With six successful democratic elections since 1991, Zambia is known for its political stability. The next general elections are scheduled for August 11, 2016 which will be guided by the new constitution ratified in January 2016. Major constitutional changes include reduced presidential powers, introduction of 50 + one vote for presidential elections, vice president voted by the electorate, and a minimum of Grade 12 academic qualifications to qualify for a parliamentary seat.

Zambia’s economy grew at an average annual rate of 7% between 2010 and 2014. However, global headwinds and domestic pressures have strained the Zambian economy. Consequently, growth in 2015 fell to an estimated 3% (compared to 4.9% in 2014) following a six-year low in copper prices, increasing power outages, and El Nino-related poor harvests. Growth is expected to remain around 3% in 2016, subject to the 2016 harvest, the mining industry’s reaction to softer copper prices, and stabilization of the power situation. The benefits of gross domestic product (GDP) growth have accrued mainly to the richer segments of the population in urban areas. Zambia has a very unequal income distribution (Gini coefficient = 55.6).

The falling copper prices, exports and foreign direct investment (FDI) have weakened the economy. Copper prices declined by almost a third from their peak in February 2011 to $4,595/ton in February 2016 (LME) and are forecast to remain soft until 2018 as global supply currently exceeds demand. The mine closures in 2015 led to the loss of over 7,700 jobs. Sixty percent of the population lives below the poverty line and 42% are considered to be in extreme poverty. Moreover, the absolute number of poor has increased from about six million in 1991 to 7.9 million in 2010, primarily due to a rapidly growing population.

The Zambian government is in the process of developing the new 7th National Development Plan 2017-2021 (7th NDP). It provides an opportunity to prioritize government objectives towards poverty reduction and strengthening the linkages between budgeting and planning. It is part of the cascading system of planning that commenced with the National Vision 2030 prepared in 2005 and breaks down to rolling annual plans.  A critical legislation in this respect is the Planning and Budgeting Bill 2015, which is expected to be considered by parliamentarians in October 2015. A final draft of the 7th NDP shall be distributed for public discussion just before the elections in August 2016. 

Last Updated: Apr 08, 2016

World Bank Country Partnership Strategy for Zambia

The World Bank’s Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for Zambia for fiscal 2013-2016 is closely aligned with the Zambian government’s Vision 2030 and Zambia’s National Development Plans. The plans are organized around the theme of broad based wealth and job creation through citizenry participation and technological advancement. Specific development goals are to foster a competitive and outward-oriented economy in order to significantly reduce hunger and poverty and reach middle income status.

The CPS has two areas of special emphasis. First, because of the potential fiscal windfall coming from the boom in copper export prices, the CPS supports improved expenditure management and effective use of revenue in collaboration and monitoring with the government and local stakeholders, to benefit as many households as possible.

Second, because of the significant gaps between urban and rural areas, and the need for increased access to regional markets, the CPS supports a program of investments in infrastructure that will increase economic opportunities for all Zambians through improved connectivity and integration, resulting in increased competitiveness.

Currently, infrastructure (roads, water and electricity), accounts for about 60% of the Bank’s portfolio, and the average life of a project is 3.8 years. The other sectors have continued to decline and their shares are currently as follows: environment (11%), agriculture (10%), finance and private sector development (8%), the public sector (8%), and human development (5%). Grants now account for about 18%of the current total net commitments while credits are at 82%.

The World Bank (WB) is conducting the systematic country diagnosis and will be presenting its Country Partnership Framework (CPF) to the World Bank Board in FY17. The strategy is aligned with the government’s development priorities. In a country that displays both low income and middle income characteristics, the strategy supports three objectives that speak to the dual nature of Zambia’s development challenges and opportunities:

  • Reducing poverty and the vulnerability of the poor
  • Improving competitiveness and infrastructure for growth and employment
  • Improving governance and strengthening economic management  

Last Updated: Apr 08, 2016


Livestock Development and Animal Health Project: Designed to improve the productivity of key livestock systems for both female and male smallholder producers.

Irrigation Development and Support Project: designed to increase yields per hectare, value of products and support commercialization of smallholder agriculture through strong market linkages and better management of water resources. The Bank is also supporting a regional project involving Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia in strengthening regional approaches to agricultural technology generation and dissemination by establishing a regional center of excellence for Zambia in food legumes.

Health, Nutrition, and Population

The Bank is currently supporting the Zambian Government to strengthen health systems and improve service delivery through a number of investment projects, and Advisory Services and Analytics through the following projects:


The ROADSIP II was implemented with the support of the World Bank and other development partners. A notable contribution of the Bank’s intervention was the rehabilitation of about 105 km of a section of the trunk road between Lusaka and the Zambia/Zimbabwe border town of Chirundu, as well as the construction of Chiawa and Mufuchani bridges.


Electricity accounts for approximately 14% of the country’s energy supply mix, ranking second to wood fuel. As at March 2016, total World Bank investment commitment to the sector stood at US$165million in two projects: Kafue Town – Muzuma – Victoria Falls Regional Transmission Line Reinforcement Project that aims improving the reliability and capacity for regional power trade in ZESCO’s southern network; and the Lusaka Transmission and Distribution Rehabilitation Project that will increase capacity and improve reliability for the transmission and distribution network in and around Lusaka.


The World Bank group is contributing to a Chamber of Mines and International Council on Mining and Metals collaborative study on nation-wide benefits to the economy from the mining sector, and facilitating the Zambian Mining Local Content Initiative.

Strengthened Climate Resilience

The Zambia Strengthening Climate Resilience Project objective is to strengthen Zambia's institutional framework for climate resilience and improve the adaptive capacity of vulnerable communities in the Barotse sub-basin. This would help to solidify Zambia’s efforts for creating an institutional foundation for sustainable, mainstreamed climate resilient development planning and investment.

Finance and Markets (F&M) Global Practice

Zambia is one of the WBG’s 25 focus countries for achieving Universal Financial Access. Zambia is committed to enhance financial inclusion and signed the Maya Declaration in November 2011 as well the G20 Peer Learning Program.

Finance and Private Sector

The World Bank Group is providing technical assistance to Zambia through the Zambia Investment Climate Program II. The technical assistance is in three areas;

  • Business regulation: which will result in aggregate private sector cost savings of $4.6 million
  • Market competition which will lead to reduction of market concentration in at least one market as a result of removing barriers to competition in input markets
  •  Trade logistics: Improving access to international markets and reducing business costs by streamlining import/export costs and procedures to achieve.


Last Updated: Apr 08, 2016

The World Bank Group’s strategy adheres to the principles agreed with other Cooperating Partners supporting Zambia development efforts as articulated in the Joint Assistance Strategy for Zambia (JASZ) and comprises highly selective targeted interventions that maximize the impact of government’s development efforts.

The World Bank Group

World Bank (WB) support to Zambia commenced in 1955, well before attaining its independence in 1964. As of March 2016, the WB has 14 active projects, including eight national International Development Association-financed projects with a net commitment amount of $577 million, two trust-funded projects ($53m) and four regional projects valued at $225 million. The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is planning to reinstall its Resident Representative in the Lusaka Country Office in the near future.

The IFC has a significant portfolio in Zambia, mostly in agribusiness and financial services as well as manufacturing. The current IFC portfolio in Zambia includes 11 projects, totaling $215.3 million, which is made up of an investment portfolio of $55.9 million and pipeline to the value of $155.8 million. Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) are also providing support for Zambia’s development.

MIGA has about $101 million in commitments in Zambia and guarantees are helping agriculture, livestock and aquaculture development. A MIGA guarantee for Agrivision Africa (formerly Chayton Africa) is helping a large commercial farm in the Copperbelt Province to achieve efficient agricultural practices and expand capacity of a grain processing facility, thereby providing substantial demonstration effect to other farms.

MIGA has also supported the Silverlands Fund through a multi-country Master Reinsurance Contract with the Overseas Private Investment Corporation in Silverlands Ranching Limited which is helping improve and develop a large cattle farm in Zimba, Southern Province.

Regional Trade Facilitation

Zambia has committed to implementing policy reforms to enhance trade along the North-South Corridor and other corridors. It is important that implementation of trade facilitation and administrative reforms, especially at border crossings, be accelerated in order to achieve goals of the North-South Corridor Conference in Lusaka in April 2009.

Last Updated: Apr 08, 2016


Zambia: Commitments by Fiscal Year (in millions of dollars)*

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments