Ease of Doing Business Rank: 85



Geographic location

The Republic of Zambia is a landlocked country in south central Africa.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo lies to the north, Angola lies to the west, Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe to the south and Mozambique, Malawi and Tanzania to the east.

Spoken language

English is the official language and the major language of business and education. It is only spoken by approximately 2% of the population as a first language, but is the most commonly used second language.

According to the 2000 census, Zambia’s most widely spoken languages are Bemba (35%), Nyanja (37%), Tonga (25%) and Lozi (18%).


The 2020 population estimate is 18.38 million.

Lusaka is the largest city (1.26 million), followed by Kitwe (400,914) and Ndola (394,518).

Popular industries

The top industries in Zambia are copper and emerald mining and processing, construction, manufacturing, beverages, food, textiles, chemicals, fertilizer and horticulture.


The Legatum Prosperity Index ranks Zambia’s educational system 126th out of 167 countries.

Popular entity types

The most common type of business entities in Zambia are Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, Private Limited Liability Company and Public Limited Liability Company.

The majority of businesses are in the form of a Private Limited Liability Company.

Zambia incentives for business

Zambia offers tax incentives to companies investing US$500,000 and above in a Multi Facility Economic Zone, an Industrial Park, a Priority Sector or through a Rural Enterprise.

Incentives include a tax exemption on dividends, profits and import duties on capital goods and machinery for the first five years. Companies also enjoy guarantees against nationalization and free applications for immigration permits, secondary licenses, land acquisition and utilities.

Businesses investing up to US$250,000 are entitled to the non-fiscal incentives mentioned above, but not tax exemptions.

Zambia offers a foreign tax credit to offset taxes paid abroad up to the amount of Zambian taxes due, providing income was generated in a region with an applicable DTT.

History & Features


Main cities for business

Lusaka is the capital and financial center of the country.

Popular historical & tourist attractions

Zambia is known for its stunning natural beauty and biodiversity. Its sole UNESCO World Heritage site is Victoria Falls, is the world’s greatest sheet of falling water. Visit Livingstone Island and bathe in Devil’s Pool perched on the edge of a 100 meter drop at the falls.

South Luangwa National Park includes leopards, elephants, hippos, giraffes, impalas and more. The region also has over 400 species of birds. Lusaka National Park offers views of white rhinos in the wild.

Kafue National Park is the largest park in Zambia and one of the biggest in the world. Visitors may spot crocodiles, cheetahs, lions, leopards, zebras and wildebeest.

The city of Livingstone was once the province’s capital. Today, it is best-known for the Livingstone Museum which holds a collection of the famous late-Victorian explorer’s memorabilia and artifacts.

Shiwa Ng’andu Manor House is a testament to the English influence in Zambia during the early 20th century. Built as a lifelong project by an English aristocrat, the once grand home includes formal gardens, a lake, chapel and a red-brick gatehouse.

In the capital city of Lusaka, you’ll find the Lusaka National Museum, shopping in regional markets, plenty of local art and handicrafts and even a reptile park featuring crocodiles.


Bantu-speaking peoples first immigrated to the area now known as Zambia in the 15th century. Great influxes arrived in the late 17th and early 19th centuries from southern Democratic Republic of Congo and northern Angola.

Widespread chaos and warfare among indigenous ethnic communities in southern Africa between 1815 and 1840 led to more migration from southern regions.

The Portuguese were the first European power to claim the region in the 18th century. Other European visitors followed in the 19th century, including David Livingstone. The Scottish explorer discovered the falls on the Zambezi River in 1855 and named them after Queen Victoria.

By 1888, the British South Africa Company had obtained the mineral rights for the region from local chiefs. Northern and Southern Rhodesia (Zambia and Zimbabwe) fell under British rule when they annexed Northern Rhodesia Zimbabwe in 1923 and Southern Rhodesia became a protectorate in 1924.

In 1953, North and South Rhodesia united with Nyasaland (Malawi) to form the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. However, Northern Rhodesia experienced much unrest and Africans demanded more political participation.

The elections in 1962 resulted in an African majority in the legislative council. However, the two African nationalist parties shared an uneasy coalition.

In 1963, the federation dissolved. Northern Rhodesia became the Republic of Zambia in 1964. However, the newly-formed national lacked skilled government officials and the economy relied on foreign interests.

Additionally, Zambia was surrounded by colonial or white-dominated countries including the Portuguese colonies of Mozambique and Angola and South African-controlled South-West Africa (Namibia).

Throughout the following decade, the country supported African independence initiatives in Angola, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Namibia. By the late 1970s, Mozambique, Angola and Zimbabwe were independent. Civil war in the former Portuguese colonies and Zambia’s strong support for the ANC in South Africa led to problems within their borders.

In the mid-1970s, Zambia suffered from a drop in copper prices and growing debt. In 1972, they became a one-party state. Debt and inflation continued to increase until the 1990s and protests and riots erupted. Their leader was removed from office and the country returned to multiparty democracy. During the 2000s, the economy stabilized.

Today, Zambia operates under a representative democratic republic. They have a mixed economy.

Other relevant facts

According to 2010 data, most people identify as Bemba (21%), followed by Tonga (13.6%), Chewa (7.4%), Lozi (5.7%), Nsenga (5.3%), Tumbuka (4.4%), Ngoni (4%), Lala (3.1%), Kaonde (2.9%), Namwanga (2.8%), Lunda (2.6%), Mambwe (2.5%), Luvale (2.2%), Lamba (2.1%), Ushi (1.9%), Lenje (1.6%), Bisa (1.6%), Mbunda (1.2%), other (13.8%) and unspecified (.4%).

The same data suggests most people identify as Protestant (77.3%), followed by Catholic (19.2%), other religion (14%) or no religion (9.8%).

Additional Information for Business

According to Forbes’ 2019 Best Countries for Business, Zambia is the 103rd best country in the world for conducting business.

The 2019 Index of Economic Freedom rates Zambia 147th globally and states, “Economic freedom will increase in Zambia if the government succeeds in its attempt to stimulate value-added industrialization and promote economic diversification by leveraging private investment and foreign direct investment, but the country’s poor scores on Index indicators related to the rule of law highlight the difficulty of achieving those goals.”

World Bank’s “Doing Business” rankings rate the Zambia 85th for ease of doing business in the world.

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