Doing business

Current business situation

Zambia is a landlocked country in Southern Africa that is bordered by eight countries with an estimated population of 16 million people. It is rich in natural resources, has a stable political climate and a strong legal and financial system.

Zambia has 40 per cent of the water resources in Southern Africa and there is significant potential for the agricultural sector with a large land mass, the majority of which is arable. Currently, only 14 per cent of the land is under cultivation and the government has plans to develop the sector given its key role in promoting growth and alleviating poverty.

Business culture

Shaking of hands is the common form of greeting before and after meetings. It is not common practice for business cards to be exchanged at the start of a meeting. It can be difficult to secure appointments in Zambia and contacts may take some time to respond to requests. It can be more productive to contact people by telephone in advance to establish the context for your request before emailing them. It is essential to confirm all appointments.

Setting up in Zambia

Australian companies are advised to spend time investigating the market, obtain professional advice where appropriate and thoroughly investigate the issues in entering the market and establishing business relationships.

Australian firms wishing to operate in this country should commit to the highest level of corporate behaviour and familiarise themselves with Australia's law and penalties pertaining to bribery of foreign officials.

In an effort to attract businesses to create employment and economic growth, the Government has established the Zambian Development Agency (ZDA) as a one-stop-shop for business registration, licences and investment incentives.

The ZDA also administers various rebates, tax incentives and investment protection to all foreign businesses investing in Zambia. It is not mandatory but advisable to select a local partner to operate in Zambia to assist with local knowledge and the government encourages foreign companies to employ Zambians.

Banking and finance

The Bank of Zambia (BOZ) supervises banks and other financial service institutions registered under the Act to ensure a safe and sound financial system. Currently, there are commercial banks licensed under the Banking and Financial Services Act of 1994.

The majority of banks are subsidiaries of foreign banks such as Barclays, Standard Chartered, Standard Bank and Citi Bank and they are also the most dominant and oldest financial institutions in Zambia. Their dominance is reflected in the size of their total assets, relative to other financial institutions, as well as in their relatively wider role in financial intermediation.

ATM’s are available across the country and credit cards are a widely acceptable method of payment.

Links and resources

Government, business and trade

Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry
Zambia Development Agency
Zambia Revenue Authority

News and media

The Post
Zambia Daily Mail

Please note: This list of websites and resources is not definitive. Inclusion in this list does not imply endorsement by Austrade. The information provided is a guide only. The content is for information and carries no warranty; as such, the addressee must exercise their own discretion in its use. Australia’s anti-bribery laws apply overseas and Austrade will not provide business related services to any party who breaches the law and will report credible evidence of any breach. For further information, please see foreign bribery information and awareness pack.