Can Zambia's Copper become a Flywheel for Industrialisation?

Zambia is overly reliant on copper, and yet copper mining remains key to the country’s future. The long-term prospects for copper are appealing, given its broad array of applications to modern technology. Current policy conditions for copper production and processing are, however, sub-optimal. This paper demonstrates the need for structural transformation in the Zambian economy. Given the imperative in both the Africa Mining Vision and Zambia’s Seventh National Development Plan for mining to play a strong role in diversifying the economy, this paper evaluates the current obstacles to success and provides a tentative roadmap out of the commodity trap. It argues that islands of effectiveness that connect mining to other economic sectors must be identified and replicated if Zambia is to manoeuvre its way out of its debt conundrum. Structural barriers to transformation can be further overcome if macro-level policy is improved to incentivise long-term and broad-based growth over short-term gains, which will ultimately prove counter-productive.