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Mining and quarrying have traditionally contributed the largest proportion of Zambia’s total Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

It accounts for 10% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), over 70% of foreign exchange earnings, 30% of Government revenues, and 8% of formal employment.

Zambia is endowed with various minerals such as copper, cobalt, gold, and various precious stones including amethyst, blue stones, and emeralds.

Zambia has around 6% of the world’s known reserves of copper and is Africa’s second-largest producer of copper with 800,696 tonnes produced in 2021.

Other contributors to the economy are industry, fishing and agriculture.

Zambia’s manufacturing sector accounts for nearly 8% of the country’s GDP and has been consistently growing due to growing investment in the sector.

Currently, the main manufacturing activities in Zambia are the: 1) Food and beverages; 2) Textile and Leather Industries; 3)  Wood and Wood Products; 4) Paper and Paper Products 5) Chemicals, Rubber and Plastic Products 6) Non-metallic mineral products; 7) basic metal products, and 8) Fabricated metal products.

Zambia’s GDP

The World Bank (WB) indicates that the real GDP growth of Zambia was negative in 2020 at -2.8%, reaching USD 18.11 billion versus USD 23.32 billion in 2019 (current prices).

Preliminary data by the Bank of Zambia (BoZ) indicates that nominal GDP at market prices reached USD 21.160 billion in 2021 versus USD 19.384 billion in 2019.

The real GDP growth rate was 3.6% in 2021.

Zambia’s Inflation

Inflation has remained in double digits since mid-2019, reflecting exchange rate and food price pressures.

The average inflation rate for 2021 was 22.1%.

The Zambian Economy Current Outlook

According to WB, Zambia’s GDP growth in the first three quarters of 2021 picked up to 4%, reflecting a recovery in activities across all sectors except mining, which has been beset by Covid-related supply chain disruptions and excessive rainfall.

High copper prices, improved market confidence following the August 2021 elections, and normal rainfall patterns are expected to buoy economic activity in 2022.

Economic activity is expected to gradually pick up, averaging 3.8% over 2022-25. However, risks stemming from prolonged debt negotiations and low Covid-19 vaccination rates will need to be managed.

AfDB projects that Zambia’s GDP will expand by 3.2% and 3.8% in 2022 and 2023.

Last Updated: 21st June 2022