In the past decade, the Zambian government made an essential move towards privatized and open market economy. This reduced Zambia’s heavy dependence on copper, leading to a growing trend towards non-traditional exports including agro-processing, primary products and textiles.

This trend has transformed the Zambian economy that has seen strong growth in recent years with GDP growth more than 6% in the time period of 2005 to 2013. The GDP composition by sector of origin of Zambia includes agriculture industry that accounts for 19.8% of the GDP, industry for 33.8% and services for 46.5%. Major industries of Zambia include copper mining and processing, construction, emerald mining, beverages, food, textiles, chemicals, fertilizer and horticulture.

The main contributors to overall growth of Zambian industry include manufacturing industry, agriculture industry, transport and communication, construction and wholesale and trade. These industries collectively accounted for more than 70% of gross domestic product. Balance of trade in Zambia averaged ZMW 156.72 million during the time period of 2003 to 2014 reaching an all-time high of 1484 million in 2011 January. In December of 2014, the trade deficit of Zambia was recorded ZMW 81.90 million Zambian Kwacha.

The trade surplus of Zambia is a result of copper exports. The country also exports tobacco, sugar, gemstones and cotton. Zambia is an importer of machinery and fuel. The main trading partner of Zambia is China followed by Congo-Kinshasa and South Africa. Some other trading partners of Zambia include Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Indonesia, japan, Mexico, Russia, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom and India. The Zambian industry hasn’t been affected by the European debt crisis but the economy is vulnerable to slowdown which could ultimately have an impact on exports of Zambia. The agriculture sector in Zambia has been robust in past few years by producing bumper harvest since 2009, with maize and staples leading the produce.

Although agriculture is the main contributor of Zambian growth but it remains affected by inefficient rural infrastructure and droughts. In order to increase the efficiency of infrastructure, the government increased budget allocation for agriculture in 2012 by 6.1% with major part of the funding going to the Farmer Input Support Programme. Other important areas of development in agriculture include livestock, irrigation infrastructure, aquaculture development and fisheries.

Source: 2021