Zambia’s Top Trading Partners

Zambia's Top Trading Partners

Giraffe in Zambian sunset

Zambia shipped US$7 billion worth of products around the globe in 2015. That figure represents a tiny 04% sliver of overall global exports estimated at $16.329 trillion.

From a continental perspective, $3.2 billion or 45.9% of Zambia’s total exports by value in 2015 were delivered to European trade partners.

Asian importers purchased 26.8% of Zambian shipments while 24.1% worth of products arrived in African countries.

At less than 1% (0.13%), a much smaller portion of Zambian exports were bought by customers in Latin America (excluding Mexico) and Caribbean nations.

Zambia’s Top 15 Trading Partners

Top 15

Below is a list showcasing 15 of Zambia’s top trading partners in terms of export sales. That is, countries that imported the most Zambian shipments by dollar value during 2015. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Zambian exports.

  1. Switzerland: US$3.1 billion (44.3% of total Zambia exports)
  2. China: $1 billion (14.5%)
  3. Singapore: $545.5 million (7.8%)
  4. South Africa: $534.3 million (7.7%)
  5. Congo: $532.1 million (7.6%)
  6. Zimbabwe: $266.8 million (3.8%)
  7. Australia: $208.7 million (3%)
  8. Malawi: $107.3 million (1.5%)
  9. Hong Kong: $102.7 million (1.5%)
  10. Japan: $81.6 million (1.2%)
  11. United Arab Emirates: $69.9 million (1%)
  12. United Kingdom: $65.8 million (0.9%)
  13. Tanzania: $48.7 million (0.7%)
  14. Kenya: $40.2 million (0.6%)
  15. Mozambique: $40.2 million (0.6%)

Almost all (96.6%) of Zambian exports in 2015 were delivered to the above 15 trade partners.

Congo increased its import purchases from Zambia by the highest percentage from 2011 to 2015 with a gain exceeding 43,000%. In second place was Australia (up 16,923%) followed by Hong Kong (up 3,264%), Japan (up 2,012%) and Singapore (up 1,828%).

United Kingdom decreased its Zambian import purchases by the greatest rate, down -80.2% over the 5-year period.

Deficits

As defined by Investopedia, a country whose total value of all imported goods is higher than its value of all exports is said to have a negative trade balance or deficit.

It would be unrealistic for any exporting nation to expect across-the-board positive trade balances with all its importing partners. Similarly, that export country doesn’t necessarily post a negative trade balance with each individual partner with which it exchanges exports and imports.

In 2015, Zambia incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries:

  1. South Africa: -US$2.1 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2015)
  2. Mauritius: -$465.5 million
  3. Congo: -$414.4 million
  4. Kuwait: -$394 million
  5. Kenya: -$371.7 million
  6. India: -$340.5 million
  7. Spain: -$212.9 million
  8. United States: -$135.7 million
  9. United Kingdom: -$124.7 million
  10. United Arab Emirates: -$104.6 million

Among Zambia’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Zambian deficits with Spain (up 10,419%), Kenya (up 663.2%) and India (up 53.4%) grew at the fastest pace from 2011 to 2015.

These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Zambia’s competitive disadvantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Zambia to develop country-specific strategies to strengthen its overall position in international trade.

Surpluses

Based on Investopedia’s definition of net importer, a country whose total value of all imported goods is lower than its value of all exports is said to have a positive trade balance or surplus.

In 2015, Zambia incurred the highest trade surpluses with the following countries:

  1. Switzerland: US$3 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2015)
  2. Singapore: $397.2 million
  3. China: $320.3 million
  4. Zimbabwe: $176.7 million
  5. Australia: $155.5 million
  6. Malawi: $89.8 million
  7. Hong Kong: $19.2 million
  8. Botswana: $12.5 million
  9. Central African Republic: $9.5 million
  10. Thailand: $9.4 million

Among Zambia’s top trading partners, only Zimbabwe expanded its purchases from Zambia with a 13.9% gain from 2011 to 2015.

These positive cashflow streams clearly indicate Zambia’s competitive advantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Zambia to develop country-specific strategies to optimize its overall position in international trade.

Companies

Companies Servicing Zambian Trading Partners

Not one Zambian corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000 for 2015.

Wikipedia lists exporters from Zambia including companies engaged in international trade. Selected examples are shown below:

  • Chilanga Cement (cement, cement clinker)
  • Konkola Copper Mines (copper mining, smelter)
  • Zambeef Products (beef, milk, eggs)
  • Zambezi Airlines (airliner)
  • Zambian Breweries Plc (lagers, bottling)
  • ZCCM Investments Holdings (copper-mining conglomerate)


 
See alsoZambia’s Top 10 Exports and Top African Export Countries

Research Sources:
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on June 10, 2016

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on June 10, 2016

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on October 20, 2017

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on October 20, 2017

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Zambia. Accessed on October 20, 2017

Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on October 20, 2017