The Zambian Economist at the Crossroads of Global Business
When Zambia hosted its first International Business Conference in January, it was a great opportunity to introduce the country’s most dynamic business community leaders. The first session to open for questions, and later the rest of the day, was a Q&A session with the top 20 most influential entrepreneurs in Africa (with the exception of NEPAD, the new economic and social partnership to promote trade and economic development in Asia and the Pacific (NEPAD-ZAM).
During that conference, a panel discussion was conducted with the main economic indicators of Zambia from the National Statistical Service of Zambia for the years ended March 2009 (data published at http://www.stats.gov.zm/web/zmweb.nsf/eng/pagesource?openView&siteID=0&navMenuItemID=4&viewMode=2).
According to the economist, who is also a member of the World Bank’s Institute for Statistics and Demography (ISD) Zambia has the fifth largest GDP per capita in Africa (GDP per capita in dollars as of year ended March 2009).
He pointed out that Zambia is considered to be one of the largest emerging economies in the world. According to him, most Zambians would agree that the country is the breadbasket of Africa: he added that Zambia has the second highest per capita income and is the largest net contributor to the gross national income.
The main economic growth driver has been the non-agricultural sector with export-oriented products, which has increased rapidly in the past few years but the agricultural sector has also been expanding. There still has been a huge challenge to attract investment to the agricultural sector.
At the moment, Zambia ranks second from the bottom in all the economic indicators of the Global Innovation Index from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). This is due to the fact that Zambian exports still remain low in comparison with the other African countries.
However, Zambia is gradually moving towards a position that will be second only to the United States. It was one of the four emerging economies that made into the Top 20 of the Global Innovation Index. According to the economist, this is the