Zambia is a large, landlocked, resource-rich country with sparsely populated land in the center of Southern Africa. It shares its border with eight countries (Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe) that serve as an expanded market for its goods.
Zambia is experiencing a large demographic shift and is one of the world’s youngest countries by median age. Its population, much of it urban, is estimated at about 17.9 million and is growing rapidly at 2.8% per year, partly because of high fertility, resulting in the population doubling close to every 25 years. This trend is expected to continue as the large youth population enters reproductive age, which will put even more pressure on the demand for jobs, health care and other social services.
The Zambian economy is expected to recover by 3.3 percent in 2021 following a historic contraction of 2.8 percent in 2020. The recovery is driven by high copper prices, improved pot-election market confidence, and continued recovery in agriculture. Poverty is expected to increase slightly in 2021 by 0.2 percentage points to 60.3 percent, reflecting COVID-19 impacts. Economic activity will gradually pick up, averaging 3.8 percent over 2022-25. However, risks stemming from prolonged debt negotiations and low COVID-19 vaccination rates will need to be managed.
Growth in the first three quarters of 2021 picked up to 4%, reflecting recovery in activities across all sectors except mining, which has been beset by COVID-related supply chain disruptions and excessive rainfall. High copper prices, improved market confidence following the August 2021 elections, and normal rainfall patterns are expected to buoy economic activity in 2022. Inflation has remained in double digits since mid-2019, reflecting exchange rate and food price pressures.
Zambia gained its independence in 1964, under the leadership of first President Kenneth Kaunda. The nation is considered a stable country with successful democratic elections held every five years. After many years of a one-party state, Zambia became a multi-party state in 1991.
Zambia’s democracy is evident by the nine Presidential elections and four different political parties that have so far ruled the country. Among them are the United National Independence Party (UNIP 1964-1991), Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD 1996-2011), Patriotic Front (PF2011-2021) and currently the United Party for National Development (UPND). The current President Hakainde Hichilema of the UPND was elected in August 2021, after defeating then-incumbent President Edgar Lungu of the Patriotic Front. The next presidential elections in Zambia will be held on August 12, 2026.
Last Updated: Apr 17, 2022