Zambia – Country Profile

Zambia – Country Profile

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General Information

Official Name: Republic of Zambia
Capital: Lusaka
Total Area: 752,618 km²
Population: 13,881,336
Currency: Zambian Kwacha
National Holiday: Independence Day, 24 October
Languages: Bemba 30.1% (official), Nyanja 10.7% (official), Tonga 10.6% (official), Lozi 5.7% (official), Chewa 4.9%, Nsenga 3.4%, Tumbuka 2.5%, Lunda 2.2% (official), Kaonde 2% (official), Lala 2%, Luvale 1.7% (official), English 1.7% (official)[/ImageInfoWidget]

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Political Information

Type of State: Republic
Head of State:
Michael Sata (since September 2011)
Head of Government: Michael Sata
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Economic Information

Note: 2010 data in US dollars unless otherwise indicated

Political and Economic Stability

Zambian politics are shaped by the country’s history as a one-party state under the socialist rule of former President Kenneth Kaunda (1972-1991), the drastic reform period during Frederick Chiluba’s rule (1991-2001) and more recently the 2011 elections which ended twenty years of the Movement for Multi Party Democracy (MMD) rule.

On September 20, 2011, Zambia set a record in the southern Africa region by conducting peaceful and credible elections that brought to power an opposition party for the second time since independence in 1964. President Michael Sata has already made a mark on policy and legislation. Key elements of his election platform included a renewed crackdown on corruption and an insistence that economic activity, particularly in the all-important mining sector, provide sufficient benefits to Zambians.

Zambia’s economy has experienced strong growth in recent years, with real GDP growth in 2005-10 more than 6% per year. In 2005, Zambia qualified for debt relief under the Highly Indebted Poor Country Initiative, consisting of approximately US$6 billion in debt relief. Poverty remains a significant problem in Zambia, despite a stronger economy.

Zambia’s dependency on copper makes it vulnerable to depressed commodity prices, but record high copper prices and a bumper maize crop in 2010 helped Zambia rebound quickly from the world economic slowdown that began in 2008.
A high birth rate, relatively high HIV/AIDS burden, and market distorting agricultural policies have meant that Zambia’s economic growth has not dramatically decreased the stubbornly high poverty rates.

In terms of security, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) recommends that Canadians exercise a high degree of caution when traveling in Zambia.  There are no official warnings for travelling in Zambia. Please refer to the DFAIT Travel Report for Zambia:

Trade Information

Data from ITC Trade Map, 2009
Data from Industry Canada – Trade Data Online, 2010

The World Bank’s annual Doing Business report ranks economies from 1 to 183 (with 1 being the best) on their ease of doing business. In the 2010 report, Zambia ranked 76th overall and 150th in terms of “trade across borders.’

Although there are many reputable exporters in Zambia, Canadian importers should be aware that corruption can be an issue when doing business. Zambia ranked 101st out of 178 in Transparency International’s 2010 Corruption Perceptions Index where 1st place indicates least corrupt. Canadian companies are advised to exercise due diligence before engaging with a Zambian company to ensure that it is a bona fide, reputable entity. It is suggested that Canadian importers commission a report by a credit information provider to verify the financial strength of the partner.

Trade Opportunities

Zambia export plays an important role in the economy of the country. The primary product of Zambia export is copper and accounts for 50% of the total exports. Other main major exportable commodities include: cobalt, electricity and tobacco. There are also many important importable commodities for the country, including petroleum products, electricity, fertilizer, and machines and transportation equipment.

Zambia’s most important trade partners are Switzerland, South Africa China and Democratic Republic of Congo.

Canada-Zambia economic and trade relations are characterized by trade of high value-added products, good performance of trade in the services sector, and an expanded partnership in the natural resources sector. Zambia’s exports to Canada have not been affected by the global financial crisis and since 2007; imports from Zambia have showed steady increases.

Zambia’s vast expanses of rich undeveloped land with free-flowing and easily accessible fresh water provide extensive potential for agriculture production of cut flowers, wheat, cotton, soybeans, tobacco and sugar; poultry; fisheries; leather and leather products; and agro-processing and ranching (livestock). There are significant opportunities for Canadian importers who wish to explore business opportunities in this agro-food sector.

TFO Export Offers

TFO Canada provides an information service for Canadian importers interested in sourcing products from developing and emerging economies such as Zambia.  This includes practical advice on sourcing from developing country exporters, a customized news bulletin, and a searchable database for sourcing new products or suppliers. The chart below provides a rough idea of the number of Zambian supplier profiles available in the TFO Canada database.  To access supplier profiles and their contact information, please visit the TFO Canada supplier database online.

Upcoming Trade Shows

Zambia International Trade Fair
June 27th to July 3rd, 2012

Contact Information

High Commission of the Republic of Zambia in Canada
151 Slater Street, Suite 205
Ottawa, ON
Canada    K1P 5H3
FAX: 613-232-4410

Zambia Development Agency

Useful Links

Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry –
Zambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry –
Zambia Chamber of Small and Medium Business Associations –

Links to Cited Documents

US department of States – Background note: Zambia –
Canada – Zambia relations –
High Commission of the Republic of Zambia in Canada –
CIA World Factbook –
EDC Country Information – Zambia –
Economy Watch: Zambia Trade
Industry Canada, Trade Data Online –
International Trade Centre, Trade Map –
Trade Shows in Zambia