Flag of Zambia

Zambia Economy Profile 2019

Home > Factbook > Countries > Zambia

Economy - overview

Zambia 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. GDP growth picked up in 2017 as mineral prices rose.

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, by market-distorting agricultural and energy policies, and growing government debt. Zambia raised $7 billion from international investors by issuing separate sovereign bonds in 2012, 2014, and 2015. Concurrently, it issued over $4 billion in domestic debt and agreed to Chinese-financed infrastructure projects, significantly increasing the country’s public debt burden to more than 60% of GDP. The government has considered refinancing $3 billion worth of Eurobonds and significant Chinese loans to cut debt servicing costs.

GDP (purchasing power parity)
$68.93 billion (2017 est.)
$66.66 billion (2016 est.)
$64.25 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)
$25.71 billion (2017 est.)
GDP - real growth rate
3.4% (2017 est.)
3.8% (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 saving
38.3% of GDP (2017 est.)
37.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
38.9% of GDP (2015 est.)
GDP - composition, by end use
household consumption: 52.6% (2017 est.)
government consumption: 21% (2017 est.)
investment in fixed capital: 27.1% (2017 est.)
investment in inventories: 1.2% (2017 est.)
exports of goods and services: 43% (2017 est.)
imports of goods and services: -44.9% (2017 est.)
GDP - composition by sector
agriculture: 7.5% (2017 est.)
industry: 35.3% (2017 est.)
services: 57% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line
54.4% (2015 est.)
Labor force
6.898 million (2017 est.)
Labor force - by occupation
agriculture: 54.8%
industry: 9.9%
services: 35.3% (2017 est.)
Unemployment rate
15% (2008 est.)
50% (2000 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24
total: 24%
male: 23.6%
female: 24.4% (2017 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share
lowest 10%: 1.5%
highest 10%: 47.4% (2010)
Distribution of family income - Gini index
57.5 (2013)
50.8 (2004)
Budget
revenues: 4.473 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 6.357 billion (2017 est.)
Taxes and other revenues
17.4% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)
-7.3% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Public debt
63.1% of GDP (2017 est.)
60.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)
6.6% (2017 est.)
17.9% (2016 est.)
Central bank discount rate
9.1% (31 December 2012)
19% (31 December 2011)
Commercial bank prime lending rate
12.5% (31 December 2017 est.)
15.5% (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of narrow money
$1.764 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.582 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of broad money
$1.764 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.582 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of domestic credit
$5.401 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 - products
corn, sorghum, rice, peanuts, sunflower seeds, vegetables, flowers, tobacco, cotton, sugarcane, cassava (manioc, tapioca), coffee; cattle, goats, pigs, poultry, milk, eggs, hides
Industries
copper mining and processing, emerald mining, construction, foodstuffs, beverages, chemicals, textiles, fertilizer, horticulture
Industrial production growth rate
4.7% (2017 est.)
Current Account Balance
-$1.006 billion (2017 est.)
-$934 million (2016 est.)
Exports
$8.216 billion (2017 est.)
$6.514 billion (2016 est.)
Exports - commodities
copper/cobalt, cobalt, electricity; tobacco, flowers, cotton
Exports - partners
Switzerland 44.8%, China 16.1%, Democratic Republic of the Congo 6.2%, Singapore 6%, South Africa 5.9% (2017)
Imports
$7.852 billion (2017 est.)
$6.539 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commodities
machinery, transportation equipment, petroleum products, electricity, fertilizer, foodstuffs, clothing
Imports - partners
South Africa 28.2%, Democratic Republic of the Congo 20.8%, China 12.9%, Kuwait 5.4%, UAE 4.6% (2017)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold
$2.082 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$2.353 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Debt - external
$11.66 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 rates
Zambian 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 year
calendar year

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on December 7, 2019

Economy Comparison