According to the CIA World Factbook, in 2013, agriculture accounted for 19.8% of Zambia’s GDP, while industry accounted for 33.8% and services for 46.5%.
In August 2014, the annual inflation rate was of 8%.
Zambia being one of the largest copper producers in Africa, its economy remains dependent on copper, which accounted for 74.60 % of the country’s total exports (including raw copper, refined copper, and copper wire).
However, the agriculture sector is the major employer (70% of the population) and has been growing in the past few years, with Zambian companies such as Zambeef Products PLC (ZAMBEEF:LUSE) expanding in Africa.
The local currency is the Zambian Kwatcha (ZMW, formerly ZMK), which was rebased by the Bank of Zambia on January 1st 2013.
As of September 23rd 2014, USD 1 equalled ZMW 5194,81.
The Liberalization of The Zambian Economy
Since its independence in 1964, Zambia has experienced a rare political stability in Africa, with no war, conflict or political turmoil to report.
However the country took a three decades-long socialist turn, nationalizing its economy.
Since its return to multiparty politics and a liberal economy in 1991, Zambia has experienced steady economic growth, especially in the last decade.
According to the World Bank, a combination of prudent macroeconomic management, market liberalization policies, and steep increase in copper prices helped drive investments in the copper industry and related infrastructure to achieve an average annual growth of about 6.4% during the last decade.
The Zambian Economy Current Outlook
In its annual 2014 Doing Business ranking, the WB ranked Zambia as the 83rd best country in the world to do business, compared to 90th in 2013.
According to the World Economic Forum’s 2014-2015 “The Global Competitiveness”, Zambia is the 8th most competitive economy in Sub-Saharan Africa, out of 33 economies analysed.
The same report ranked Zambia as the 96th most competitive economy in the world out of a total of 144 countries.
In September 2014, the the London-based rating agency Fitch Ratings revised its outlook on Zambia’s Long-term foreign and local currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDR) from « Stable » to « Positive » and affirmed the IDR’s at ‘B’.
The agency, while explaining its upgrade of Zambia’s ratings, mentioned the country’s good management of public finances (public deficit targets having been surpassed), continued efficient government policies allowing a good business environment, as well as a « robust » 6-7% growth forecast for 2014-2016, due to « government’s ambitious infrastructure investment programme, rising copper production and continued foreign direct investment (FDI) ».