Survey identifies constraints faced by exporters from Zambia


High cost of production and restrictive import regulations have been identified to be among some of the key constraints facing exporters, as showed by the 2023 Export Survey launched by the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA).

Other identified constraints included cumbersome export procedures, high duty in export markets and Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs).

The survey launched in Lusaka on Tuesday showed that as a result of such constraints, a 29.9 percent decline in the production capacity was recorded.

“In 2023, 10.3 percent of exporters operated at full capacity in comparison to 14.7 percent of exporters in 2022, representing a 29.9 percent decline in the production capacity.

“The significant factors impacting production capacity included the supply of raw materials, insufficient working capital, insufficient skilled labour, insufficient domestic demand and policy-related measures,” the report showed.

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Generally, Non-Traditional Exports (NTEs) in 2023 increased to US$4.23 billion from US$3.52 billion recorded in 2022, representing 20.28 percent.

However, from the exporters that participated in the survey, US$1.21 billion worth of NTEs was recorded in 2023 in comparison to US$2.89 billion recorded in 2022, representing a decrease of 58.32 percent.

Responding to these findings, Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister, Chipoka Mulenga, said government was cognisant of some of the challenges experienced by exporters.

Mulenga said these included high cost of doing business, export bans, bureaucratic export procedures and high export duties in target markets, among others.

He said this in a speech read on his behalf by the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Lillian Bwalya.

“I am glad to inform you that I had the opportunity to read through the exporter survey report which has highlighted comprehensively the factors affecting exports and exporters.

“The government, particularly my ministry will analyse these challenges and ensure formulation and revision of policies and strategies to mitigate the effects thereof,” Mulenga said.

Meanwhile, ZDA Chairperson, Biemba Maliti, said the agency undertook the export survey annually to assess the performance of Zambia’s NTEs and propose interventions in addressing the identified issues.

“It is worth noting that in 2023, the agency linked 283 exporters from various sectors to export markets.

“From the linkages, US$98.3 million worth of export leads and US$3.7 million confirmed orders were recorded mainly from the agro-processing, chemicals and manufacturing sectors,” Maliti said.

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