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:

  • The Zambian economy will record another year of slow growth in 2016, as the currency collapse seen in 2015 following falling copper prices has diminished the production incentive for import dependent producers. The government's plans to boost spending will offer little support.

  • The collapse of the Zambian currency and subsequent rise in inflation will force the Bank of Zambia's Monetary Policy Committee to raise the key policy rate at their next meeting. However, a rate hike will do little to stabilise the currency and stem inflation without direct intervention in the currency market.

  • Zambia's budget deficit will see a marginal improvement in 2016 as the government makes efforts to improve domestic revenue collection. While this marks an upward revision to our expectations for the country's budget...

Zambia Operational Risk Coverage (9)

Zambia Operational Risk

BMI View:

BMI View: Rising inflows of foreign direct investment 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, with capital outflows 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 & Investment Market Risks Index, with a score of 51.0 out of 100,...

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

BMI View:

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 (12)

Agribusiness

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-...

Autos

Zambia Autos

BMI View:

Tough Road Ahead For Vehicle Sales
Vehicle Sales
Source: Renault, BMI

Key Views

Key Views
* Vehicle sales will contract by 5% in 2016
Source: BMI
* A weak currency and high inflationary environment will dampen vehicle sales
* High interest rates will make vehicle financing more...

Commercial Banking

Zambia Commercial Banking

BMI View:

...
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: We have a modest outlook on growth in Zambia's food and drink industry as the country's economic conditions are weakening. High inflation rates will constraint consumer spending, and maize imports will further increase food prices. Growth in the non-alcoholic drinks industry will be lead primarily by essential spending. We expect the mass grocery retail sector to be the fastest-growing sector, with increasing investment from regional players.

Food and Drink...

Infrastructure

Zambia Infrastructure

BMI View:

BMI View: Falling back from unsustainable levels of public investment, the construction sector will moderate from double-digit growth to a slower, but still healthy, pattern over our 10-year forecast period to 2024. This will be largely driven by continued investment in transport and energy projects. However, an uncertain environment for the crucial mining sector will pose a downside risk and lead to lower capital expenditure.

Latest Updates

  • Cutbacks in Zambia's crucial mining sector have caused us to revise down our forecasts for 2015 and 2016 from 15.16% real growth to 10.1% and from 10.5% to 6.5% respectively.

  • Overspending and falling...

Insurance

Zambia Insurance

BMI View:

BMI View: Although there is some evidence that Zambia's insurers have been able to increase premiums in order to recognise the recent surge in inflation, neither the life nor the non-life segment has been growing in real terms. The main constraint on the growth of both major segments, which are embryonic levels of development, are the low levels of household incomes. Zambians cannot afford insurance even if they do understand it. The growth of property and motor vehicle insurance premiums is being hampered by downwards pressure on prices - even though volumes may be growing.

Headline Insurance Forecasts (Zambia 2013-2020)
2013 2014e ...

Mining

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.

  • ...

Power

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 ...

Telecommunications

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 acquiring a controlling stake in the underperforming operator Telecel. To the upside, however, there are reports on a fourth operator potentially entering the market, 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 Developments

  • Zambia's mobile market grew by 22.0% y-o-y in Q215, making a strong recovery from the SIM registration process in 2013, and...

Tourism

Zambia Tourism

BMI View:

BMI View: Zambia's tourism industry has many natural resources, such as Victoria Falls, which have helped to provide the country with a strong 2015. 2016 is expected to be even stronger as the industry becomes more cohesive in attracting investment and improving marketing strategies. Over the forecast period there will be a strong increase in the number of visitors coming into the country, particularly from neighbouring countries. The reintroduction of a national airline is likely to boost connectivity from 2016 onwards. While the hotel network is underdeveloped, there are opportunities to expand ...

Latest Zambia Articles

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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