Delegation of the European Union to Ethiopia

Zambia and the EU

These relations are conducted within the framework of the Cotonou Agreement, a global agreement signed in 2000 between African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States and the European Union. The cooperation between the two started in 1975 with the coming into force of the Lomé Convention, precursor to the present Cotonou Agreement. This is the year that the office of the Delegation of the EU was established in Lusaka.

The relations between Zambia and the EU are based on the EU Treaty. One of the purposes of EU policy in Zambia is to contribute to the general objective of developing and consolidation democracy, the rule of law and of respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Development cooperation is one of the main aspects in Zambia-EU relations. The aim is to foster the sustainable economic and social development, Zambia's smooth and gradual integration into the world economy, in order to reduce poverty in the country. These objectives are confirmed in the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement, which is the binding agreement that governs the relations between Zambia and the EU.

Further, development assistance to Zambia is in line with the European Consensus on Development, the internationally agreed Millennium Development Goals and the aid effectiveness agenda. Along with other Cooperating Partners in Zambia, the EU is fostering coordination, harmonisation and alignment with the Government, through the Joint Assistance Strategy for Zambia – JASZ  

EU-Zambia relations are further guided by the EU Strategy for Africa which provides a long-term, strategic framework for interaction between Europe and Africa through various institutions including the African Union, regional and national authorities. It defines how the EU can best support Africa’s own efforts to promote sustainable development and reach the Millennium Development Goals.

Bilateral trade

As a Least Developed Country (LDC), Zambia benefits from a variety of preferential market access initiatives such as the EU Everything-But-Arms initiative (EBA) under which Zambian goods exported to the EU enjoy a duty-free, quota free treatment.

According to 2016 Zambian data, the EU remains an important trade partner for Zambia, being its 3rd import partner and its 7th export partner.

The bilateral trade in goods was at 786 million EUR in 2016:

  • EU goods imports from Zambia: 434 million EUR

  • EU goods exports to Zambia: 352 million EUR

    EU's imports from Zambia are mainly primary products (non-ferrous metals and agricultural products). EU's main exports to Zambia were machinery, transport equipment and chemical products. Zambia has opportunities to increase its exports to Europe. The country can also emerge as regional food exporter and develop long-term competitiveness of local mining supply cluster.

    For more information on the EU-Zambia bilateral trade, please have a look at the:

  • Summarised factsheet, or

  • Detailed factsheet

In line with its Communication "Trade, Growth and Development – Tailoring trade and investment policy for those countries most in need", the EU seeks to ensure that its trade and development policies help developing countries, in particular, Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to benefit from increased trade opportunities.

In Zambia, the EU proposes a number of ways to improve the effectiveness of EU trade and development, including:

  • Bilateral trade: through the Everything but Arms Initiative, the EU aims to ensure that Zambia benefits from duty free and quota free access to the EU market;

  • Aid for Trade: the EU provides financial assistance to help Zambia undertake domestic reforms to develop its capacity to trade, to produce, as well as the institutional and economic infrastructure necessary to expand trade.

  • The EU provides an online service, the Trade Helpdesk to facilitate market access to exporters, especially small operators, who are interested in supplying the EU market. In turn, the Market Access Database has been specifically designed to address the needs of EU-based exporters and importers. 

EU Investment relations with Zambia

Zambia has definitive advantages to attract investors:

  • Peaceful and stable economic environment,

  • abundant natural resources,

  • access to water,

  • profile to become an energy and agricultural exporter.

    In 2016, Zambia was the 7th best performing country in Sub-Saharan Africa (and the 98th in the world) in terms of business environment, according to the Ease of Doing Business index.

    The EU Foreign Direct Investment stocks in the country is in second place after OECD non-EU countries, and followed closely by Asian investments and by significantly lower amounts from COMESA and SADC. In terms of FDI flows, the EU also occupies the second place, with 35.3% of the total FDI flows into Zambia in 2015.

    In terms of investors' perception, 2016 Bank of Zambia survey indicated that starting a business, overall ease of doing business, and paying taxes got favourable evaluation of respondents, whereas getting credit, enforcing contracts, trading across borders and resolving insolvency were rated unsatisfactorily. The main concerns of investors included high cost of doing business, the macroeconomic environment, the bureaucratic administrative procedures, and the poor service delivery by key institutional players. 

    Zambian Development Agency was created in 2006 to facilitate investments in Zambia. Zambia declared as well  six areas as Multi-Facility Economic Zones (MFEZ) and/or Industrial Parks.


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