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Another Challenge for Zambia is Attracting Investment after Defaulting on its Debt

Zambian officials say they want to diversify the economy and decrease dependence on extractive industries such as copper, which account for most of the country’s exports. Zambia’s Commerce Minister Chipoka Mulenga said the U.S. should be a key partner in that effort.  “But our focus right now is to see how best we can create jobs and revive our economic fortunes by value addition,” said Mulenga. “We want to take advantage of the new energy system that the world is migrating to from fossil fuels into clean and green energy. And we are trying to take advantage of the minerals that we have and bring a consortium of developed players that have the technology already to see how we can develop our copper from exporting concentrates in its raw form into developing it into finished products for the green energy system that we want to go into.” Zambia is Africa’s second-largest producer of copper – after the Democratic Republic of Congo – and an important source of other critical minerals like manganese, nickel, and cobalt.But economists say Zambia’s dependence on minerals means it has not taken advantage of being a member in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) or the Southern African Development Community (SADC).