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Alba Iulia
Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Zambia is the largest importer of Goods in Comesa region

Economy Zambia is the largest importer of Goods in Comesa region

File:Delegates at the COMESA Council of Ministers conference in Lusaka
File:Delegates at the COMESA Council of Ministers conference in Lusaka

ZAMBIA is the biggest importer in COMESA after she posted the biggest market share of 25 percent in 2013 and is likely to record a much higher figure this year, says business council chief executive officer Sandra Uwera.

Ms Uwera attributed the increase in the market share to a large number of products that Zambia imports.

She said Zambia was followed by DR Congo, Libya, Kenya and Uganda with intra-COMESA import market shares of 18.2 percent, 12.7 percent, 6.5 percent and 6.4 percent respectively.

“The level of intra-trade growth in COMESA region over the past two years clearly indicates that the private sector has begun to take advantage of the opportunities before them and grow the region to new heights,” she said.

She also said the services industry had shown notable growth over the last 20 years and accounts for 70 per cent of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Ms Uwera said the role of services and its significance was largely accelerating beyond the traditional contributors – manufacturing, agriculture and mining.

“In the COMESA region services contribute to an average of 50 percent of GDP of COMESA member states with the contribution being even higher for countries like Mauritius, Kenya, Seychelles and Egypt.

‘‘One of the key industries that drives the services sector in the region is tourism,” she said.

Meanwhile, Ms Uwera said the COMESA region achieved an average growth rate of 6.6 percent in 2013, up from 5.5 percent in 2012 and underscores again the region’s resilience to global and regional headwinds.

She said Zambia was among the countries that contributed to the regional growth together with Madagascar, Congo DR, Burundi and the Comoros.

She explained that COMESA’s trade with the rest of the world currently stands at US$283 billion in 2013 with total exports at US$113 billion in 2013 while imports were US$170 billion in the same year.

“Regarding intra-COMESA trade in 2013, total trade grew by over 8 per cent compared to 2012, from levels of US$19.3 billion to US$20.9 billion.

“Contributing to this regional growth were Swaziland, Madagascar, Congo DR, Zambia, Burundi and the Comoros,” she said.


  1. COMESA is a good concept for intra-trade but we need to elevate ourselves above this level – we need to broaden our parameters of economic growth and start thinking of Kenya, Uganda and even South Africa as competition and not only as trade partners.

    Instead of boasting about the large number of imports, we need to ask ourselves: “how do we begin to produce on Zambian soil that which we are importing today?”

    • Too much importing leads to imbalance of trade and depreciation of the Kwacha because the demand for forex goes up, yet we have no goods to export to get back the much needed forex. Worse still, our govt thinks it can stabilize the money market by infusing unsustainable forex to bring down the exchange rates. VISONLESS and LACK OF UNDERSTANDING!

  2. What a shame, this is an indication that we don’t manufacture much if anything and we love shopping and every Jim and Jack goes out to Dar, Dubai Turkey, China to bring in useless staff. Our economy can’t do well. Zambians woke up.
    The Govt can also put in some measures to encourage, promote local industry

  3. This is very disgraceful news.What does government plan to do to rectify this.We are very far behind but we should start from somewhere.

  4. It would be nice for the reporter to also itemise what the major imports and exports are so the casual reader or budding entreprenuer might be inspired to start something!!!

    • This information should have been part of the business infrastructure created by the Govt initiative so that it is readily available to investors. In the USA, you really don’t need a reporter to get such information, it should be in the public domain.

  5. Most Zambians are lazy especially civil servants.Nowonder kwacha is losing value coz they know nothing.The major problem is that all jobs are for relatives and cadres.The country will never develop.Another problem is stealing from Govt coffers.Most pipo doing business are civil servants who steal from govt.The country lack monitoring system n institutions.Kana icisungu mukanwa.Bwafya we pipo full of theories.The bank of Zambia has failed to stop kwacha from depreciating.They don’t know that indians are keeping dollars at home.and which institution is monitoring even pipo charging rentals in dollars ?Fyapa radio without action.We have no serious pipo in govts.Civil servants must be all fired and replace them with new ones.These are same chaps who teach ministers how to steal.

  6. Shameful news. We must start by planning how to reverse the trend. We need to revive and sustain the manufacturing sector.

  7. Of course, we are the biggest importers, mostly from South Africa. Worst of all, we import a lot more from China. We have ministers and other officials going to bring in container loads of imports, even things made locally. It is the reason our own companies fail to survive and become bigger employers. Look at steel in Kafue, roofing tile manufacturers like Zinitz Ltd and others. They all lose out to the Chinese are unlikely to survive. It is the disease, the lack of vision, which is causing the Kwacha to tumble down like a heavy rock. It is not rocket science. We have no hope, as a nation if we can’t build up our own companies and support them to the hilt.

    • It is the costs of production killing Zambia together with greed. Cooking oil importation was banned recently and Zambian manufactures decided to increase prices to get rich overnight. The ban has since been lifted. Then you have commerce minister mwanakatwe not dealing with real issues, but attending all irrelevant conferences just yapping.

  8. The Headquarters of Comesa is in Zambia but what has puzzled me though all these years is, how come no Zambian has headed this institution before? Moreover, I have never heard any of the able Zambians working in Comesa, why?

  9. This is no surprise. ..especially country where a President can import about 2000 pointless solar powered hammer mills from China without checking whether local manufacturers can take up the task.

  10. Rich Zambians and those with economic intelligence are the real problem. Only want to be envied, but do not want to develop the nation. It starts with all of us Zambians, the government cannot do everything themselves.

    Viva Edith Nawakwi.

  11. If you drink coca cola shut up,if you buy goods in shoprite & pick n pay shut up,if you buy fuel for your car shut up,if you bought your car online shut up,that toilet you sit on in the morning was imported using dollar please shut up.
    Shut up shut up please with all this rubbish talk,all of you have become economists and entrepreneurs now that you work hard to pay for few goods.the one thing I have come to appreciate about this pathetic situation is all the kids who can no longer buy party nax know its because they have this thing called a dollar and how useless all efforts are against it.these kids will be better than all you.

  12. The Trade imbalance is as a result of greed, selfishness and ‘cleverness’ of some of our politicians and government technocrats, who have worked to suppress local production development. Diversification at time of plenty was, and is only viable solution.

  13. You can imagine even the gadgets for the digital migration (what ever they are called) will be imported emass from China just because some corrupt Govt worker has a cut. Why can’t those be assembled/ made locally as they did with some pre paid Zesco metres, give some youths some jos. We need to address this cancer of importing. Some of these things , its not rocket science, they can be made especially those that have to be produced in huge quantities

  14. The point all our posters are not getting is this :

    As a Comesa member, Zambia has to allow these imports into our country DUTY FREE. So we lose enormous tax revenues because we have joined into a customs group which has a serious imbalance. We import from Kenya, Tanzania etc but we export nothing to them. So its a one sided equation.

    Get out of Comesa and charge duty on these imports. Our local companies get some protection, and ZRA gets revenue.

    By the way you jokers, South Africa is not part of COMESA its part of SADC and thats another one-sided customs group that is soooo one sided. All imports from South Africa are absolutely duty free.

    Which thick moron ***** would want to set up factory in Zambia. Rather set up in South Africa and pump it duty free into Zambia…

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