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Country Highlights

Zambia: Opportunities and Challenges for Foreign Investment

Zambia offers attractive opportunities for foreign investors in- mining, agriculture, manufacturing, infrastructure, tourism and financial services. Its stable democracy, skilled English-speaking workforce and access to regional markets are advantages. Copper driven growth and rising consumer class promise good returns.

However—significant challenges undermine Zambia’s investment competitiveness. Policy inconsistency, taxes, utility costs and corruption drive up costs and risks for investors. Poor road, rail and border infrastructure hamper trade logistics and regional connectivity. Skills gaps reduce productivity, especially in mining where outdated methods persist.

The government in Zambia is slowly reforming to attract investors. It aims to improve the ease of doing business by cutting red tape and wait times for permits, utilities, etc. Special economic zones offer tax breaks while reforms make tax and regulatory policies more transparent.

Zambia’s temperate climate and abundant water resources position it as a potential breadbasket for Africa, offering opportunities for small, mid, and large-scale farming operations. Investments in improved agronomic practices, mechanization, and value addition can enhance agricultural productivity and facilitate access to regional markets. With a growing demand for electricity, investment opportunities exist in electricity generation, renewable energies, and upstream/downstream petroleum sectors. The development of renewable energy options presents significant growth potential in Zambia’s energy sector.

Development of transport networks, power plants and digital infrastructure are underway through public-private partnerships. With improved infrastructure and human capital, Zambia can better integrate into global value chains and enable growth beyond copper mining.

China has become a major investor in Zambia and is seen financing infrastructure projects in return for access to copper and cobalt resources. But an opaque and onerous tax regime applied to mining firms like Vedanta and Glencore has deterred Western investors. With transparent, predictable policies that balance fiscal needs with fair returns for investors— Zambia can still attract broad sources of foreign capital to develop industries like- gemstones, agriculture and tourism.

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Featured Reports

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