Zambia has historically been one of the most stable countries in Africa, but its economy and democracy are fragile. Inequality is high with over 60% of Zambians (8 million people) living in extreme poverty. Almost half of women and girls experience violence in their lives and 300 people join the labour market every day with few formal job opportunities.

The African Development Bank report that Zambia weathered two years of below-average rainfall in the agriculture seasons of 2015 and 2016. The two dry periods affected the regeneration of key hydropower reservoirs, which lost about 50% of their generation capacity, leading to significant load shedding of up to 12 hours. Combined with low copper prices, economic activity declined to its lowest in more than a decade, reaching 2.9% GDP growth in 2015; it rebounded to 3.4% in 2016. Good rains in 2017 increased agricultural production and ended load shedding. Growth is projected to exceed 4% in the medium term, aided by rising global demand for copper that boosted prices by more than 16% this year.

BERF work in Zambia

BERF has completed one assignment in Zambia, which was a review of the business enabling environment in the Aviation Sector.

BERF Projects in Zambia

  1. Zambia Aviation Sector Business Environment Assessment

World Bank Doing Business

Accounting to the World Bank Doing Business Survey Zambia ranked 85th in 2018, an improvement from 98th in 2017.  It is now ranked only slightly behind South Africa (82nd). It scores well ahead of the regional average of 50.43 for Sub Saharan Africa.  The Distance to Frontier score of 64.5 in 2018 was up nearly four points on the previous year, with significant improvements in getting credit and paying taxes.

DFID Zambia Strategy

Economic development: UK support has created 4,000 jobs and will create a further 23,000 by 2020. DFID will help grow the value of small businesses by £23 million and make Zambia more attractive for investment and trade.

Basic services: The UK is helping improve the nutrition of over 2 million women, babies and children, giving almost half a million more women choice about the size of their family and providing 3 million people with access to better sanitation.

Building stability and institutions: UK diplomatic and development expertise and influence contributes to regional stability by helping Zambians hold their government to account and ensuring it increasingly provides for its people and needs less external aid.