Working in Zambia
The majority of expats working in Zambia have been transferred there to work within their organisation’s local branch, such as larger banks, mining corporations and some telecommunications giants. Others find employment in the tourism or healthcare sector, are NGO workers or are in the country for volunteer or missionary work.
Agriculture plays a central role in Zambia’s economy, accounting for the vast majority of employment in both the formal and informal sector. There are few service jobs in Zambia, and industry is largely focused around copper mining. This does mean that people with skills in the mining sector are needed, and Zambia’s intention to expand its nickel mining capabilities suggests that there will be new opportunities for the foreseeable future.
Unemployment rates are high, and a large percentage of the population continues to live below the poverty line. Almost all unskilled and service work is done by locals and there is little opportunity for the foreigner without valuable skills.
Lusaka is the business hub of Zambia and where the majority of expats will most likely be based. Smaller towns and villages around mining areas are also home to clusters of expats. Livingston, close to Victoria Falls and the Zambezi River, is an important centre of the country’s tourism sector and home to many foreigners.
Although Zambians are known to be somewhat formal in their communication style, they are friendly and welcoming. A very relaxed attitude to time may be something expats may need to adjust to in the work place. Zambians are never really in a hurry and deadlines are somewhat of a vague concept, while meetings and appointments rarely begin at the designated time.
Expats working in Zambia require a valid work permit. While there are no major restrictions for expats seeking work opportunities in Zambia, foreigners are not permitted to work in human resources positions.