Promoting job-rich urbanisation in Zambia

Project Active from to Cities

Gregory Randolph and Dhruv Jain

  • With a shifting economic structure, Zambia finds itself at an important juncture in determining its urban future. Zambia must create 1.2 million net new urban jobs by 2025 to keep up with growing city populations.
  • This report identifies a mix of policies to maximise the prospects of ‘good’ urbanisation in Zambia, conducive to the creation of high-productivity and better paid jobs.
  • Specific policy recommendations are based on three principles: managing existing urban systems, enabling firm expansion, and strengthening links among firms and consumers.
  • Findings were disseminated to the Ministry for Local Government and Housing and Lusaka City Council. They were also included in Zambia's Seventh National Development Plan.

Zambia is witnessing a dramatic labour market shift as its workforce moves out of agriculture. With the process of structural transformation accelerating, Zambia’s cities are assuming greater importance in ensuring its people have access to productive employment. This project provides a strategic assessment of the policy priorities for Zambian cities, laying out principles and steps to create the job-rich urbanisation the country requires. The project forms part of larger research project launched by the Zambia Institute for Policy Analysis and Research (ZIPAR).

The paper produced by the Just Jobs Network (JJN), in collaboration with ZIPAR and IGC Zambia, synthesises existing national and international research and data to identify the policy frameworks that support successful urban job creation, drawing on international examples where necessary; and assessing current urban job creation policies and strategies in Zambia.

The paper suggests making future urban policy focused on (1) managing existing urban systems, (2) enabling firm expansion, (3) and strengthening links among firms and consumers. In particular, policy recommendations include recognising and upgrading informal settlements, extending cluster-based industrial policy, improving connectivity through transport infrastructure, and revitalising the Copperbelt as an urban region.

The findings of the report have fed into the drafting of the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP), with a chapter on urbanisation recognising many of the findings, including those on MSMEs, connectivity and upgrading informal settlements. The IGC Zambia office has since continued to engage government stakeholders around issues raised in the report.