Trade and Economy

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Trade and Economy

Overview
Zambia has recorded several favourable macroeconomic indicators for over a decade. The average Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate of 6 percent has been anchored by good performance in the mining, agriculture, manufacturing, services and construction sectors. During this period, the country's average GDP growth rate has also been generally higher than that achieved in the sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) region. In addition, the country attained the lower middle income status in 2010 and by 2015 its per capita GDP had reached US$1, 800.

Regarding foreign direct investment, inflows into Zambia rose from US$ 72 million in 2008 to a high of US$ 2,100 million in 2013, before reducing to US$ 1,300 million in 2014. In 2014 and first half of 2015, international prices of primary commodities were generally low, which temporarily affected the country's export earnings and some macroeconomic indicators. By June 2016, Zambia had a total of US$1.8 billion in investment pledges across various economic sectors over the preceding six months. The energy sector registered the highest amount of the pledged investments, followed by the agriculture and the manufacturing. This represents an increase of 20%, compared with the US$1.5 billion investment pledges recorded in the first half of 2015.

It should also be noted that as a result of Zambia's business environment reforms, the country is now ranked 8th in Africa, 5th in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and 4th in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMASA) in terms of the ease of doing business. Furthermore, Zambia is ranked the 8th most competitive country in Africa on the Global Competitiveness Index. Recently, Zambia was ranked 7th by Forbes as the best country for doing business among 54 African countries.

In the area of trade, Zambia recorded a positive trade balance of US$ 300.6 million in 2014, as well as an increase in non-traditional exports (NTEs) over the years from US$ 1,381.8million in 2010 to USD 3,550.3 million in 2013. Copper and cobalt are among Zambia's main exports while non-traditional exports include cotton, coffee, fresh flowers, burley tobacco, gemstones and maize (corn) among others.
Zambia is also eligible to export duty-free goods to the United States under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). The Act allows eligible countries from sub-Saharan Africa to export over 6,400 goods to the U.S.
The Vision 2030
The Zambian people aspirations and vision is to make the country a prosperous Middle Income Nation by 2030. It is in this regard that the Zambian Government came up with a national long term plan known as the Vision 2030 which long term development policy scenarios at different points for the next 20 years.
The Vision is being operationalised through the five year developments plans and annual budgets.

The socio-economic development objectives enshrined in the Vision 2030 are to: attain and sustain annual real growth of 6 percent (2006-2010); 8 percent (2011-2015); 9 percent (2016-2020); and 10 percent between 2021 and 2030. Other objectives include to attain and maintain a moderate inflation rate of 5 percent; to reduce national poverty head count to less than 20 percent of the population to reduce income inequalities measured Gini-coefficient of less than 40 percent; to provide secure access to safe water and improved sanitation facilities of 100 percent of the population across the country; to attain education for all; and to provide equitable access to quality health care to all by 2030.

The Sixth National Development Plan (SNDP)
The Zambian Government in 2011 launched and started implementing the Sixth National Development Plan which aims at actualizing the Vision 2030 of becoming "a prosperous Middle-Income nation by 2030". In 2013, the SNDP was revised with it primarily formulated as an investment plan which contains quantifiable programmes to inform sector planning andbudgeting processes. These programmes were put in place to respond to the strategic focus of the Plan and its theme of “People Centered Economic Growth and Development" .

The Plan focuses on public capital investments that have a bias to rural development and job creation so as to achieve inclusive growth. The main investment areas are in skills development; science and technology; agriculture; livestock and fisheries.
The plan also includes include energy and infrastructure development, particularly transport infrastructure while enhancing human development related sectors of water and sanitation, education and health. Other equally important programmes which are mainly of recurrent nature will be provided for in the respective sector policies and shall accordingly be given priority in the annual budgets.
As the implementation of the R-SNDP runs from 2013-2016, the Government is currently undertaking a consultative process for the development of the Seventh National Development Plan, which will be implemented from 2017 to 2021.