Zambia is located in Central Southern region of Africa. It is bordered to the North by Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC); to the east by Malawi and Mozambique; to the south by Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia; and to the west by Angola.

Zambia has a well developed transport, economic and trade linkages with all its neighbours, with Lusaka acting as a significant centre of commerce.

These linkages extend beyond its neighbours, with the country having strong connections into Eastern Africa and the Republic of South Africa, either through exports or imports of critical inputs, equipment, ingredients, packaging and other industry services.


Zambia was one of the fastest growing economies in the World between 2004 and 2014, with real GDP growth averaging 6.7% per annum. In 2016, the economy grew 3.4%.

While mining has been the mainstay of the Zambian economy for many years, contributing significantly to its export incomes, the country has over the last few years turned the corner with agriculture, manufacturing, retail and services sector contributing more to its economy, driving prosperity to greater heights.

Regionally, Zambia is a member of two key regional groupings:

  • Common Market for Eastern & Southern Africa (COMESA), which brings together all the key economies in the two regions, except South Africa. These countries include Burundi, the Comoros, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Sudan, Swaziland, Seychelles, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. COMESA is headquartered in Lusaka, Zambia. It has a free trade area and a customs union, with access to over 390 million consumers.
  • Southern African Development Cooperation (SADC), which is a Regional Economic Community comprising 15 member states; Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The SADC region has a population of over 280 million.

These regional economic blocks place Zambia at the centre of two strong, economically diverse and huge markets of over 600 million people, from South Africa to the south to Egypt to the northern part of Africa.


The agriculture sector in Zambia contributes about 5.4% to the GDP while the industry/manufacturing sector contributes 35.7% according to the World Factbook.

According to the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA), the country’s manufacturing sector is largely driven by the agro processing (food and beverages) and leather subsectors.

Zambia’s agriculture sector has been one of the leading lights in Africa producing an array of crops including maize (corn), sorghum, rice, peanuts, sunflower seeds, fruits and vegetables,  sugarcane, cassava and coffee. It is also a significant producer of cattle, goats, pigs, poultry, milk and eggs.

Zambia is self-reliant on maize, one of the key food security crops in the region, producing over 3.6 million metric tonnes in the 2017 harvest season, much more than the country can consume. The country has become a leading source of maize and other agricultural commodities into the COMESA and SADC zone.

To build on the success of its agriculture sector, Zambia has one of the fastest growing grains storage, handling, milling and trading industries. The vibrant grains related industry has attracted local, regional and international giants such as Zambeef, Afgri and Cargill, which have operations in the country’s value chain.

Oilseeds, sugarcane, wheat, rice and animal feed industries have also received high profile investors from the region, tapping into the rising demand. The horticulture export sector, though in its early days, has huge potential to grow into a critical regional player in the next few years.

In the livestock sector, The livestock sector in Zambia was worth over US$1.5 billion in 2013, accounting for about 35% of agriculture’ share of national gross domestic product (GDP), with the sector experiencing steady growth in recent years.

The beef and dairy products grow around 7% and 10% annually respectively, while the poultry industry doubled in size over between 2003 and 2013, according to the Zambian Economist. 

According to ZDA, the Government has put in place measures to support manufacturing activities through the establishment of Multi-Facility Economic Zones (MFEZs) and Industrial Parks for both export and domestic orientated industries, with the necessary support infrastructure installed. It has also provided  number of sector-specific investment incentives in the manufacturing sector


Zambia has taken advantage of export opportunities into the surrounding countries in the SADC and COMESA region with its agricultural and manufactured goods. Countries as far away as Kenya and South Africa import from the country. 

According to the ZDA, major Zambian products exported include cereals (rice, maize and maize meal and assorted snacks), grains (soya beans and beans) fruits and vegetables, seeds, animal feed (for poultry, fish, pork and cattle).

Others include cassava and processed foods including maheu, live animals, animal products and other beverages and snacks, bottled water, legumes and dry fish.