According to UNCTAD's 2022 World Investment Report, FDI flows into Zambia declined from USD - 173 million in 2020 to USD - 457 million in 2021, following the global economic crisis triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic. That same year, the total stock of FDI was estimated at USD 18.9 billion. FDI remains dominated by large mining investments from Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, China and the United States, in addition to large infrastructure and other projects performed almost entirely by Chinese companies. Zambia's infrastructure, whose poor quality is a barrier to investment, should be strengthened by investments in the road network, railways and the construction of power plants. In 2021, a USD 11 billion standard gauge railway project was announced in Zambia, involving US capital, which would expand essential transport links with the outside world.
As the country largely depends on the mining sector, the government is seeking to diversify the economy and to become less dependent towards copper. To this extent, several tax incentives are granted to foreign investors (for more info, consult the Investment Guide to Zambia by the Zambia Development Agency, ZDA). Generally, Zambian law does not restrict foreign investors in any sector of the economy, although there are some limitations (especially regarding land ownership, as there is no private land in the country, and specific sectors of national interest). However, the increase in taxes on mining companies, the uncertainties concerning the tax framework (a revision of the mining code is underway), the high level of rates Interest and the disputed judicial liquidation of the Konkola mine could create an economic climate unfavorable to foreign investors in the years to come. The regulatory environment does not favour entrepreneurial activity, the requirements for commercial licenses being long and costly, and the application of regulations not being uniform. In addition, the protection of property rights and the enforcement of contracts are still weak by international standards.
|Foreign Direct Investment
|FDI Inward Flow (million USD)
|FDI Stock (million USD)
|Number of Greenfield Investments*
|Value of Greenfield Investments (million USD)
Source: UNCTAD - Latest available data.
Note: * Greenfield Investments are a form of Foreign Direct Investment where a parent company starts a new venture in a foreign country by constructing new operational facilities from the ground up.
Investors who invest at least USD250,000 in any sector or product not provided for as a priority sector or product, is entitled to non-fiscal incentives such as investment guarantees and protection against state nationalization and protection against non-commercial risks (Zambia is a signatory of Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency).
For more info, consult the Investment Guide to Zambia by the ZDA.
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Latest Update: December 2023