Doing Business in Zambia
The World Bank in 2011 named Zambia among the 10 most improved economies in the ease of doing business in the world, which included two others – Cape Verde and Rwanda – from Sub Saharan Africa. Every year, the World Bank recognizes 10 economies that improved the most in the ease of doing business in the previous year and introduced policy reforms in at least 3 business regulatory areas. Zambia was also ranked among the best 5 performing countries in Southern Africa. In assessing a country’s ease of doing business, the World Bank considers the following: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, registering property, getting credit, protecting investments, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, and closing a business.
The Zambian Government has made a policy decision to enter the international capital market by issuing its first sovereign bond. This follows positive credit ratings from internationally renowned credit rating firms Standards and Poor’s, and Fitch Ratings who both assigned Zambia a B+ (long term foreign and local currency Issuer Default Rating) in March 2011.
On its part, the Zambian government is aggressively addressing the issue of reducing the cost of doing business in Zambia by improving infrastructure such as roads, telecommunications, energy and water which are all embodied in the objectives of the SNDP. The Government, through the central bank, has also created a favorable macroeconomic environment that has led to a downward trend in the cost of borrowing to improve access to long term finance at lower interest rates. Continuous and concerted efforts are being made to streamline the licensing procedures by ensuring that only necessary licenses are issued at a reasonable cost and with minimum bureaucracy. Time-wasting procedures that may confront foreign investors elsewhere are being eliminated in Zambia and legal requirements have been reduced to an absolute minimum.