The year 2021 saw a political shift in Zambia as President Edgar Lungu and the Patriotic Front government were defeated by Hakainde Hichilema and the United Party of National Development. Hichilema’s “new dawn” government has promised to lead a process of democratic renewal, and the removal of Lungu sparked optimism for enhanced political rights and civil liberties.

Zambia’s economic recovery continues, but challenges persist. Although inflation dropped, it has not met government targets. Economic growth at 3.1% in 2022 also fell below the 4% goal. Facilitating business setup and diversifying economic activities remain a major challenge. Copper remains the major export good (70% – 80%), while agricultural exports rose slightly from 1.3% of GDP in 2019 to 3.4% in 2021.

The government’s first budget provided for the recruitment of 30,000 teachers and 11,000 nurses but also favored cutting mineral royalties over reducing the cost of living. While meant to attract investment and economic growth, this strategy reduced government revenue, resulting in a budget deficit. Prioritizing debt restructuring is crucial for Zambia’s return to economic stability.

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