Zambia is on the cusp of a new era. A platform of political stability means the country is ready to unleash its huge economic potential and spread prosperity amongst the population
Home to the inspiring sight that is Victoria Falls, Zambia has now embarked on its Vision 2030, under which the country has set itself the objective of achieving middle-income status by the end of the next decade.
A dip in commodity prices coupled with a drought affecting hydroelectricity in 2015 and 2016 convinced the government led by President Edgar Chagwa Lungu that radical action was required to turn a crisis into an opportunity. Badly performing public sector bodies were reformed, subsidies removed, and greater transparency was introduced into Zambia’s leading industrial sectors.
The country plans to harness its extensive land and water resources to diversify the economy while also boosting its powerful mineral sector, which has received an influx of investment in recent years. Now Zambia has its eyes on overtaking the Democratic Republic of the Congo as the number-one copper producer in Africa, while surging ahead in other minerals, such as emeralds, and continuing promising exploration efforts for oil and gas.
“We are a country on the march to a better and brighter future, and we invite investors to come and be part of this epic journey,” says President Lungu.
Of interest to investors is the way Zambia stands out in sub-Saharan Africa as a beacon of peace and stability. The World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Peace Index saw Zambia ranked equal 41st alongside the UK. Peter Jones, the chairman of Zambia Tourism Agency, believes the country is “is on the cusp of a new era”.
Photo: ZTA Zambia
“Every fifty years there is a big shift. Northern Rhodesia was created in 1911. Fifty years later we became Zambia, and fifty years later we are the first country in Africa to peacefully change presidents three times.”
Zambia’s population is among the world’s fastest growing, with the UN projecting that it will triple by 2050. But a population density that remains lower than Sweden or Chile means this will not make for a lack of space.
And with Zambia’s vast and fertile spaces, agriculture is moving into the economic spotlight, with modernisation promising to help increase land use, enhance productivity and add value to raw products.
Infrastructure is also being modernised to make Zambia, a country bordered by eight others, a regional hub, while diversification plans in energy aim to see the country become a net exporter. In tourism, Zambia’s natural heritage and leading efforts in wildlife conservation mean its potential for growth is exponential, aided by greater global connectivity with Lusaka’s Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, where a new terminal is being built to triple capacity to six million passengers a year.
Boosted ICT under the “Smart Zambia” initiative and a focus on developing industrialisation and finished goods complete a vision aimed at spreading the benefits from the country’s ample natural resources.