Learn about barriers to market entry and local requirements, i.e., things to be aware of when entering the market for this country.
Last Published: 11/7/2017
  • The Zambian economy is heavily dependent on copper mining and rain-fed agricultural production, which exposes the economy to such external vulnerabilities as changes in global copper prices and seasonal weather patterns.  Zambia has a relatively small domestic market that is spread across a country roughly the size of Texas.  Zambia is a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).

  • Other challenges include: pervasive corruption, complex permit requirements, insufficient energy supply, inadequate law enforcement capacity, a weak court system, unreliable and expensive communication, and low, but growing, internet connectivity.

  • Although hourly wages are low, actual labor costs are considered high for the region — driven up by stringent labor laws and a shortage of skilled labor.

  • Tightening of monetary policy by the Bank of Zambia has been effective in stabilizing the exchange rate but current liquidity conditions have contributed to the persistent under-subscription of treasury bills and bonds.  Commercial lending rates are still very high, between 35 and 45 percent.   

  • Although improvements have been made at key entry points, including the opening of integrated customs services at the Zambia-Zimbabwe border at Chirundu, the DRC-Zambia border at Kasumbalesa, and the Zambia-Tanzania border at Nakonde, the cross-border movement of goods remains slow.  This, combined with high fuel prices, translates into steep transportation costs.

  • Government policies with respect to business and trade change often without prior consultation and are a challenge.  Similarly, market-distorting subsidies in the agricultural sector inhibit the growth of the private enterprise.

Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.

Zambia Trade Development and Promotion