Moving to Zambia
Expats moving to Zambia with the right attitude are in for a real treat. Zambia is a beautiful country with varied wildlife and abundant natural wonders, including the magnificent Victoria Falls and Zambezi River. The country is relatively sparsely populated and most of the country’s 13 million people live either in the capital, Lusaka, the mineral-rich Copperbelt region or in Livingstone, the second largest city and a popular tourist hub.
Those who are unwilling to give up some of their modern luxuries and necessities may struggle to adjust to life in Zambia. Poor infrastructure, poverty, a limited selection of goods, poor healthcare and local diseases are some of the real, but largely manageable, challenges faced by the Zambia expat.
Government schooling is generally not up to international standards, although expensive private schools are an option and there are a number of international schools in Lusaka. Expats in more rural areas may also consider homeschooling as an option for their children.
Large portions of the population still struggle below the poverty line, and while the Zambian government is attempting to diversify its economy, most of its income is still generated through copper mining and tourism. Agriculture is also a major contributor to Zambia’s economy. As a result, few expats move to Zambia for casual or services based work, with most having been placed by international companies and organisations. Expats of mostly British, Indian and South African origin are present in the country. Increased Chinese investment in Zambia in recent years has also seen Chinese expats migrate to Zambia.
Western expats are unlikely to struggle with a language barrier as English is the lingua franca of business and schooling, and most Zambians, particularly in the major urban centres, will speak English.
According to local expat lore, there are two kinds of expats in Zambia: those that make a hasty exit within three months, and those who never want to leave. Unlike other African expat postings, such as Nigeria and Angola, expats in Zambia have far more opportunity to break free of the segregated world of the expat compound and mingle with the local people to enjoy their friendly and warm spirit.