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Zambia Economy Profile 2018

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Economy - overviewZambia had one of the world’s fastest growing economies for the ten years up to 2014, with real GDP growth averaging roughly 6.7% per annum, though growth slowed during the period 2015 to 2017, due to falling copper prices, reduced power generation, and depreciation of the kwacha. Zambia’s lack of economic diversification and dependency on copper as its sole major export makes it vulnerable to fluctuations in the world commodities market and prices turned downward in 2015 due to declining demand from China; Zambia was overtaken by the Democratic Republic of Congo as Africa’s largest copper producer.

Despite recent strong economic growth and its status as a lower middle-income country, widespread and extreme rural poverty and high unemployment levels remain significant problems, made worse by a high birth rate, a relatively high HIV/AIDS burden, and by market-distorting agricultural and energy policies. Zambia has raised $7 billion from international investors by issuing separate sovereign bonds in 2012, 2014, and 2015, significantly increasing the country’s public debt burden to 56% of GDP; the government plan refinanced $2.8 billion worth of Eurobonds in 2017 to cut debt servicing costs.

Poor management of water resources has also contributed to a power generation shortage, which has hampered industrial productivity and contributed to an increase in year-on-year inflation to more than 20% in 2016. Zambia’s currency, the kwacha, also depreciated sharply against the dollar through 2016, leading the central bank to restrict lending. Rampant spending in recent years has increased the fiscal deficit to over 8% in 2017 and may encourage the government to seek external financing from the IMF to fund the shortfall.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$68.9 billion (2017 est.)
$66.27 billion (2016 est.)
$64.08 billion (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$25.58 billion (2016 est.)
GDP - real growth rate4% (2017 est.)
3.4% (2016 est.)
2.9% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$4,000 (2017 est.)
$4,000 (2016 est.)
$4,000 (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
Gross national saving38.3% of GDP (2017 est.)
37.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
38.9% of GDP (2015 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 53.8%
government consumption: 21.2%
investment in fixed capital: 27.8%
investment in inventories: 1.2%
exports of goods and services: 45.3%
imports of goods and services: -49.2% (2017 est.)
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 5.4%
industry: 35.6%
services: 59% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line60.5% (2010 est.)
Labor force6.898 million (2017 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 85%
industry: 6%
services: 9% (2004)
Unemployment rate15% (2008 est.)
50% (2000 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24total: 15.2%
male: 14.6%
female: 15.8% (2012 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 1.5%
highest 10%: 47.4% (2010)
Distribution of family income - Gini index57.5 (2013)
50.8 (2004)
Budgetrevenues: $4.895 billion
expenditures: $7.05 billion (2017 est.)
Taxes and other revenues19.1% of GDP (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-8.4% of GDP (2017 est.)
Public debt62.8% of GDP (2017 est.)
58.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)6.8% (2017 est.)
17.9% (2016 est.)
Central bank discount rate9.1% (31 December 2012)
19% (31 December 2011)
Commercial bank prime lending rate15.5% (31 December 2017 est.)
15.5% (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of narrow money$1.816 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.582 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of broad money$4.904 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$4.145 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$5.207 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$4.167 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$3.004 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
$4.009 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$2.817 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
Agriculture - productscorn, sorghum, rice, peanuts, sunflower seeds, vegetables, flowers, tobacco, cotton, sugarcane, cassava (manioc, tapioca), coffee; cattle, goats, pigs, poultry, milk, eggs, hides
Industriescopper mining and processing, emerald mining, construction, foodstuffs, beverages, chemicals, textiles, fertilizer, horticulture
Industrial production growth rate5.1% (2017 est.)
Current Account Balance-$918 million (2017 est.)
-$934 million (2016 est.)
Exports$8.106 billion (2017 est.)
$6.514 billion (2016 est.)
Exports - commoditiescopper/cobalt, cobalt, electricity; tobacco, flowers, cotton
Exports - partnersSwitzerland 39.4%, China 18%, Democratic Republic of the Congo 6.7%, South Africa 6.4%, UAE 6%, Singapore 5.6% (2016)
Imports$7.336 billion (2017 est.)
$6.539 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commoditiesmachinery, transportation equipment, petroleum products, electricity, fertilizer, foodstuffs, clothing
Imports - partnersSouth Africa 31.2%, Democratic Republic of the Congo 12.3%, Kuwait 8.1%, China 7.6%, Mauritius 4.4%, UAE 4.2%, India 4% (2016)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$2.426 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$2.353 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Debt - external$10.79 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$9.562 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$NA
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$NA
Exchange ratesZambian kwacha (ZMK) per US dollar -
9.2 (2017 est.)
10.3 (2016 est.)
10.3 (2015 est.)
8.6 (2014 est.)
6.2 (2013 est.)
Fiscal yearcalendar year

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on January 20, 2018

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