FORBES’ annual ranking of the finest countries for capitalism has ranked Zambia the seventh best country for doing business out of 54 African countries.
Forbes has also rated Zambia as one of the world’s fastest growing economies for the last 10 years, with real gross domestic product (GDP) growth averaging between six and seven percent each year.
Mauritius takes the number one in Africa followed by South Africa while Morocco is third with Botswana in the fourth position in Africa.
Cape Verde is fifth followed by Rwanda and Zambia in seventh position.
Ghana is one rung below Zambia taking number eight with Senegal and Tunisia in the ninth and 10th positions, respectively.
“Globally, the top 10 [globally] were Denmark, New Zealand, Norway, Ireland, Sweden, Finland, Canada, Singapore, Netherlands and United Kingdom.
“This rating saw global giants such as the United States of America slipping down due to shareholder governance and tax issues,” the report reads in part.
The report states that privatisation of State-owned copper mines in the 1990s relieved Government from covering mammoth losses generated by the underperforming industries.
It adds that this greatly increased copper mining output and profitability, spurring economic growth.
“Copper output increased steadily from 2004, due to higher copper prices and foreign investment, but weakened in 2014 when Zambia was overtaken by the Democratic Republic of Congo as Africa’s largest copper producer,” it reads in part.
And University of Zambia (UNZA) lecturer Euston Chiputa has said that the ranking of Zambia as seventh best country in Africa for doing business is commendable.
Dr Chiputa said the ranking means that Zambia is still one of the best destinations for investment despite the economic challenges the country is going through.
“Some people have tried to paint a picture that Zambia is the worst country to the outside world when we are a lot better than many African countries in terms of governance and upholding of human rights, among other things,” Dr Chiputa said.
He said the ranking speaks volumes of the country’s conducive investment climate.
“We Zambians must have confidence in our economy and our leaders that things will get better. Measures have been put in place to address the economic challenges being faced,” Dr Chiputa said.
And Zambians for Empowerment and Development leader Frederick Mutesa said the Forbes’ ranking means that the country has a good climate for foreign direct investment (FDI). He said this is despite the country’s ranking falling from third position in 2014 to seventh this year.
“We should be proud of the ranking and endeavour to maintain the status because it is good for the country as a whole,” Dr Mutesa said.
He, however, said Government should support the ranking with appropriate policies and consistency in policy direction to attract more foreign investments as well as local ones.
“Otherwise in a year that has been characterised by gloom and doom, Forbes’ ranking reminds us of the potential the country still possesses which can be used to our advantage,” he said.
Mr Mutesa said going forward in 2016, the country should endeavour to improve the 2015 ranking and stakeholders such as civil society organisations, media, political parties and Government are also required to play a part.