Executive Summary

Located in the Southern Africa sub-region, Zambia is a landlocked country with a population of 16.5 million people and a per capita GDP of USD 1,484. Zambia is recovering from an economic crisis in 2015-2016 brought on by a significant dip in copper prices, electricity shortages from the mismanagement of the hydroelectric generation facilities, and weak local currency. In 2017, the economy recovered slightly following an increase in the price of copper, a bumper maize harvest, improved electricity generation, and an easing of monetary policy. Economic growth remains subdued at 3.8 percent in 2017 and a forecast of 4.1 percent in 2018 and 4.5 percent in 2019 (World Bank’s latest available data) because of weak performance in the services, mining, and construction sectors.

The World Bank estimates the country’s debt at 60 percent of GDP, and there are credible reports it could be much higher. Since 2011, the government has used public finances to incentivize the private sector to stimulate industrialization by improving infrastructure. Institutional shortcomings that include inefficient legal and regulatory frameworks, weak protection of property rights, and corruption minimize the impact of government efforts. Budget execution by the Government of the Republic of Zambia (GRZ) historically has been poor, with documented evidence of significant extra-budgetary spending. The IMF has delayed a much-anticipated USD 1.3 billion loan deal due to large-scale borrowing and lack of clarity on fiscal policies by the government. These challenges will constrain businesses looking to partner with the government on new projects.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) into Zambia to support structural transformation that can lead to export-quality products remains low. FDI into the country in this sector eroded from 9.4 percent in 2007 to 2.2 percent in 2016 of overall FDI. Large mining investments from Canada, Australia, UK, China, and the United States, in addition to large infrastructure and other projects performed almost entirely by Chinese companies, continue to dominate FDI flows.

The legal environment is generally conducive to U.S. investors although there is a relatively small commercial presence of U.S. companies in Zambia. Agriculture and mining continue to be the headlining sectors of Zambia’s economy and, while U.S. companies continue to incrementally grow their presence in the agricultural sector, new, large-scale agricultural investments remain elusive. Despite these challenges, interest from U.S. firms in new projects remains high, and could translate into growth in economic sectors beyond mining, such as tourism, power generation, and agriculture, particularly if the government continues with its plan to reduce or eliminate market-distorting subsidies.

While the GRZ has made some improvements to the business environment over the past decade, cumbersome administrative procedures, unpredictability of legal and regulatory changes, the high cost of doing business due to poor infrastructure, the high cost of finance, inadequate human resources, and the lack of reliable electricity and internet service remain concerns.

Table 1

Measure Year Index/Rank Website Address
TI Corruption Perceptions Index 2017 96 of 180 http://www.transparency.org/
World Bank’s Doing Business Report “Ease of Doing Business” 2017 85 of 190 http://www.doing
Global Innovation Index 2017 124 of 127 https://www.globalinnovation
U.S. FDI in Partner Country (M USD, stock positions) 2016 USD 68 http://www.bea.gov/
World Bank GNI per capita 2016 USD 1,360 http://data.worldbank.org/

Policies Toward Foreign Direct Investment

In general, Zambian law does not restrict foreign investors in any sector of the economy, although there are a few regulations and practices limiting foreign control laid out below. The country has affirmed its commitment to fostering private sector development and attracting FDI. FDI, which is monitored by the government, continues to play an increasing role in Zambia’s economy, contributing to increased capital inflows and overall investment. FDI is implemented through the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA), which is responsible for fostering economic growth and development in Zambia through promoting trade and investment and an efficient, effective, and coordinated private sector-led economic development strategy.

Zambia has undertaken institutional reforms aimed at improving the attractiveness of the country to investors specifically through the Private Sector Development Reform Program (PSDRP), which addresses issues related to cost of doing business through legislation and institutional reforms, and the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) which addresses some issues relating to transparency and good governance. However, frequent government announcements such as plans to evaluate tax and royalty increases on mines, limit private sector land leases, or limit certain crop exports create uncertainty for foreign investors.

Limits on Foreign Control and Right to Private Ownership and Establishment

The ZDA Act does not discriminate against foreign investors, and all sectors are open to both local and foreign investors. Foreign and domestic private entities have a right to establish and own business enterprises and engage in all forms of remunerative activities, and no business ventures are reserved solely for the government. Although private entities may freely establish and dispose of interests in business enterprises, investment board approval is required to transfer an investment license for a given enterprise to a new owner.

Currently all land in Zambia is state land and the ownership is vested in the president; there is no private land in the country. Titles of land owned by foreigners are for 99 year state leases and ownership is not conferred. Different government officials have proposed for several years, without implementation, modifying state leases that are foreign-owned to reduce the lease tenure from 99 years to 25 years. The government began reviewing the current land law in March 2017. The new draft asserts more central government control over traditional lands. Both traditional chiefs and foreign investors have rejected the proposal, and it is unclear if the change will gain traction in parliament.

Another example of limit on foreign control is the governmental requirement that all internationally licensed firms operating a domestic cellular telephone network offer ten percent of shares on the Lusaka Stock Exchange prior to entering the market. Telecom investors are required to disclose certain proprietary information to the ZDA as part of the regulatory approval process. Further information regarding information and communication regulation can be found at the website of the Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority at: http://www.zicta.zm .

The ZDA board screens all investment proposals and usually makes its decision within 30 days. The reviews appear routine and non-discriminatory and applicants have the right to appeal the investment board decisions. An investment application is subjected to a screening mechanism to determine: the extent to which the proposed investment will help create employment; the development of human resources; the degree to which the project is export oriented; the impact the proposed investment is likely to have on the environment and, where necessary, proposed environmental mitigation activities in accordance with the Environmental Protection and Pollution Control Act; the possible technology transfer; and any other considerations the Board considers appropriate.

The following are the requirements for registering a foreign company in Zambia:

  1. At least one and not more than nine local directors must be appointed as directors of a foreign company. At least one local director of the company must be resident in Zambia, and if the company has more than two local directors, more than half of them shall be residents of Zambia.
  2. There must be at least one documentary agent (a firm, corporate body registered in Zambia or an individual who is a resident in Zambia).
  3. A certified copy of the Certificate of Incorporation from the country of origin must be attached to Form 46.
  4. The charter, statutes, regulations, memorandum and articles, or other instrument relating to a foreign company must be submitted.
  5. The Registration Fee of K4,166 (about USD 425.00) must be paid.
  6. The issuance and sealing of the Certificate of Registration marks the end of the process for registration.

This information can also be found at the web address of the Patents and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA). http://www.pacra.org.zm 

Other Investment Policy Reviews

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) last conducted an investment policy review in 2012, the first review conducted in sub-Saharan Africa on the basis of the OECD Policy Framework for Investment. The OECD review made the following recommendations regarding Zambia’s investment environment: 1) develop a harmonized national investment policy; 2) take better advantage of the investment promotion and facilitation options available; 3) undertake a cost-benefit analysis with regard to fiscal incentives; 4) improve the consultative mechanisms for policy development; 5) strengthen the framework for Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs); 6) strengthen the oversight and enforcement mechanisms of the regulatory framework; and 7) develop mechanisms to channel industry demands for human resource development.

Following the review, the government began an ongoing process to consider new investment reforms, including development of a harmonized investment policy and a review of its tax incentive system and framework for PPPs. In 2016, the government, under the leadership of the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry, adopted an industrial policy to support and accelerate industrialization in Zambia. The policy addressed issues of productive capacity for enterprises to promote the production and consumption of local content. Zambia is also committed to drawing up an inclusive Green Growth Strategy, which is inclusive development that makes sustainable and equitable use of Zambia’s natural resources within ecological limits.

Report found here: http://www.oecd.org/daf/inv/investment-policy/zambia-investmentpolicyreview-oecd.htm 

The GRZ conducted a trade policy review through the World Trade Organization (WTO) in June 2016. The report found that Zambia, a least developed country, recorded relatively strong economic growth at an average rate of 6.6 percent per year up to 2015. (According to the World Bank’s classification, it became a lower-middle income country in 2012 with a GNI per capita of USD 1,680.) This improvement was mainly attributed to growing demand for copper (the main export product) and its spillover effects on some other sectors such as transport, communications, and wholesale and retail trade. Buoyant construction activity and higher agricultural production also helped.

The trade policy review report of 2016 reached the following conclusions: the government will continue to implement programs and initiatives directed at attaining inclusive growth and job creation and pay particular attention to macroeconomic stability, diversification of the economy, support to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), engagement with cooperating partners, and promotion of investment. Zambia is committed to continue to use bilateral, regional, and multilateral frameworks to support the growth and development of the economy.

Report found here: https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/tpr_e/tp440_e.htm 

Business Facilitation

The Zambian government, often with support of cooperating partners, has undertaken economic reforms to improve its business facilitation process and attract foreign investors, including steps to support transparent policymaking and to encourage competition. The impact of these progressive policies, however, has been undermined by persistent fiscal deficits and widespread corruption. Business surveys generally indicate that corruption in Zambia is a major obstacle for conducting business in the country. Given these reasons, companies prefer using a specialized public procurement due diligence tool in order to help mitigate the costs and risks of corruption involving public procurement processes in Zambia.

The Zambian Business Regulatory Review Agency (BRRA) has responsibility for Regulatory Services Centers (RSCs) that serve as a one-stop shop for investors. RSCs provide for an efficient regulatory clearance system by streamlining business registration processes; providing single licensing system; reducing the procedures and time it takes to complete the registration process; and increasing accessibility of business registration institutions by placing them under one roof.

An investor only contacts one entity to obtain all the necessary paperwork in one streamlined and coordinated process. This means investors, both local and foreign, are provided with incentives such as centralized organizations that attend to their needs comprehensively, without them having to move from one stakeholder agency to another. The government has plans to establish RSCs in each of the 10 provinces, with 4 already established in Lusaka, Livingstone, Kitwe, and Chipata. Information about the RSCs can be found at the following links: http://www.brra.org.zm/index.php/656-2/  and http://www.brra.org.zm/index.php/single-licensing-system-2/ 

Outward Investment

Through ZDA, the government continues to undertake a number of activities to promote investment through provision of fiscal and non-fiscal incentives, establishment of Multi-Facility Economic Zones (MFEZs), the development of SMEs, as well as the promotion of skills development, productive investment, and increased trade. However, there is no incentive for outward investment nor is there any known government restriction on domestic investors from investing abroad.

Zambia has signed Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) with thirteen countries (six in force and seven not yet in force). The six countries with BITs in force with Zambia are: France, Germany, Italy, Mauritius, Netherlands, and Switzerland. Zambia has signed bilateral reciprocal promotional and protection of investment protocols with most of the member states of both the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

Zambia has a BIT and a Bilateral Taxation Treaty with the United States, under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) program. In November 2001, COMESA signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement with the United States. On October 2, 2000, Zambia became a beneficiary of AGOA and was again found eligible for continuous benefits under AGOA in February 2018. Zambia initiated market access through the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) interim Economic Partnership Agreement (IEPA) with the European Union on September 30, 2008. In completing these negotiations, the provisions of the trade in goods chapter and related annexes of the ESA IEPA now apply to Zambia. Zambia has signed protective agreements with Chinese, Nigerian, Libyan, and Indian investors.

In 2016, the government proposed an amendment to the Mines and Minerals Development Act of 2015 as part of its 2017 budget that included removal of the nine percent royalty on copper and the variable profit tax. It replaced those with a price-based royalty. The Zambian Chambers of Mines says that despite these changes, Zambia’s overall effective mining tax rate remains among the highest in the world.

Transparency of the Regulatory System

The GRZ has made strides, in principle, toward introducing transparent policies to foster competition, although complaints arise from time to time. The unpredictability of import and export bans on commodities, especially on maize (corn) and other grains, is a deterrent to private sector participation in commodity markets. There are no informal regulatory processes managed by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) or private sector associations that discriminate against foreign investors. The government continues to use the Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) as part of its policy and legislative making process. The introduction of the RIA in 2015 was a welcome move with the expectation of improving the decision making process, creating a platform for public-private dialogue and healthy debate on economic development laws and policies, and ultimately improving the quality of regulation. Under the Business Regulatory Act No. 3 of 2014, the law requires that regulators consider alternatives to proposed regulations and these are part of consultations and the RIA Report.

Proposed laws and other statutory instruments are usually not vetted with interest groups or published in draft form for public comment before coming into effect. The proposed regulations as bills are published on the National Assembly of Zambia website (http://www.parliament.gov.zm/ ) for public viewing. Hard copies of the documents are delivered by courier to the stakeholders’ premises/mail boxes.

Opportunities for comment on proposed laws and regulations sometimes exist through trade associations, such as the Zambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Zambia Association of Manufacturers, Zambia Chamber of Mines, and American Chamber of Commerce in Zambia. Stakeholder consultation in developing legislation and regulation has generally been poor under the current administration; however, the government established the BRRA in 2014 with the mandate to administer the Business Regulatory Act. The Act requires public entities to submit for Cabinet approval a policy or proposed law that regulates business activity, after the policy or proposed law has BRRA approval. A public entity that intends to introduce any policy or law for regulating business activities should give notice, in writing, to the BRRA at least two months prior to submitting it to Cabinet; hold public consultations for at least 30 days with relevant stakeholders and perform a Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA). The BRRA works in close collaboration with the Ministry of Justice, which does not approve any proposed law to regulate business activity without the approval of BRRA. While this framework is solid on paper, the BRRA and the consultative process is still relatively new and unknown even by other government officials.

Although the underpinnings of an efficient system to handle court disputes exist, Zambian courts are relatively inexperienced in the area of commercial litigation. This, coupled with the large number of pending commercial cases, keeps the regulatory system from being prompt and transparent. Some measures to promote resolution of disputes by mediation have been implemented in an attempt to clear the case backlog. The courts support Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), including a mechanism for binding arbitration, but this has yet to be adopted due to lack of funding. The establishment of the fee-based judicial commercial division in 2014 to adjudicate high-value claims has helped accelerate resolution of such cases.

In 2015, the government introduced the Output Based Budget (OBB) as a tangible outcome of implementing the planning and budgeting policy that requires a more results-oriented budget in line with national development priorities. The OBB also provides more relevant information for assessing government’s estimates of revenue, expenditure, and performance. In 2017, the government announced the long-pending migration to the modern Treasury Single Account (TSA) system by all ministries and spending agencies; the system however has not yet achieved full utilization by all budget entities. The TSA is a unified structure of bank accounts that gives a consolidated position of the government’s cash resources. It aims to improve the government’s ability to efficiently and effectively manage public financial resources by refining current payments processes and eliminating redundant procedures between itself and its clients.

International Regulatory Considerations

Zambia is signatory to a range of international treaties that govern international investment and has signed several BITs, but still lacks harmonized legislation for investment built on a national investment policy. While the government has made gains in improving the business and operating environment for companies, especially for foreign investors, weaknesses in the regulatory framework remain apparent. The United States has a BIT with Zambia through AGOA and through COMESA, of which Zambia is a member.

Zambia is engaged in regional and international integration programs aimed at expanding its trading links and volume to spur further diversification. Zambia is a member of a number of regional and international groupings aimed at expanding markets for domestically produced goods and services. These include membership in both COMESA and SADC Free Trade Areas (FTAs). Zambia is also an active participant in the establishment of the Tripartite Free Trade Area between COMESA, SADC, and the East African Community (EAC).

At the multilateral level, Zambia has been a WTO member since January 1, 1995. Zambia’s incentives scheme is transparent and has been included in the WTO’s trade policy reviews. The incentive packages are also subject to reviews by the Board of the ZDA and to periodic reviews by the Parliamentary Accounts Committee. Zambia is a signatory to the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) but still faces major challenges in expediting the movement, release, and clearance of goods, including goods in transit, which is a major requisite of the TFA. Zambia has benefited from duty-free and quota-free market access to the European market and from the Generalized System of Preference (GSP) and AGOA in the U.S. market.

Membership in all above organizations has led to improved market access under preferential trade terms for the private sector that can invest and take advantage of larger foreign markets. The major challenge has been the low productive capacity of the private sector and the difficulty it has in meeting the competitive demands and standards of regional and international markets so as to take advantage of increased market access.

Legal System and Judicial Independence

Zambia has a dual legal system – consisting of statutory and customary law administered through a single formal court system. Statutory law is derived from the English legal system with some English Acts of Parliament still deemed to be in full force and effect within Zambia. Traditional, customary laws, which remain in a state of flux, are not written or codified although some of them have been unified under Acts of Parliament. No clear definition of customary law has been developed by the courts nor has there been any systematic development of this subject.

Zambia has a written commercial law. The Commercial Court, a division of the High Court, deals with disputes arising out of commercial transactions. All commercial matters are registered in the commercial registry and judges of the Commercial Court are experienced in commercial law. Appeals from the Commercial Court, based on the amended January 2016 constitution, now fall under the recently established Court of Appeals, comprised of eight judges. Constitutional appeals default to the Constitutional Court, another new judicial body per 2016 reforms. The Foreign Judgments (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act, Chapter 76, makes provision for the enforcement in Zambia of judgments given in foreign countries that accord reciprocal treatment. The registration of a foreign judgment is not automatic. Although Zambia is a state party to international human rights and regional instruments, it has a dualist system of jurisprudence that considers international treaty law as a separate system of law from domestic law. Domestication of international instruments by Acts of Parliament is necessary for these to be applicable in the country. Systematic efforts to domesticate international instruments is quite slow, but progressive.

The courts in Zambia are generally independent, but contractual and property rights enforcement is weak and final court decisions can take a prohibitively long time. At times, politicians particularly in power have exerted pressure on the judiciary in politically controversial cases. Regulations or enforcement actions are appealable and adjudication depends on the matter at hand and the principal law or act governing the regulations. Some actions can be handled through commercial arbitration, tribunals, or ADR. Also, courts have powers to determine whether a matter can be handled under any of these mechanisms.

Laws and Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment

The major laws affecting foreign investment in Zambia include:

  • The Zambia Development Agency Act of 2006, which offers a wide range of incentives in the form of allowances, exemptions, and concessions to companies;
  • The Companies Act of 1994, which governs the registration of companies in Zambia;
  • The Zambia Revenue Authority’s Customs and Excise Act, Income Tax Act of 1966, and the Value Added Tax of 1995 provide for general incentives to investors in various sectors;
  • The Employment Act, Chapter 268, Zambia’s basic employment law that provides for required minimum employment contractual terms; and
  • The Immigration and Deportation Act, Chapter123, regulates the entry into and residency in Zambia of visitors, expatriates, and immigrants.

Competition and Anti-Trust Laws

Market competition operates under a weak regulatory framework although there is freedom of pricing, currency convertibility, freedom of trade, and free use of profits. A fairly strong institutional framework is provided only for strategic sectors linked to the mining industries and large-scale commercial farming. The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) is a statutory body established with a unique dual mandate to protect the competition process in the economy and to protect consumers. The mandate of the Commission cuts across all economic sectors. The CCPC regulates the economy to avoid restrictive business practices, abuse of dominant position of market power, anti-competitive mergers and acquisitions, and cartels that erode consumer welfare. The Commission is also mandated to enhance consumer welfare. In general terms, therefore, the principal aim of the Commission is to safeguard competition and ensure consumer protection, but it has been described as ineffectual and lacks legislative influence.

In 2016, the CCPC published a series of guidelines and policies that included adopting a formal Leniency Policy, a policy that encourages persons to come report to the CCPC information that may help to uncover prohibited agreements. In certain circumstances, the person receives immunity from prosecution, imposition of fines, or the guarantee of a reduction in fines. The policy also calculates administrative penalties. In addition, the CCPC in 2016 also published the draft Settlement Guidelines, which provide a formal framework for parties seeking to engage the CCPC for purposes of reaching a settlement. The Settlement Guidelines present a number of practical challenges as currently drafted. One example is that the guidelines do not cater or seem to recognize without prejudice settlement negotiations.

The Competition and Fair Trading Act, Chapter 417, prevents firms from distorting the competitive process through conduct or agreements designed to exclude actual or potential competitors, and applies to all entities, regardless of whether private, public, or foreign. Although the Commission largely opens investigations when a complaint is filed, it can also open investigations on its own initiative. Zambian competition law can also be enforced by civil lawsuits in court by private parties and criminal prosecution by the Commission is possible in cartel cases without the involvement of the Director of Public Prosecution under the Competition and Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) No. 24 of 2010. However, the general perception is the Commission may sometimes be restricted in applying the competition law against government agencies and State Owned Enterprises (SOEs), especially those protected by other laws. There were 29 competition cases in 2017.

Expropriation and Compensation

Zambia is a signatory to the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) of the World Bank and other international agreements. This guarantees foreign investment protection in cases of war, strife, disasters, and other disturbances or in cases of expropriation. Zambia has signed bilateral reciprocal promotional and protection of investment protocols with a number of countries. Furthermore, the ZDA also offers further security for investments in the country through the signing of the Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (IPPAs).

Investments may only be legally expropriated by an act of Parliament relating to the specific property expropriated. Although the ZDA Act states that compensation must be at a fair market value, the method for determining fair market value is ill-defined. Compensation is convertible at the current exchange rate. The ZDA Act also protects investors from being adversely affected by any subsequent changes to the Investment Act of 1993 for seven years from their initial investment.

Leasehold land, which is granted under 99-year leases (there is an ongoing policy debate to reduce this to 25 years), may revert to the government if it is ruled to be undeveloped after a certain amount of time, generally five years. Land title is sometimes questioned and land is re-titled to other owners. In 2012, the GRZ took several actions similar to expropriation, reversing the privatization of one SOE and terminating two government concessions. In two of three instances, full compensation for GRZ actions has yet to be finalized, though GRZ figures for 2012 foreign direct investment reflect a significant offset for the return of foreign acquisition capital.

In January 2012, the GRZ reversed the June 2010 sale of the SOE Zambia Telecommunications Company (Zamtel) to Libya’s LAP GreenN, which acquired a 75 percent shareholding in Zamtel for USD 257 million. The GRZ unilaterally reversed the sale and re-appropriated the telecom company, citing corruption and flaws in the privatization process. LAP GreenN through the Libyan Investment Authority, the investment arm of the Libyan government, challenged the Zambian government’s decision in court and asked for USD 480 million in compensation. In October 2017, the London High Court ordered the Zambia government to compensate Libya, via LAP GreenN, USD 380 million for re-nationalizing Zamtel. The Zambian government insists it will compensate LAP GreenN for its investment in Zamtel, but will not transfer ownership of the company back to the operator.

In November 2012, the GRZ also terminated its concession agreement with the privately owned Zambia Border Crossing Company to manage the Kasumbalesa border post with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, along with five other border concessions at Jimbe (with Angola), Nakonde (with Tanzania), Chanida (with Mozambique), Kipushi (with Congo DR), and Mwami (with Malawi). The GRZ cited smuggling, loss of revenue, and threat to national security in terminating the concession, which had been awarded as a PPP on a design, build, and operate basis.

There is no pattern of discrimination against U.S. persons by way of an illegal expropriation by the government or authority in the country. There are no high-risk sectors prone to expropriation actions.

Dispute Settlement

ICSID Convention and New York Convention

Zambia is party to the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards of 1958, which entered into force on June 7, 1959, and party to the Convention of the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States of 1965, which entered into force on October 14, 1966. These are enforced through the Investment Disputes Convention Act Chapter 42.

Zambia is a member state of the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) Convention and a signatory to the United Nations Commission of International Trade Law (UNCITRAL Model Law). In 2002, Zambia ratified the convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (1958 New York Convention).

Investor-State Dispute Settlement

Over the past 10 years, previous disputes involved delayed payments from SOEs to U.S. companies for goods and services and the delayed deregistration of a U.S.-owned aircraft that was leased to a Zambian airline company that went bankrupt. Currently, a U.S. company is in dispute over the refusal of payment by its local joint venture partner that resulted from goods delivered to the government of Zambia. The case, however, has not officially reached the courts of Zambia.

Relatively few investment disputes involving U.S. companies have occurred since Zambia’s economy was liberalized following the introduction of multi-party democracy in 1991. The Zambian Investment Code stipulates that claimants must first file internal dispute settlements with the Zambian High Court. Failing that, the parties may go to international arbitration, which the state recognizes as binding. However, difficulty remains for U.S. companies in receiving payments from the government for work performed or products and services rendered due sometimes to government bureaucracy or lack of funding.

In practice, there are also few recorded cases where Zambia has used sovereignty provisions to countermand its international obligations related to investment and settlement of disputes arising out of asset expropriation. Recently, in November 2016, under the provisions of section 84B of the Banking and Financial Services Act (BSFA), Chapter 387, the Bank of Zambia took possession of Intermarket Banking Corporation Zambia Limited (IBC), stating the bank had become insolvent. In October 2017, the Minister of Finance announced that the government had successfully restructured the IBC and that its capital requirement had been met. The bank was re-opened under the name Zambia Industrial Commercial Bank Limited and took over the assets and deposits of Intermarket Banking Corporation Zambia Limited.

International Commercial Arbitration and Foreign Courts

The Zambian Arbitration Act Number 19 of 2000 incorporates the UNCITRAL and the New York Convention on the recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards. The Act applies to both domestic and international arbitration and is based on the UNCITRAL model law. Arbitration agreements must be in writing and parties may appoint an arbitrator of any nationality, gender, or professional qualifications. Foreign lawyers cannot be used to represent parties in domestic or international arbitrations taking place in Zambia. There are no facilities that provide online arbitration, although there is an arbitral institution, the Zambia Institute of Arbitrators, which promotes and facilitates arbitration and other forms of ADR. The New York Convention on the recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards has been domesticated into Zambian legislation by virtue of Section 31 of the Arbitration Act. Arbitration awards are enforced in the High Court of Zambia, and judgments enforcing or denying enforcement of an award can be appealed to the Supreme Court.

Foreign arbitral awards are recognized and enforced in Zambia under the Arbitration Act, Section 27,which provides for the recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards. It takes about 18 weeks to enforce a foreign award. The United States has a BIT with Zambia through AGOA and through COMESA, of which Zambia is a member. There have been no claims under these agreements. Proceedings against the state are subject to the State Proceedings Act, Chapter 71, and Volume 6, which grants the state immunity against execution.

Bankruptcy Regulations

The Bankruptcy Act, Chapter 82 provides for the administration of bankruptcy of the estates of debtors and makes provision for punishment of offenses committed by debtors. It also provides for reciprocity in bankruptcy proceedings between Zambia and other countries and provides for matters incidental to and consequential upon the foregoing. This applies to individuals, local, and foreign investors. Bankruptcy judgments are made in local currency, but can be paid out in any internationally convertible currency. Under the Bankruptcy Act, a person can be charged as a criminal. A person guilty of an offense declared to be a felony or misdemeanor under the Bankruptcy Act in respect of which no special penalty is imposed by this Act shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.

Zambia has made strides in improving its credit information system. Since 2008, the credit bureau, TransUnion, requires banks and some nonbanks to provide loans requirement information and consult it when making loans. The credit bureau eventually captures data from other institutions such as utilities. The bureau’s coverage is still less than 10 percent of the population; the quality of information is suspect; and there is lack of clarity on data sources and the inclusion of positive information.

Investment Incentives

The ZDA Act provides for a number of incentives available to both local and foreign investors.

Under the Income Tax Act, Chapter 323 or the Customs and Excise Act, Chapter 322, investors who invest not less than USD 500,000 in an MFEZ, an industrial park, a priority sector, or invest in a Rural Enterprise under the ZDA Act, are entitled to the following fiscal incentives:

  • A corporate tax rate of 0 percent for 5 years from commencement of operations;
  • Taxation on only 50 percent of profits in year 6 through year 8 from commencement of operations and only 75 percent for years 9 and 10;
  • 5-year exemption on dividend taxes following the first year of declaration;
  • 5-year customs duties exemption on imported machinery and equipment; and
  • Improvement allowance of 100 percent of capital expenditure on improvements or upgrading of infrastructure.

In addition to fiscal incentives, the above category of investors, along with those who invest an amount not less than USD 250,000 in any sector or product not provided for as a priority sector or product under the Act, are entitled to investment guarantees and protection against state nationalization along with free facilitation for application of immigration permits, secondary licenses, land acquisition, and utilities. For major investments, the Minister of Finance may specify additional incentives for investment in an identified sector or product of not less than USD 10 million or equivalent in convertible currency in new assets that qualify for those incentives.

During the presentation of the 2018 national budget, the Minister of Finance proposed discontinuing the five-year income tax holidays provided under the ZDA Act. Instead the Minister proposed to grant accelerated depreciation for capital expenditure. The Minister intended the measure to safeguard government revenues eroded through tax holidays. This move has been criticized by foreign investors and has led to some investors putting the brakes on additional investment in the country. The proposal to discontinue the five-year income tax holiday is not yet enacted.

Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports/Trade Facilitation

An investor may apply to be appointed and licensed by the Commissioner General to establish and operate a bonded factory under Section 65 of the Customs and Excise Act. In early 2007, the GRZ announced the creation of MFEZs in which investors enjoy waivers on customs duty on imported equipment, excise duty, and value added tax, among other concessions. In 2018, it is unclear if the government will maintain these incentives (see Investment Incentives section).

There are three MFEZs currently operating: the Chinese Chambishi MFEZ on the Copperbelt, its extension, the Lusaka East MFEZ located near the Lusaka international airport, and the Lusaka South MFEZ. Foreign-owned firms enjoy the same investment opportunities as domestic firms in MFEZs. The ZDA Act is the primary legislation for investment in Zambia. An investor, foreign or local, is free to identify and suggest any other location in the country deemed economical for development of a MFEZ, although the government has prioritized designated areas in Lusaka, Ndola, Mpulungu, Chembe, Nakonde, Kasumbalesa, and Mwinilunga. Investors are encouraged to provide local employment and skills transfer to local entrepreneurs and communities. Investors are also encouraged to utilize local raw materials and intermediate goods and engage in technology transfer to qualify to operate in an MFEZ.

Zambia, like other countries, trades on its business relations with the international community. COMESA launched its FTA in October 2000 and established a customs union in June 2009. The top five intra-COMESA exports from Zambia include tobacco, raw sugarcane, wire, refined copper, and cement. The SADC Protocol on Trade came into force in 2008. The Trade Protocol promotes regional integration through trade development and develops natural and human resources for the mutual benefit of their people. Trade among SADC member states is conducted on reciprocal preferential terms. Rules of Origin define the conditions for products to qualify for preferential trade in the SADC region. Products have to be “wholly produced” or “sufficiently processed” in the SADC region to be considered compliant with the SADC Rules of Origin. The SADC Rules of Origin are product-specific and not generic, like the Rules of Origin for COMESA.

The member states of COMESA, the EAC, and SADC agreed in October 2008 to negotiate a Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) covering half of Africa. To date, Zambia is one of the 21 out of the 27 member states which have signed the agreement. Also, on March 21, 2018 most of the African Union (AU) countries made a declaration to establish a FTA comprising the entire African continent. Zambia was a signatory to the declaration but with conditions. The TFTA and AU declaration have yet to enter into effect.

Zambia performs better than the average sub-Saharan African and lower middle income country in the areas of information availability, involvement of the trade community, appeal procedures, and automation, according to OECD trade facilitation indicators. Zambia’s performance for internal border agency co-operation and governance and impartiality is below average for sub-Saharan African and lower middle income countries.

Performance and Data Localization Requirements

Although performance requirements are not imposed, authorities expect commitments made in applications for investment licenses to be fulfilled. No requirements currently exist for local content, equity, financing, employment, or technology transfers. However, in January 2018 the government issued a Statutory Instrument (SI) instructing all industries to transport 30 percent of their cargo by rail. The government does not impose offset requirements or impose conditions on permission to invest in a specific geographic area or local content, but investors are encouraged to employ local nationals.

The GRZ favors the use of local workers for unskilled labor as well as for skilled middle or senior management workers. Under the ZDA Act, any foreign investor who invests a minimum of USD 250,000 or its equivalent and employs a minimum of 200 employees at certain technical or managerial levels is entitled to a self-employment permit or resident permit. The ZDA assists the qualifying investor to obtain work permits for up to five expatriate employees. In practice, however, some foreign companies, especially smaller-scale investors, have had difficulty securing these permits. Any entry permit holder can apply for a dependent’s pass for each of his dependents. The government is considering limiting foreigners to obtain work permits only for rare skills not found in Zambia. While not implemented yet, it is happening in practice with the occasional denial of work permit renewals. The ZDA is also in the process of developing standards regarding investment performance benchmarks that it seeks to put in place within an MFEZ in order to assist the government in monitoring company performance against the commitments made when investment incentives are granted.

The GRZ does not follow forced localization, but encourages investors where possible to use domestic content in goods or technology if available. In 2017 the government started the formulation of a local content strategy to promote inclusive and sustainable growth through increased use of locally available goods and services in development sectors. According to the Ministry of Commerce, once the strategy is put in place, a law will be passed to compel businesses to use a certain percentage of local inputs and products in the production and provision of goods and services. In a speech to Parliament in March 2018, the president criticized a perceived influx of foreign workers into Zambia’s mining industry; the government has announced it will conduct a month-long review of foreign labor quotas in the sector. The move follows sustained opposition to working practices by domestic unions and civil society organizations.

While this is not the first time that scrutiny of foreign labor has surfaced as a strategic issue for the government, the latest review is a reminder of the burgeoning pressures that continue to underpin sector management and policymaking. To date, the current administration has adopted a relatively pragmatic approach to managing the mining sector’s fiscal and regulatory framework, acknowledging the challenging commercial conditions for some mining companies, and the need for stability in the operating environment.

Currently, there is no requirement for foreign information technology providers to turn over source code or provide access to surveillance. The telecommunications sector is governed by the Information and Communications Technology Act No. 15 of 2009 (ICT Act) and falls under the Ministry of Communications and Transport,

The government strives to be consistent with Trade Related Investment Measures (TRIMs) requirements and generally abides by the WTO’s TRIMS obligation. Although performance requirements are not imposed, authorities expect commitments made in applications for investment licenses to be fulfilled.

Real Property

Property rights and the regulation of property are well defined in principle, but face problems in practical implementation. Contractual and property rights are weak. Courts are often inexperienced in commercial litigation and are frequently slow in reaching their decisions. The ZDA Act ensures investors’ property rights are respected. Secured interests in property both movable and real are recognized and enforced. Property can be owned individually, jointly in undivided shares, or by an entity such as a company, close corporation or trust, or similar entity registered outside Zambia. The ZDA Act provides for legal protection and facilitates acquisition and disposition of all property rights such as land, buildings, and mortgages. The Lands and Deeds Registry Act of Zambia states that a mortgage is only to operate as security and not a transfer or lease of the estate or interest mortgaged. There are two types of mortgages in Zambia, a legal and an equitable mortgage. A legal mortgage is created in respect of a legal estate by deed while an equitable mortgage does not convey legal title to the mortgage and consequently, no power of sale vests in the mortgagee.

The president holds all land on behalf of the people of Zambia, which he may give to any Zambian, but the process is set in law. The Lands Act, Chapter 184, places a number of restrictions on the president’s allocation of land to foreigners. The ZDA Act makes provision for ownership of land by investors. The ZDA, in consultation with the Ministry of Lands, assists an investor in identifying suitable land for investment, as well as assisting the investor to apply through the Ministry of Lands. While all land is vested in the president, it is worth noting that traditional chiefs have jurisdiction over traditional, or customary, land.

The Commissioner of Lands verifies that properties can be transferred after checking if ground rent has been paid and conducting due diligence on the purchaser. It is important to note that the land in Zambia belongs to the state, and can only be purchased by Zambians, Zambian companies, established residents, or investors. Land held under customary tenure has no title, but where a sketch plan of the area exists, the chief can give written consent to an investor and a 14-year lease can be obtained for traditional land.

Despite Zambia having abundant land for agriculture and other purposes, the process of land acquisition and registration is a major obstacle for investors. About 85 percent of available land is under traditional ownership. Its acquisition involves negotiations with traditional leaders who have to balance the demands of their subjects with the pressure to convert land for commercial purposes. Most available land has not been surveyed or mapped and where this has been done, records are often outdated or difficult to retrieve from the Ministry of Lands. In March 2017, the president expressed concern that land was being given to foreigners at an alarming rate by traditional chiefs. He called for an inquiry into this by the Ministry of Lands. This led to the draft of a new National Land Policy that reduces the term of land lease by foreigners from 99 years to 25 years. The initial draft was rejected by the House of Chiefs, which claims the new land policy is allegedly trying to temper chiefs’ authorities.

The Ministry of Lands is centralized in Lusaka and faces problems of poor record keeping and slow processing of title deeds. To address these challenges the government, with the support of donor partners, has been working to reform land policy, including modernization of the Lands Department at Ministry of Lands, establishment of Land Banks, establishment of a Land Development Fund, demarcation of MFEZs and industrial parks, and development of farming blocks.

Many of Zambia’s poor living in urban areas on statutory land are not aware of the ways in which they can secure their rights to land. Some civic leaders, cadres (political party supporters), and traditional leaders allocate and sell land without following the required procedures. As such, many of the poor living in urban areas find refuge in unplanned settlements, which in some cases are not approved in accordance with Zambian law. This has led to the continued proliferation of informal and unplanned settlements, illegal land allocations, land grabbing, and misplacement of resources, all of which slow development.

People living on both customary land and in unplanned settlements therefore do so with a sense of insecurity of land tenure due to the absence of documentation to support land ownership coupled with a poor land administration system. Civil and traditional leaders have demonstrated little transparency and accountability in land governance. Most often, community members have little knowledge about either their land rights or how they can protect themselves.

Intellectual Property Rights

Intellectual property laws in Zambia may cover such areas as domain names, traditional knowledge, transfer of technology, patents/copyrights, etc. Zambia is also party to several international intellectual property agreements. The legal framework for trademark protection in Zambia is adequate, however, enforcement of intellectual property rights is weak and courts have little experience with commercial litigation. Copyright protection is limited and does not cover computer applications. Of the many pirated and counterfeit goods in Zambia, the main ones are: DVDs, CDs, audio-visual software, infant milk, pharmaceuticals, body lotions, motor vehicle spare parts (such as tires and brake pads), beverages, cigarettes, toothpaste, electrical appliances, fertilizer, pesticides, and corn seed. Enforcement in 2016 was effective against pirated musical and video recordings, cosmetics, and software. Small-scale trademark infringement occurs in connection with some packaged goods utilizing copied or deceptive packaging. Also, in 2016, the government enacted the Industrial Designs Act and the Protection of Traditional Knowledge, Genetic Resources and Expressions of Folklore Act. The Industrial Designs Act encourages the creation of designs and development of creative industries through enhanced protection and utilization of designs and provides for the registration and protection of designs and the rights of proprietors of registered designs. The Protection of Traditional Knowledge, Genetic Resources and Expressions of Folklore Act provides a transparent legal framework for the protection of, access to, and use of, traditional knowledge, genetic resources and expressions of folklore and guarantees equitable sharing of benefits and effective participation of holders.

The Zambia Police Service Intellectual Property Unit (IPU) carries out raids in shops and markets to confiscate counterfeit and pirated materials. The IPU tracks and reports on seizures of counterfeit goods but no consolidated record is available. There are fines for revealing proprietary business information, but they are not large enough to penalize disclosure adequately. Zambia’s patent laws conform to the requirements of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, to which Zambia is a signatory. It takes a minimum of four months to patent an item or process. Duplicative searches are not done, but patent awards may be appealed on grounds of infringement.

Zambia is a signatory to a number of international agreements on patents and intellectual property, including the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Paris Union, Bern Union, African Regional Industrial Property Organization (ARIPO), and the Universal Copyright Convention of UNESCO. Zambia is not listed in USTR’s Special 301 report nor its Notorious Market List.

The Ministry of Commerce, Trade, and Industry and the Patents and Company Registration Office (PACRA) are the leading institutions responsible for the implementation of intellectual property laws in Zambia. The industrial property registration system at PACRA underwent an upgrade, linking its electronic documentation management system to the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO’s) WIPOScan, which provides for digitization of intellectual property records. Even though major strides have been made in Zambia in the fight against piracy and counterfeiting, more still needs to be done.

Zambia is not listed on the USTR’s 2017 Out-Of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets, or in the 2018 Special 301 Report. For additional information about treaty obligations and points of contact at local IP offices, please see WIPO’s country profiles at http://www.wipo.int/directory/en/ .

Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment

Government policies generally facilitate the free flow of financial resources to support the entry of resources in the product and factor market. Banking supervision and regulation by the Bank of Zambia (BoZ) has improved slightly over the past few years. Improvements include revoking licenses of some insolvent banks, denying bailouts, limiting deposit protection, strengthening loan recovery efforts, and upgrading the training of and incentives for bank supervisors. High domestic lending rates and the limited accessibility of domestic financing constrain business. High returns on government securities encourage commercial banks to invest heavily in government debt to the exclusion of financing productive private sector investments.

The Lusaka Stock Exchange (LuSE), established in 1993, is structured to meet international recommendations for clearing and settlement system design and operations. There are no restrictions on foreign participation in the LuSE, and foreigners may invest in stocks on the same terms as Zambians. The LuSE has offered trading in equity securities since its inception and, in March 1998, the LuSE became the official market for selling Zambian government bonds. Investors intending to trade in a listed security or government bond are now mandated to trade via the LuSE. The market is regulated by the Securities Act of 1993 and enforced by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of Zambia. Secondary trading of financial instruments in the market is very low or non-existent in some areas. As of the beginning of 2018, there are 22 companies listed on the LuSE with a portfolio worth about kwacha 63 billion (USD 6.6 billion).

Existing policies facilitate the free flow of financial resources into the product and factor markets. The government and the BoZ respect IMF Article VIII by refraining from restrictions on payments and transfers for current international transactions. Credit is allocated on market terms and foreign investors can get credit on the local market, although local credit is relatively expensive and most investors prefer to obtain credit outside the country.

Money and Banking System

The financial sector is made up of three sub-sectors according to financial sector supervisory authorities. The banking and financial institutions sub-sector is supervised by the BoZ, the securities sub-sector by the SEC, and the pensions and insurance sub-sector by the Pensions and Insurance Authority. Zambia’s banking sector is considered relatively well-developed in the African context, although the financial sector remains highly concentrated. There are currently 19 banks in Zambia with the largest four banks holding nearly two-thirds of total banking assets. The dominance of the four largest banks in deposits and total assets has been diluted by increased market capture of smaller banks and new industry entrants, an indication of growing competitive intensity in this segment of the banking market. Government policies generally facilitate the free flow of financial resources to support the entry of resources in the product and factor market. There continued to be a steady increase in electronic banking and related services over the last few years. As stated above, banking supervision and regulation by the BoZ has improved slightly over the past few years. The Banking and Financial Services Act, Chapter 387, and the Bank of Zambia Act, Chapter 360, govern the banking industry.

The BoZ’s current benchmark lending rate, as of April 2018, is 9.75 percent while the commercial lending rate ranges between 40 to 45 percent, which is among the highest in the region. The persistence of high interest rates led the government to urge commercial banks to reduce their lending rates in order to remove the constraint on private sector growth and the economy as a whole. One factor inhibiting more affordable lending is a culture of tolerating loan default, which many borrowers view as a minor transgression. Non-performing loans (NPLs) in the sector are growing with some estimates as high as 15 percent. The government itself is a contributor as it is in arrears of over USD 1 billion to many contractors who reportedly hold a high percentage of the NPLs.

Lender data reporting remains erratic and credit rating information is not widely available. In addition, high returns on government securities encourage commercial banks to invest heavily in government debt, to the exclusion of financing productive private sector investments. Banking officials acknowledge that they need to upgrade the risk assessment and credit management skills within their institutions in order to better serve borrowers. At the same time, they argue that widespread financial illiteracy limits borrowers’ ability to access credit. Banks provide credit denominated in foreign currency only for investments aimed at producing goods for export. Banks provide services on a fee-based model and banking charges are generally high. Home mortgages are available from several leading Zambian banks, although interest rates are still very high.

To operate a bank in Zambia, it is a requirement that the bank be licensed by the Registrar of Banks, Financial Institutions and Financial Businesses (“the Registrar”) whose office is based at the BoZ. The decision to license banks lies with the Registrar. Foreign banks or branches are allowed to establish operations in the country as long as they fulfill BoZ requirements and meet the minimum capital requirement of USD 100 million for foreign banks and USD 20 million for local banks. According to the BoZ, most banks in the country have their own correspondent banking relationships; it is difficult to assess how many there are or whether any bank has lost any correspondent banking relationships in the past three years. It is also difficult to analyze if any of those correspondent relationships are currently in jeopardy as the daily management of those relationships are carried out by the individual banks and not by the BoZ.

The Non-Bank Financial Institutions (NBFIs) are licensed and regulated in accordance with the provisions of the Banking and Financial Services Act of 1994 (BFSA) and related Regulations and Prudential Guidelines. As key players in the financial sector, NBFIs are subject to regulatory requirements governing their prudential position, consumer protection, and market conduct in order to safeguard the overall soundness and stability of the financial system. The NBFIs comprise 8 leasing and finance companies, 3 building societies, 1 credit reference bureau, 1 savings and credit institution, 1 development finance institution, 80 bureau de change, 1 credit reference bureau, and 34 micro-finance institutions.

Private firms are open to foreign investment through mergers and acquisitions. The CCPC reviews and handles big mergers and acquisitions. The High Court of Zambia may reverse decisions made by the Commission. Under the CCPA, foreign companies without a presence in Zambia and taking over local firms do not, however, have to notify their transactions to the Commission as it has not established disclosure requirements for foreign companies setting up or acquiring existing businesses in Zambia. In the past decade, some mergers and acquisitions include Bharti Airtel’s purchase of Zain/Celtel Zambia, the purchase through privatization of Zamtel by LAP GreenN (later revoked), the acquisition of a huge U.S. multinational energy corporation’s assets in Zambia by Engen Petroleum, a large U.S. retailer takeover of Game Stores through the acquisition of Massmart Holdings Limited of South Africa, Barrick Gold Corp takeover of Equinox Lumwana Copper Mines, the purchase of BP shares in Southern Africa, including BP Zambia, by Puma Energy, the Jinchuan Group Limited takeover of Metorex Chibuluma Copper Mine, Atlas Mara’s acquisition of Finance Bank Zambia and subsequent combination with BANC ABC, private equity house EMR Capital’s purchase of eighty percent of indirect interest in Lubambe Mine, held equally by African Rainbow Minerals (ARM) and Vale International, and the potential bid by the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC) Group plc to acquire a majority stake in the Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC).

Foreign Exchange and Remittances

Foreign Exchange Policies

There are currently no restrictions or limitations placed on foreign investors converting or transferring funds associated with an investment (including remittances of investment capital, earnings, loan repayments, and lease payments) into freely usable currency and at a legal market-clearing rate. Investors are free to repatriate capital investments, as well as dividends, management fees, interest, profit, technical fees, and royalties. Foreign nationals can also transfer and/or remit wages earned in Zambia. Funds associated with investments can be freely converted into internationally convertible currencies. The BoZ pursues a flexible exchange rate policy, which generally allows the currency to freely float, though it has intervened heavily to support the local currency, the kwacha, in 2014 to 2016. Transfers of currency are protected by IMF Article VII.

In March 2014, the government announced the revocation of SI Number 33 (mandating use of the kwacha for domestic transactions) and SI Number 55 (monitoring foreign exchange transactions). The government experienced challenges implementing these statutory instruments and – along with problems of fiscal management and weakening global copper prices – the SIs were perceived as undermining confidence in Zambia’s economy and currency, leading to sharp depreciation of the kwacha. The decision to revoke the SIs was widely praised in the business community. The kwacha, however, has remained weak in historical terms against the dollar and currently trades between 9-10 kwacha per dollar.

Over-the-counter cash conversion of the kwacha into foreign currency is restricted to a USD 5,000 maximum per transaction for account holders and USD 1,000 for non-account holders. No exchange controls exist in Zambia for anyone doing business as either a resident or non-resident. There are no restrictions on non-cash transactions. The exchange rate of the Zambian national currency is mostly determined by market forces; because the volume and value of exports from Zambia are overwhelmingly related to the extractive industries sector, mining companies’ financial transactions play a major role in exchange rate determination.

Remittance Policies

There are no recent changes or plans to change investment remittance policies that tighten or relax access to foreign exchange for investment remittances. There are no restrictions on converting or transferring funds associated with an investment (including remittances of investment capital, earnings, loan repayments, or lease payments) into freely usable currency at legal market clearing rate. Foreign investors can remit through a legal parallel market, including one utilizing convertible, negotiable instruments such as dollar-denominated government bonds issued in lieu of immediate payment in dollars. There are no limitations on the inflow or outflow of funds for remittances of profits or revenue and there is no evidence to show that Zambia manipulates the currency. Zambia is a member of the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG), which conducted an assessment of the implementation of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing (AML/CTF) measures in Zambia in November 2007. ESAAMLG coordinates with other international organizations concerned with combating money laundering, studying emerging regional typologies, developing institutional and human resource capacities to deal with these issues, and coordinating technical assistance where necessary. Zambia has demonstrated commitment to establish an AML/CTF framework. The enactment of the Prohibition and Prevention of Money Laundering Act and the Anti-Terrorism Act, as well as the establishment of the Anti-Money Laundering Investigations Unit and the Financial Intelligence Center as the sole designated national agency mandated to handle AML/CTF and other serious offences, reflect this commitment.

Sovereign Wealth Funds

The GRZ had planned to launch a Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) following the 2015 reincorporation of the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) as the parastatal holding company, but has yet to establish the fund.

There are currently about 44 SOEs operating in different sectors in Zambia including agriculture, education, energy, financial services, infrastructure, manufacturing, medical, mining, real estate, technology, media and communication, tourism, and transportation and logistics. Most SOEs are wholly owned or majority owned by the government under the IDC established in 2015. Zambia has two categories of SOEs, those incorporated under the Companies Act and those established by particular statutes, referred to as statutory corporations. There is a published list of SOEs in the Auditor General’s annual reports; SOE expenditure on research and development is not detailed. There is no exhaustive list or online location of SOEs’ data for assets, net income, or number of employees. Inaccurate information is scattered throughout different government agencies/ministries. All SOEs have serious operational and management challenges; for example, the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) is over USD 500 million in debt for power imports and to independent power producers.

In principle, SOEs do not enjoy preferential treatment by virtue of government ownership, however, they may obtain protection when they are not able to compete or face adverse market conditions. The Zambia Information Communications Authority Act has a provision restricting the private sector from undertaking postal services that would directly compete with the Zambia Postal Services. Zambia is not party to the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) within the framework of the WTO, however private enterprises are allowed to compete with public enterprises under the same terms and conditions with respect to access to markets, credit, and other business operations such as licenses and supplies.

SOEs in Zambia are governed by Boards of Directors appointed by government in consultation with and including members from the private sector. The chief executive of the SOE reports to the Board chairperson. In the event that the SOE declares dividends, these are paid to the Ministry of Finance. The Board chair is informally obliged to consult with government officials before making decisions. The line minister appoints members of the Board of Directors from public services, private sector, and civil society. The independence of the board, however, is limited as most boards are comprised of a majority of government officials and board members appointed by the line minister from the private sector or civil society can be removed.

SOEs can and do purchase goods or services from the private sector including foreign firms. SOEs are not bound by the GPA and can procure their own goods, works, and services. SOEs are subject to the same tax policies as their private sector competitors. SOEs are not afforded material advantages such as preferential access to land and raw materials. SOEs are audited by the Auditor General’s Office, using international reporting standards. Audits are carried out annually, but delays in finalizing and publishing results are common. Controlling officers appear before a Parliamentary Committee for Public Accounts to answer audit queries. Audited reports are submitted to the president for tabling with the National Assembly, in accordance with Article 121 of the Constitution and the Public Audit Act, Chapter 378.

In 2015, the government transferred most SOEs from the Ministry of Finance to the revived Industrial Development Corporation (IDC). The move, according to the government, was to allow line ministries to focus on policy making thereby giving the IDC direct mandate and authorization to oversee SOE performance and accountability on behalf of the government. In 2016, the government stated its intent to review state owned enterprises in order to improve their performance and contribution to the treasury. The government has since directed the IDC to conduct a situational analysis of all the SOEs under its portfolio with a view to recapitalize successful businesses while hiving off ones that are no longer viable. The IDC’s oversight responsibilities include all aspects of governance, commercial, financing, operational, and all matters incidental to the interests of the state as shareholder. Zambia strives to adhere to OECD Guidelines on Corporate Governance to ensure a level playing field between SOEs and private sector enterprises.

Privatization Program

There were no sectors or companies targeted for privatization in 2018. The privatization of parastatals began in 1991, with the last one occurring in 2007. The divestiture of state enterprises mostly rests with the IDC, as the mandated SOE holding company. The Privatization Act includes the provision for the privatization and commercialization of SOEs; most of the privatization bidding process is advertised via printed media and the IDC‘s website (www.idc.co.zm ). There is no known policy that forbids foreign investors from participating in the country’s privatization programs.

In January 2012, the GRZ reversed the June 2010 sale of the SOE Zambia Telecommunications Company (Zamtel) to Libya’s LAP GreenN, which acquired a 75 percent shareholding in Zamtel for USD 257 million. The GRZ unilaterally reversed the sale and re-appropriated the telecom company, citing corruption and flaws in the privatization process. LAP GreenN through the Libyan Investment Authority, the investment arm of the Libyan government, challenged the Zambian government’s decision in court and asked for USD 480 million in compensation. In October 2017, the London High Court ordered the Zambia government to compensate Libya, via LAP GreenN, USD 380 million for re-nationalizing Zamtel. The Zambian government insists it will compensate LAP GreenN for its investment in Zamtel, but will not transfer ownership of the company back to the operator.

Zambia’s economy has shown relatively strong performance since the 1990s. The government limits its direct involvement in business in theory to strategic investments deemed critical for the delivery of public goods and services, and seeks to maintain high standards of consumer protection. There are no clearly formulated or well-implemented Responsible Business Conduct (RBC) policies that could help raise the contribution to society of strongly performing sectors of the economy.

Zambia is a high-performer among low-income countries in terms of RBC and scored better for the second year in a row in the 2017-2018 Global Competitiveness Report than large economies like Nigeria. Zambia ranks 118 among 138 countries.

These mainly cover investments in physical infrastructure such as road networks, energy, and water supply systems. Other investments undertaken directly by the government are in order to improve access by vulnerable and disadvantaged members of the population. The government is moving away from the Farmer Input Support Program that subsidizes fertilizers and seed inputs to small-scale farmers, and is replacing it with e-vouchers for small-scale farmers to buy from the private sector a broader range of agricultural inputs. The government participates in crop marketing by offering more attractive producer prices for staples like maize to small-scale farmers through the Food Reserve Agency (FRA).

Apart from involvement in strategic public investment activities, the government has placed priority focus on the implementation of legislative and regulatory reforms. Among the notable measures accompanying most investment ventures is that of making Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) an integral prerequisite for the approval process. For some investment sectors, such as insurance, banking, and financial services, the submission of annual audited financial statements are a licensing condition. In the case of financial services, quarterly publication of financial statements is compulsory and rigidly enforced by the BoZ.

Zambia has ratified a number of international human rights conventions, such as the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; the Convention on the Rights of the Child; and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. At the national level, the lead authority for upholding human rights norms is the Human Rights Commission (HRC), while the Industrial and Labor Relations Act addresses labor issues. The Act provides the legal framework for trade unions, employers’ organizations and their federations, the Tripartite Consultative Labor Council, and the Industrial Relations Court. The Employment Act, Chapter 268, is the basic employment law, while the Minimum Wages and Conditions of Employment Act makes provision for the regulation of minimum wage levels and minimum conditions of employment. Currently, the average minimum wage per month for employees starting with general or domestic workers according to the labor laws in Zambia stands at 420 kwacha (USD 44); but in practice with the addition of some other incentives to include food and transportation it amounts to about K700 (USD 74.00)

The Zambian government seeks to maintain high standards of consumer protection by, for example, following the United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection. The Competition and Fair Trading Act of 1994 and superseding Competition and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 encourage competition in the economy, protect consumer welfare, strengthen the efficiency of production and distribution of goods and services, secure the best possible conditions for the freedom of trade, expand the base of entrepreneurship, and regulate monopolies and concentrations of economic power. The 2010 Act includes specific consumer protection provisions. The Board of Commissioners is composed of representatives from different ministries and professional associations. As a matter of practice, all statutory agencies are encouraged by the government to regularly engage in stakeholder consultations whenever new laws and regulations are being considered. In other cases, public hearings have been institutionalized and made integral to the consideration and implementation of measures that affect business.

The overall approach of the government in theory has been to promote transparency and the active participation of the private sector in matters that affect their business affairs. Through this framework, instances have been noted where the submissions of the business sector have influenced policy measures and laws in the country. Generally, all regulatory agencies that issue operating licenses have statutory reporting requirements that businesses operating under their laws and regulations must meet. For example, the Banking and Financial Services Act has stringent reporting provisions that require all commercial banks to submit weekly returns indicating their liquidity position. Late submission of the weekly returns or failure to meet the minimum core liquidity and statutory reserves incur punitive penalty interest, and may lead to the placement of non-compliant commercial banks under direct supervision of BoZ, closure of the undertaking, or the prosecution of directors.

All companies listed under the Lusaka Stock Exchange (LuSE) are obliged to publish interim and annual financial statements within three months after the close of the financial year. Listed companies are also required to disclose in the national print media any information that can affect the value of the price of their securities. According to the Companies Act, Chapter 388, company directors need to generate annual account reports after the end of each financial year. The annual account, the auditor’s report or reports on the accounts, and the directors’ report should be sent to each person entitled to receive notice of the annual general meeting and to each registered debenture holder of the company. A foreign company needs to submit annual accounts and an auditor’s report to the Registrar. Zambia strives to adhere to OECD Guidelines on Corporate Governance and the Guidelines are sufficient to ensure a level playing field but the government does not maintain a National Contact Point for OECD Multi-National Enterprises guidelines.

The government is attempting to address regulatory inadequacies, especially related to consumer protection and anti-competition practices. Financial and technical constraints are, however, impacting the pace of regulatory reforms. In other cases, the business sector is being encouraged to adopt practices that promote responsible business conduct on a “voluntary basis.” For example, the Institute of Directors Zambia (IODZ) has been actively advocating the introduction of “Board Charters” that set out good corporate standards (such as ethical conduct) with which business enterprises will be associated and will implement. The Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) is also promoting the adoption of “Sector Codes” by the business sectors that commit themselves to supporting citizens’ economic empowerment.

In addition, a number of public institutions have established Integrity Committees that address the strengthening of internal policies and procedures for combating corruption. The private sector is also encouraged to either establish similar Integrity Committees or to strengthen their corporate governance standards to effectively address corruption. Most local manufacturers of consumer products are also submitting to voluntary product testing and certification by the Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS). The ZABS certification is also embossed on the product labels as a “mark of quality” indicating the product’s suitability for consumption. Legislative measures have also been agreed with food processors and drug manufacturers to indicate product manufacturing and expiry dates. A number of supermarket chains have also adopted barcoding of products that facilitates not only stock control but also tracing of each product that is stocked and sold to consumers.

A strong legal and institutional framework for RBC would also include effective implementation and enforcement of the law. Grievance mechanisms should effectively investigate, punish, and redress issues that companies bring forward. RBC is compromised in a situation where the government is not able to enforce laws and cannot provide remedies to parties negatively affected by company operations. Moreover, it is necessary to ensure that RBC regulations themselves are sufficiently strict (and regularly updated) so as to encourage responsible company behavior. The effectiveness of regulatory agencies is further impacted by a lack of robust coordination mechanisms. Cases abound of regulatory conflicts faced by the private sector, where statutory institutions introduce measures that countermand the laws and regulations of their counterparts. There is therefore no clear framework for inter-agency collaboration, especially as concerns investment promotion and communication between investors and other government agencies.

The government is a signatory to and has ratified most UN conventions relating to business conduct. The government has also subscribed to a range of other international conventions that it wishes to domesticate in Zambian law. The domestication of all these conventions has been protracted, thus limiting the effects of the measures. The government fully supports measures that encourage responsible business conduct and has recognized the importance of adopting international practices. The main challenges include domesticating international practices and strengthening regulatory capacities. To some extent, reliance has been placed on voluntary compliance, unofficial intermediation, consultation with stakeholders, and showcasing of best practices.

Most mining companies have acceded to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) adapted in February 2009 for Zambian conditions, and they are allowing independent audits of their operations and financial reporting. The results of the EITI audits are available to the general public. Zambia has been an EITI compliant country since September 2012. The government receives revenue in the form of taxes from all extractive industries, including mining. The mining sector accounts for about 10 percent of GDP and around 70 percent of export revenue. All exploration and mining activities are governed by the Mines and Minerals Act of 2008 and other mining related regulations that include: the Mineral Royalty Tax (Repeal) Act, the Petroleum (Exploration and Production Act), the Explosives Act, and the Environmental Protection and Pollution Control Act. The GRZ, through the Ministry of Mines and Minerals, conducts open bidding and grants mining licenses to qualified bidders. The Zambian Revenue Authority collects all payments from mining companies and remits them to the Ministry of Finance. The Zambian Revenue Authority regularly publishes production volumes for copper, cobalt, and gold, and the names of companies operating in the country.

Zambia’s anti-corruption activities are governed by the Anti-Corruption Act of 2010 and the National Anti-Corruption Policy of 2009, which stipulate penalties for different offenses. While legislation and stated policies on anti-corruption are adequate, implementation sometimes falls short. The Public Interest Disclosure (Protection of Whistleblowers) Act of 2010 provides for the disclosure of conduct adverse to the public interest in the public and private sectors; however, like with other laws and policies, enforcement is weak. Zambia lacks adequate laws on asset disclosure, evidence, and freedom of information. Recently, the Minister of Justice ruled out the presentation of the Access to Information (ATI) bill in parliament for enactment during the first half of its 2018 sitting, citing parliament’s workload and other priorities. The ATI bill has been pending since 2002.

Zambia had made some progress in the fight against corruption in the last decade, as reflected by improvements recorded in several governance indicators. However, in recent years, there is a perception that corruption has increased and it remains a primary impediment to governance and development programs. This was highlighted in the 2017 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) report where Zambia ranks 96 out of 180 countries; that is a drop of nine places from the 2016 report. The legal and institutional frameworks against corruption have been strengthened, and efforts have been made to reduce red tape and streamline bureaucratic procedures, as well as to investigate and prosecute corruption cases, including those involving high-ranking officials. Most of these cases, however, remain on the shelves waiting to be tried while officials remain free, sometimes still occupying the positions through which the alleged corruption took place. In March 2018, parliament passed the Public Finance Management Bill that will allow the government to prosecute public officials for misappropriating funds, something previous legislation lacked. The government needs to put in place implementing regulations for the bill. In spite of progress made, corruption remains a serious issue in Zambia, affecting the lives of ordinary citizens and their access to public services. Corruption in the police service emerges as an area of particular concern (with frequency of bribery well above that found in any other sector), followed by corruption in the education and health services. The government has cited corruption in public procurements and contracting procedures as major areas of concern.

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is the agency mandated to spearhead the fight against corruption in Zambia. The Anti-Money Laundering Unit of the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) also assists with investigation of allegations of misconduct. An independent Financial Intelligence Center (FIC) formed in 2010, but does not have the authority to take the lead in investigating financial crimes. In November 2012, the FIC Board of Directors was appointed and sworn in with a challenge to implement its mandate. Zambia’s anti-corruption agencies generally do not discriminate between local and foreign investors. Transparency International has an active Zambian chapter

The government encourages private companies to establish internal codes of conduct that prohibit bribery of public officials. Most large private companies have internal controls, ethics, and compliance programs to detect and prevent bribery. The Integrity Committees (ICs) Initiative is one of the strategies of the National Anti-Corruption Policy (NACP), which is aimed at institutionalizing the prevention of corruption. The NACP received Cabinet’s approval in March 2009 and the Anti-Corruption Commission spearheads its implementation. The NACP targets eight institutions, including the Zambia Revenue Authority, Immigration Department, and Ministry of Lands. The government has taken measures to enhance protection of whistleblowers and witnesses with the enactment of the Public Disclosure Act as well as strengthen protection of citizens against false reports, in line with Article 32 of the UN Convention.

U.S. firms and the Zambian government have identified corruption as an obstacle to foreign direct investment. Corruption is most pervasive in government procurement and dispute settlement. Giving or accepting a bribe by a private, public, or foreign official is a criminal act, and a person convicted of doing so is liable to a fine or a prison term not exceeding five years. A bribe by a local company or individual to a foreign official is a criminal act and punishable under the laws of Zambia. A local company cannot deduct a bribe to a foreign official from taxes. Bribery and kickbacks, however, remain rampant and difficult to police, given government officials’ complicity in and/or benefitting from corrupt deals.

Zambia signed and ratified the United Nations Convention against Corruption in December 2007. Other regional anti-corruption initiatives are the SADC Protocol against Corruption, ratified July 8, 2003, and the AU Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption, ratified March 30, 2007. Zambia is not a party to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions, but is a party to the Anticorruption Convention. Currently, there is no local industry or non-profit groups that offer services for vetting potential local investment partners. Normally, the U.S. Embassy provides some vetting of potential local investment partners for U.S. businesses, when contracted as a commercial service.

Resources to Report Corruption

Contact at government agency or agencies are responsible for combating corruption:

Mr. Kapetwa Phiri
Director General
Anti-Corruption Commission
Kulima House, Cha Cha Cha Road, P.O. Box 50486, Lusaka
+260 211 237914

Contact at “watchdog” organization

Mr. Wesley Chibamba
Executive Director
Transparency International Zambia
3880 Kwacha Road, Olympia Park, P.O. Box 37475, Lusaka
+260 211 290080
tizambia@zamtel.zm and wchibanda@tizambia.org.zm

Zambia does not have a history of large-scale political violence. It has a laudable record of democratic elections, which has resulted in two peaceful transitions of power from one party to another since independence in 1964. More recently, political tensions have been on the rise. Leading up to 2016 elections, there were numerous clashes of supporters of different political parties, resulting sometimes in injuries and arrests. The election results were contested by the opposition party, leading to a heightened state of political tension that continues at present. The U.S. government acknowledged the 2016 election results as representative of Zambians’ choice on election day. In July of 2017, the Zambian parliament approved a 90-day state of emergency decreed by President Edgar Lungu following a series of incidents of arson at local markets, but arrests were never made and critics saw the move as an effort by Lungu to tighten his grip on power by restricting public gatherings. Media freedoms have been curtailed in Zambia, with government institutions taking numerous actions to silence private media critical of the ruling party. Similarly, the government often harasses those who raise voices critical of government actions.

Although an abundance of unskilled labor exists in Zambia, investors complain that the supply of skilled and semi-skilled labor is inadequate. Labor-management relations vary by sector. Zambia’s population is estimated to be over 16 million, with the majority of the population being of employable age. Labor demand, however, does not match supply and Zambia has high rates of unemployment, youth unemployment, and underemployment while living costs have risen steadily. The government adheres closely to International Labor Organization (ILO) conventions and has ratified all eight ILO core conventions. The government has been engaged in revising labor laws to improve compliance since 2006. There are still gaps in law and practice. Strikes are not uncommon in the public sector and often are related to the government’s failure to pay salaries or allowances on time, but lawful strikes are very difficult to hold due to several restrictions and conditions.

Labor laws provide for extremely generous severance pay, leave, and other benefits to workers, which can impede investment. Such rules do not apply to personnel hired on a short-term basis. As such, the vast majority of Zambian employees are hired on an informal or short-term basis. In July 2012, the GRZ revised the Minimum Wages and Conditions of Employment Act, Chapter 276 for various categories of workers following the amendment of various statutory instruments.

The Employment Act, Chapter 268 covers employment and labor related issues. While the law recognizes the right of workers to form and join independent unions, conduct legal strikes, and bargain collectively, there are statutory restrictions limiting these rights. Police officers, military personnel, and certain other categories of workers are excluded from exercising these rights. No trade union can be registered if it claims to represent a class of employees already represented by an existing trade union. At least 25 members are required and registration may take up to six months. The government has discretionary power to exclude certain categories of workers, including prison staff, judges, registrars of the court, magistrates, and local court justices from labor law provisions. The law also gives the labor commissioner the power to suspend and appoint an interim executive board of a trade union, as well as to dissolve the board and call for a new election.

The government generally protects unions’ right to conduct their activities without interference. All categories of workers except police and military are free to form or join unions. Workers’ organizations are independent of government and political parties. Trade unions are independent of government but the Ministry of Labor and Social Security is ultimately responsible for employment exchange services and enforcing labor legislation. An employer is allowed to terminate a contract of service on grounds of redundancy, however, the Employment Act requires the employer fulfill certain conditions before terminating a contract of service on such grounds. One of these conditions is notifying the employee’s trade union. The Act makes a clear distinction between layoffs and severance. In the event an employee is summarily dismissed, he/she shall be paid upon dismissal the wages and allowances due up to the date of such dismissal. The government formally permits employment of expatriate labor only in sectors where there is scarcity of local personnel, but investors promoting large scale investments can negotiate the number of work permits that they can obtain from the Department of Immigration to employ expatriates.

The law does not limit the scope of collective bargaining, but it allows, in certain cases, either party to refer a labor dispute to court or arbitration. The law also allows for a maximum period of one year from the day on which the complaint is filed within which a court must consider the complaint and issue its ruling. The law provides for the right to strike provided that recourse to all legal options is first exhausted. The law prohibits workers engaged in a broadly defined range of essential services from striking. Under Zambian law, essential services are defined as any activity relating to the generation, supply, or distribution of electricity; the supply and distribution of water and sewage removal; fire departments; and the mining sector. Employees in the Zambian Defense Forces and judiciary as well as police, prison, and the Zambia Security Intelligence Service (ZSIS) personnel are also considered essential. The government has power to add other services to the list of essential services, in consultation with the tripartite consultative labor council.

The process of exhausting the legal alternatives to a strike is lengthy. The law also limits the maximum duration of a strike to 14 days, after which, if the dispute remains unsolved, it is referred to the court. A strike can be discontinued if the court finds it not to be “in the public interest.” Workers who engage in illegal strikes may be dismissed by employers. The Industrial and Labor Relations Act, Chapter 269, Part IX covers the settling of labor disputes. Aggrieved parties may report the matter to a labor officer, who would take steps deemed fit to effect a settlement between the parties and would encourage the use of collective bargaining facilities where applicable. In the event of a collective dispute between an employer and a trade union regarding the terms and conditions of employment, claims and demands must be put in writing and both parties must have held at least one meeting with a view to reaching a settlement but failed. Such disputes are referred to a conciliator or board of conciliators to be appointed by both parties to the dispute. If the conciliator fails to resolve the problem, the conciliator will inform the Labor Commissioner. The Commissioner will then request the Minister of Labor to appoint a conciliator who will again call the parties to consider the dispute. If all efforts to resolve the matter fail, it is then taken to the Industrial Relations Court for arbitration.

The practice of collective bargaining is very much used by trade unions. In 2017, hundreds of Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) employees in Chililabombwe protested to demand salary increment which they alleged had been static for four years. The government urged the aggrieved miners to allow dialogue between their employer and their respective labor unions to resolve the matter instead of going on strike. Meetings among KCM, the Mine workers Union of Zambia (MUZ), National Union of Mine and Allied Workers (NUMAW) and the United Mine Workers Union of Zambia (UMUZ) resolved the matter but did not disclose settlement details. In March 2018, workers of the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) in Zambia, who had not received their salaries for the prior three months, threatened to go on strike, but called off the strike after government intervention.

Other internationally recognized fundamental labor rights, including the elimination of forced labor, child labor employment, discrimination, minimum wage, occupational safety and health, and weekly work hours are all recognized under domestic law, but enforcement is often weak. In 2016, Zambia made a moderate advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. The government hired additional labor inspectors and approved a new development assistance framework that aims to prevent the worst forms of child labor. The government also supported the development of programming to empower adolescent girls and reduce child labor in rural areas. However, children in Zambia continue to engage in the worst forms of child labor, including in the production of tobacco, and in commercial sexual exploitation, sometimes as a result of human trafficking. Gaps remain in the legal framework related to children; for example, the Education Act does not include the specific age to which education is compulsory, which may leave children under the legal working age vulnerable to the worst forms of child labor. In addition, law enforcement agencies lack the necessary human and financial resources to adequately enforce laws against child labor. There is no documented figure of children in Zambia who are engaged in child labor, but studies point to a yearly increase in the number of these children, who work primarily in the agriculture and mining sectors. Cotton, tobacco, cattle, gems, and stones are included on the U.S. Government’s List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor in Zambia.

The Department of Labor and the Department of Occupational Safety and Health of the Ministry of Labor and Social Security monitor labor abuses, as well as health and safety standards in low-wage assembly operations such as construction. Two main social partners, the Zambian Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and the Zambian Federation of Employers (ZFE), assist with Ministry of Labor enforcement. The worker and employer organizations are consulted at tripartite gatherings on any proposed policy document or legislation, and they participate in labor inspections. The Ministry of Labor produces annual inspection reports, which are made available to social partners. In December 2015, parliament passed and the president signed a suite of amendments to the Employment Act that prohibit casual labor and increase protections for unskilled workers. Zambia has benefited from duty-free and quota-free market access from the GSP in the U.S. market under AGOA.

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) is active in Zambia with several projects underway and more opportunities exist in strategic sectors. OPIC and Zambia signed an agreement in June 1999 that provides for OPIC support through the African Trade Insurance Agency. This institution, open to all African states that are members of the AU, provides exporters with insurance against receivables on export trade deals and political risk insurance for trade transactions. Zambia is also a signatory to MIGA, which guarantees foreign investment protection in cases of war, strife, disasters, other disturbances, or expropriation.

Host country currency exchange restrictions can affect the commercial viability of a project, making it difficult to convert and transfer profits. OPIC inconvertibility coverage can insure conversion and transfer of earnings, returns of capital, principal, and interest payments, technical assistance fees, and similar remittances pursuant to the bilateral agreement providing for the OPIC program while giving priority for U.S. government expenses.

Table 2: Key Macroeconomic Data, U.S. FDI in Host Country/Economy

Host Country Statistical Source USG or International Statistical Source USG or International Source of Data:
BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
Economic Data Year Amount Year Amount
Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (M USD) 2016 USD 21.089 2016 USD 21.064 www.worldbank.org/en/country 
Foreign Direct Investment Host Country Statistical Source USG or International Statistical Source USG or International Source of Data:
BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
U.S. FDI in Partner Country (M USD, stock positions) 2016 N/A 2016 USD 68 BEA data available at
Host Country’s FDI in the United States (M USD, stock positions) 2016 N/A 2016 N/A BEA data available at
Total Inbound Stock of FDI as % host GDP 2016 3.14% 2016 7.5% http://www.boz.zm/statistics3.htm 


Host country statistical data used are almost non-existent. If they exist there is not a central source for retrieving the data and at most times do not match international source.

Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI

Direct Investment from/in Counterpart Economy Data
From Top Five Sources/To Top Five Destinations (US Dollars, Millions)
Inward Direct Investment Outward Direct Investment
Total Inward Amount 100% Total Outward Amount 100%
Canada USD 3,585 22 China, P.R. Mainland USD 1,081 34
Switzerland USD 2,516 15 Congo, Dem Rep Of USD 494 15
British Virgin Islands USD 2,058 13 Switzerland USD 257 8
China, P.R. Mainland USD 1,945 12 United States USD 232 7
South Africa USD 1,455 9 United Kingdom USD 230 7
“0” reflects amounts rounded to +/- USD 500,000.

Table 4: Sources of Portfolio Investment

Data not available.

U.S. Embassy Political/Economic Section
Commercial Team
Stand 100, Kabulonga Road, Ibex Hill, Lusaka, Zambia
+260-211 357000
Email Address: commerciallusaka@state.gov

2018 Investment Climate Statements: Zambia
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