The manufacturing sector in Zambia accounts for about 11 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and has been growing at an average annual growth rate of three (3) percent in the last five years. Growth in the sector is largely driven by the agro processing (food and beverages), textiles and leather subsectors. Secondary processing of metals in another main activity in the sector, including the smelting and refining of copper, and this has led to the manufacturing of metal products. Fertilizers, chemicals, explosives and construction materials such as cement are also produced in the sector. Other activities include wood products and paper products.
The manufacturing activities in the country are undertaken by the private sector with government playing a proactive role. The sector is of vital importance in relation to the country’ macroeconomic strategy for encouraging broad based economic growth. In this regard, the Government has put in place measures to support manufacturing activities, such as the establishment of Multi-Facility Economic Zones (MFEZs) and Industrial Parks (these are industrial areas for both export orientated and domestic orientated industries, with the necessary support infrastructure installed), and provision of sector-specific investment incentives. Government also promotes small and medium enterprises in rural and urban areas so as to enhance labour intensive light manufacturing activities in these areas.
The sector has attracted significant investment in recent years (foreign direct investment stocks in the sector totalled about US$ 1,200 million as of 2009), and other than producing many different products, manufacturing also absorbs much of the output from other sectors such as agriculture, and also supplies inputs into the other sectors such as mining and construction.