Market in Depth

Zambia: Overview

Sep 20, 2007

Zambia (pop. 12,158,000; GDP/cap US$551), to the east of Angola, was one of the richest countries in Africa in the 1960s. Now, it is one of the poorest. Its poverty can be ascribed largely to the legacy of the profoundly misguided, though not corrupt, President who led Zambia to independence in 1964, Kenneth Kaunda.

Kaunda was committed to state-led development, particularly of the copper mines. When results were poor, Kaunda reacted by asserting stronger state control. To make matters worse the world copper price collapsed in 1975. By the 1980s Zambia's poverty and his government's repressiveness and corruption had made Kaunda highly unpopular. In 1991 he allowed multiparty elections, and lost to Frederick Chiluba.

Chiluba's rule began well by removing price controls and subsidies, reducing regulations, introducing privatization and encouraging foreign investment. Despite his party's overwhelming majority in parliament, he was forced to step down at the end of his second term in January 2002, and was replaced by former vice-president Levy Mwanawasa.

Mwanawasa assumed power after an election crowed by allegations of fraud and ballot-rigging, although international observers (and the Supreme Court) deemed it transparent and free. On February 2003, Chiluba was charged with stealing $40 million from public funds during his time in office. Both supporters and detractors of President Mwanawasa agree that he displays integrity in his public life.

Land can be purchased only by Zambia nationals, companies, established residents and investors. Individuals holding an entry permit may also purchase land. Land may be leased for up to 99 years.

Analysis of Zambia Residential Property Market »

Taxes and Costs

Income tax can be high in Zambia

Rental Income: Rental income earned by nonresidents is taxed at progressive rates, up to 37.50%.

Capital Gains: Capital gains are treated as ordinary income and taxed at progressive rates, up to 37.50%.

Inheritance: There are no inheritance taxes in Zambia.

Residents: Residents are taxed on their worldwide income at progressive rates, up to 37.50%.

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Buying Guide

Buying property costs are moderate in Zambia

Total transaction costs of buying real property in Zambia are around 11% to 16%. The buyer pays for the 5% transfer tax and the 1% registration fee.

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