their investment on the basis of economic recovery post 2017.

Food And Drink Spending


Zambia Infrastructure

BMI View:

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....


Zambia Insurance

BMI View:

BMI View: Zambia's insurance industry is still in the early stages of development, particularly when compared to established regional markets such as South Africa. Growth has been held back by low average household income rates, which limits the affordability of, and demand for, a range of essential and non-essential life and non-life products. As such, the market is dominated by basic motor and property lines, with little coverage in terms of traditional life products or retirement plans. Both life and non-life premiums written are due to increase over the forecast period, between 2016 and 2020, though we note that high rates of inflation and the depreciating kwacha will result in large differences in growth rates when measured in local currency terms...


Zambia Metals

BMI View:

BMI View: We have increased our 2016 tin price forecast to USD16,500/tonne owing to a stabilisation in the Chinese economy over Q116 that has boosted all industrial metal prices significantly over January-April. While we expect consolidation over the remainder of 2016, tin prices will continue to recover beyond 2016 as the global market posts sustained market deficits and inventories dwindle.

Global - Tin Supply, Demand & Price Forecasts
2014 2015e 2016f ...

Zambia Metals

BMI View:

BMI view: We have revised our aluminium price forecast from USD1,575/tonne to USD1,600/tonne in 2016, as the tightening market provided an earlier than expected floor in Q116. Aluminium prices will gradually edge higher as the global market moves into a deficit by 2018.

Global - Aluminium Supply, Demand & Price Forecasts
2014 2015e 2016f 2017f

Zambia Metals

BMI View:

BMI View: Despite the strong H116 iron ore price rally, prices will edge lower due to weakening Chinese consumption over the latter half of 2016. From 2017 onwards, iron ore prices will remain subdued as iron ore prices remain under pressure from an over-supplied seaborne market, driven by strong production growth in Australia and Brazil, and weak consumption growth in China.

Global - Iron Ore Production Forecasts
2013 2014 2015e 2016f

Zambia Metals

BMI View:

BMI View: Nickel prices will bottom in 2016 as weak production drags the global market into deficit. For instance, we expect Chinese imports of nickel to grow over the coming quarters. Prices will begin 2016 weaker than we had previously expected and we have thus revised down our 2016 average price forecast to USD9,000/tonne from USD10,500/tonne.

Global Nickel Forecasts
2013 2014 2015e

Zambia Metals

BMI View:

BMI View: We have revised down our average copper price forecast for 2016 to USD4,900/tonne. We expect prices to find a floor over the first half of 2016, and begin to stabilise thereafter, supported by production cuts and modest consumption growth.

Global - Copper Supply, Demand & Price Forecasts
2014 2015e 2016f 2017f 2018f ...

Zambia Metals

BMI View:

BMI View: We have raised our gold price forecast for 2016 to USD1,275/oz and have a new five-year price target of USD1,400/oz. We have turned more positive towards prices due to rising inflation pressures and our view that real rates will remain depressed in developed markets beyond 2016. A modest rise in prices will be insufficient to reverse the trend of weak mine investment and industry consolidation.

BMI Gold Forecasts
2014 2015 2016f ...

Zambia Metals

BMI View:

BMI View: Global steel prices will remain subdued due to a persistent steel oversupply over the coming quarters. From 2017 onwards, steel prices will gradually edge higher as the global steel surplus will narrow due to Chinese supply moderation.

Steel Price Forecast
2014 2015 2016f 2017f 2018f 2019f...

Zambia Metals

BMI View:

BMI View: We maintain our average zinc price forecast for 2016 of USD1,750/tonne. We expect zinc prices to reach a floor over the first half of 2016, and begin to stabilise thereafter, as production cuts shift the market to a deficit.

Global - Zinc Supply, Demand & Price Forecasts
2014 2015e 2016f 2017f 2018f

Zambia Metals

BMI View:

BMI View: Lead prices will gradually edge higher as the global lead market will shift into deficit by 2017 as production growth will slow over the coming years.

BMI Lead Price Forecast
Current* 2016f 2017f 2018f 2019f 2020f


Zambia Mining

BMI View:

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.

Zambia Mining Industry Value Forecast (2014-2019)
2014e 2015f ...

Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare

Zambia Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare

BMI View:

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.

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Zambia Power

BMI View:

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.

Headline Power Forecasts (Zambia 2014-2020)
2014e 2015f 2016f 2017f ...


Zambia Telecommunications

BMI View:

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...

Zambia Telecommunications

BMI View:

BMI View: Zimbabwe's market is due to undergo some significant changes in the near future, with the government having acquired a controlling stake in the underperforming operator Telecel. To the upside, however, there are reports on a MNVO operator potentially entering the market in March 2016, which would add competition. Both Zimbabwean and Zambian mobile markets are 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.

Latest Updates & Industry...


Zambia Tourism

BMI View:

BMI View: The outlook for Zambia's nascent tourism market is currently very positive. Arrivals are expected to increase rapidly throughout the five-year forecast period to 2020 as the country improves its international transport connections and as it gradually raises awareness of its many attractions, including the popular Victoria Falls and a growing safari holiday sector. Challenges remain in the form of an underdeveloped domestic transport network and limited hotel sector, which could deter some visitors, and Zambia faces significant competition from more established regional destinations such as Kenya and South Africa.

Key Forecasts (Zambia 2013-2020)

Latest Zambia Articles

  • With global growth continuing to stutter amid unconvincing growth performan...

  • Many frontier markets are experiencing severe pressure in their fiscal and ...

  • We have upgraded our oil price forecast this month with markets having pric...

Latest Zambia Blogs

  • Below is a selection of key financial market stories published in Business ...

  • We suggested in mid-June that short-term interest rate futures had gotten a...

  • The buzz around East African geothermal energy has been increasing in recen...

Latest Zambia Podcasts

  • Huge media attention and investment has made Sub-Saharan Africa's tele...

  • Africa's telecommunications sector has grown by leaps and bounds in re...

  • Despite another tough year for the global mining sector, BMI expects p...


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