Supporting The Public Sector of Zambia



Public spending on education was 1.3 per cent of GDP in 2008. There are seven years of compulsory education starting at the age of seven. The presence of private primary, secondary and higher education institutions is backed by the Ministry of Education in Zambia, under Part IV of the Education Amendment Act. All private educational institutions in Zambia are required to register under the Act, which defines a private school as a school in which ‘no financial assistance is provided by the Minister or in respect of which the only financial assistance provided by the minister is a grant’. The act also allows for the creation of a National Council of Education for the Republic, which can include officers of private institutions. In 2012 3.1 per cent of primary school children were educated privately.

Public universities include the University of Zambia, Copperbelt University and Mulungushi University. There are a number of private universities, including Zambia Open and Cavendish University. Literacy among people aged 15–24 is 74 per cent (2010).


Public spending on health was four per cent of GDP in 2010. Only 61 per cent of people use an improved drinking water source and 48 per cent have access to adequate sanitation facilities (2010). Infant mortality was 53 per 1,000 live births in 2011. Infant mortality rates fell from 141 per 1,000 live births in 1965 to 90 in 1980, then, due to AIDS, rose to 112 in 1999 and only began to fall again in 2002. AIDS prevention, control and management programmes are given prominence in all health programmes. In 2011, 12.5 per cent of people aged 15–49 were HIV positive.

Zambia’s Ministry of Health backs private sector participation in the health sector. One objective of the ministry’s National Health Strategic Plan 2011–15 is to promote private sector participation in the provision of specialised care. The strategic plan looks at methods of resource mobilisation, including exploring alternative ways of raising health finances including public–private partnerships, private and social health insurance and earmarked taxes. There are 271 private health care facilities in Zambia and 1,489 public health care facilities.


The Zambia National Housing Authority supports private sector participation in the housing sector, as outlined in the 1996 Zambia National Housing Policy. Zambia has experienced an increase in investment in the housing sector through the development of housing estates in recent years.


There are 91,440 km of roads, 22 km of which are paved, and 1,273 km of railway (not including the Tazara Railway). There are international airports at Lusaka (26 km east of the city) and Mfuwe (in the South Luangwa National Park), and more than 100 other airports and airstrips throughout the country.

Rail: The Zambia Development Agency Infrastructure Sector Profile 2013 highlights the government’s desire to seek private sector participation in the rail networks. In 2003 a South African consortium was granted a 20-year licence to manage Zambia Railways. Rail networks remain the dominant mode of transportation for goods on local and international routes, but the infrastructure requires urgent rehabilitation. There is access to the Mozambican port of Beira (also to Maputo) via Livingstone and the Zimbabwe railway system; to the Tanzanian port of Dar es Salaam, via the Tazara Railway; and to Durban in South Africa, also via Livingstone and the Zimbabwe railway system. Since 2000, plans have been under way for a new rail route to be built connecting Lusaka to Blantyre in Malawi, giving access to the port of Nacala in Mozambique.