“It is our firm belief that domestic and foreign direct investment brings the much-needed capital, technology, management techniques and knowledge of foreign markets,” Hakainde Hichilema, President of Zambia.” H.E. Hakainde Hichilema
Since the election of His Excellency President Hakainde Hichilema in August 2021, Zambia has become unrelenting in its drive to expand the economy and become a mining and energy hub of Africa. By creating favorable investment policies and business-friendly reforms, Zambia has realigned with international best practices and generated renewed confidence in the investment climate of its mining and energy sectors.
As many nations are facing opportunities in the energy transition, Zambia has worked to position itself to capitalize on the global drive for essential minerals to facilitate these green transitions. These efforts lend to the nation’s dedication to renewable energy resources and have resulted in the ambitious goal to increase Zambia’s copper production to 3 million tons each year. To push this agenda forward, the country’s top copper producer, Canadian First Quantum Minerals (FQM), has finalized a general investment of US$1.35 billion for mining expansion in Zambia, the nation’s largest since the Sentinel project was approved in 2012. This investment includes the US$1.25 billion expansion of the Kansanshi copper mine in Zambia, which was initiated in January 2020.
These investments continue to push forward Zambia’s renewable energy solutions to further support the green transition. Ana Hajduka, founder and CEO of Africa GreenCo, confirms, “Renewable energy in Zambia is an inevitable undertaking owing to the fact that Zambia boasts of significant renewable energy resources such as adequate wind, irradiation, and a well-structured river network backed by good hydrology. This allows Zambia to draw closer to claiming its title as the regional renewable energy trading hub.”
Indeed, around 85% of Zambia’s electricity comes from hydropower, and its potential continues to grow, offering attractive propositions for investors. Zambia boasts the largest hydropower plants, generating almost 2,000 MW combined. Hon. Peter Chibwe Kapala, Minister of Energy, adds, “Renewables are the way forward. By 2030, we should be able to achieve most of the things that are set out in our party manifesto and encourage more private investment.” As the northernmost region of Zambia receives more rainfall, the Ministry of Energy is shifting its focus to emphasize hydropower in the north. Solar energy is another source of renewable energy, as Zambia has solar resources in abundance. Ultimately, the nation’s plan is a balanced and complementary energy mix to eliminate intermittency and offer uninterrupted power generation.
To reach its fullest potential, Zambia relies on its strategic position and interconnectivity with neighboring countries, which offer many opportunities in terms of trade and power generation. Caroline Royer, Managing Director and Country Chair of TotalEnergies Zambia, states, “Some people say that Zambia is landlocked, but others say it is land-linked. There are many countries around and many possibilities.” Victor Mapani, Managing Director of ZESCO, adds that interconnectivity is essential for the energy and mining sectors. He says, “You must have interconnectivity with neighbors, and we are in the center. We are land-linked. If we have interconnections with neighboring countries, we can export and import power comfortably. In terms of hydropower, we want to exploit the hydro potential we have. We are very well
positioned with water and now also centrally located.” Through upcoming Memorandums of Understanding, Zambia is set to interconnect with nations such as the DRC, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Angola.