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Zambia Economy

Zambia's economy in numbers:

Nominal GDP of USD 29.1 billion in 2022.

GDP per capita of USD 1,454 compared to the global average of USD 10,589.

Average real GDP growth of 3.6% over the last decade.

Share of the region's population
Share of the region's GDP

Economic structure:

In 2021, services accounted for 50% of overall GDP, manufacturing 9%, other industrial activity 38%, and agriculture 3%. Looking at GDP by expenditure, private consumption accounted for 38% of GDP in 2021, government consumption 15%, fixed investment 32%, and net exports 15%.

GDP by economic sector
GDP by type of expenditure

International trade:

In 2020, manufactured products made up 10% of total merchandise exports, mineral fuels 2%, food 8%, ores and metals 79% and agricultural raw materials 1%, with other categories accounting for 0% of the total. In the same period, manufactured products made up 77% of total merchandise imports, mineral fuels 10%, food 9%, ores and metals 4% and agricultural raw materials 1%, with other goods accounting for -1% of the total. Total exports were worth USD 12 billion in 2022, while total imports were USD 8 billion.

Key exports
Key imports
Key export partners
Key import partners

Economic growth:

The economy recorded average annual growth of 3.6% in the decade to 2022. To read more about GDP growth in Zambia, go to our dedicated page.

Fiscal policy:

Zambia's fiscal deficit averaged 7.7% of GDP in the decade to 2022. Find out more on our dedicated page.


The unemployment rate averaged 7.1% in the decade to 2022. For more information on Zambia's unemployment click here.


Inflation averaged 11.0% in the decade to 2022. Go to our Zambia inflation page for extra insight.

Monetary Policy:

Zambia's monetary policy rate ended 2022 at 9.00%, down from 9.25% a decade earlier. See our Zambia monetary policy page for additional details.

Exchange Rate:

From end-2012 to end-2022 the kwacha weakened by 71.4% vs the U.S. dollar. For more info on the kwacha, click here.
GDP growth accelerated to 5.8% in 2023 (2022: +5.2%), spearheaded by rebounding construction and financial activity. In addition, the real estate sector gained steam, and agricultural output fell at a milder pace. Turning to 2024, available data points to mounting headwinds to activity: Drought conditions have dented crop yields and energy supply, and prompted the government to declare a national disaster in Q1. Moreover, in January–March, inflation rose—likely weighing on purchasing power—and the private-sector PMI averaged in contractionary territory. Data for the external sector was also downbeat as goods exports fell by double-digits in Q1. Moving to Q2, the kwacha recently hit a fresh all-time low against the USD amid currency shortages and the driest farming season in over 40 years; the country is seeking USD 228 million in international aid to combat the crisis.
Projections out to 2033.

42 indicators covered including both annual and quarterly frequencies.

Consensus Forecasts based on a panel of 17 expert analysts.

Want to get insight on the economic outlook for Zambia in the coming years? FocusEconomics collects projections out to 2033 on 42 economic indicators for Zambia from a panel of 17 analysts at the leading national, regional and global forecast institutions. These projections are then validated by our in-house team of economists and data analysts, and averaged to provide one Consensus Forecast you can rely on for each indicator. This means you avoid the risk of relying on out of date, biased or outlier forecasts. Our Consensus Forecasts can be visualized in whichever way best suits your needs, including via interactive online dashboards , direct data delivery and executive-style reports which combine analysts' projections with timely written analysis from our in-house team of economists on the latest developments in the Zambia economy. To download a sample report on the Zambia's economy, click here . To get in touch with our team for more information, fill in the form at the bottom of this page .

Zambia Economic Data

2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Population (million) 17.8 18.4 18.9 19.5 20.0
GDP (USD bn) 26.9 23.2 18.1 22.1 29.1
GDP per capita (USD) 1,508 1,261 956 1,136 1,454
GDP (ZMW bn) 283 300 332 443 494
Economic Growth (Nominal GDP, ann. var. %) 15.0 6.1 10.6 33.5 11.4
Economic Growth (GDP, ann. var. %) 4.0 1.4 -3.0 4.8 5.2
Fiscal Balance (% of GDP) -8.3 -9.4 -13.8 -8.1 -7.8
Public Debt (% of GDP) 75.2 94.4 140.0 111.0 99.5
Money (ann. var. of M2 %) 15.4 12.2 47.2 6.7 21.0
Inflation (CPI, ann. var. %, eop) 7.9 11.7 19.2 16.4 9.9
Inflation (CPI, ann. var. %, aop) 7.5 9.2 15.7 22.0 11.0
Policy Rate (%, eop) 9.75 11.50 8.00 9.00 9.00
Exchange Rate (ZMW per USD, eop) 11.98 14.14 21.20 16.72 18.17
Exchange Rate (ZMW per USD, aop) 10.53 12.97 18.36 20.03 16.97
Current Account Balance (USD bn) -0.3 0.2 2.1 2.6 1.1
Current Account Balance (% of GDP) -1.3 0.7 11.8 11.9 3.8
Merchandise Trade Balance (USD bn) 0.5 0.7 3.2 4.8 3.4
Merchandise Exports (USD bn) 9.0 7.2 8.0 11.2 11.5
Merchandise Imports (USD bn) 8.5 6.5 4.8 6.4 8.1
Merchandise Exports (ann. var. %) 9.9 -19.8 10.4 40.0 2.7
Merchandise Imports (ann. var. %) 17.4 -23.6 -26.4 33.4 27.4
Foreign Direct Investment (USD bn) 0.4 0.9 0.2 -0.4 0.1
International Reserves (USD bn) 1.6 1.4 1.2 2.8 3.0
International Reserves (months of imports) 2.2 2.7 3.0 5.2 4.4
External Debt (USD bn) 25.0 29.8 30.0 27.3 28.7
External Debt (% of GDP) 93.1 128.5 165.7 123.6 98.6

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