It covers payment methods and information on, banking systems, foreign exchange controls, and U.S. and correspondent banking.
Methods of Payment
Credit is the most common method of payment used for Zambian imports. In general, Zambian companies find it difficult to finance their own imports and seek credit arrangements, but businesses considering offering their exports on credit should make a very careful check of the bona fides and finances of Zambian companies before doing so. Delinquent payments, especially from government ministries or government parastatal companies, to suppliers are a common problem in Zambia. Cash-in-advance payment methods are advisable, especially when dealing with small companies. The Credit Rating Agency Limited (CRA) is one of the few companies in Zambia that is authorized by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and approved by the Lusaka Stock Exchange Limited (LuSE) as a Designated Financial Advisor to SMEs.
Zambia has a few debt-collection companies, such as Zambia Attorney Collection, Inc., Bulwark Debt Collection Agency, and Incasso Partners.
Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted in most hotels, major restaurants, travel agencies, and stores. Most banks have automated teller machines (ATM) that accept Visa and MasterCard, and to a considerably lesser extent American Express. For more information about the methods of payment or trade finance options, please read the Trade Finance Guide.
Zambia’s commercial banking sector is comprised of 19 international and local banks. All banks operating in Zambia must incorporate locally. As a result, there are no local retail branches of foreign (including U.S.) banks or financial institutions. Citibank Zambia Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Citicorp NY, provides corporate banking services in Zambia.
The banking sector is supervised by the Bank of Zambia (BoZ), which reports to the Ministry of Finance. The sector is governed by the Banking and Financial Services Act of 1994. Industry observers generally credit the BoZ with making great strides to improve bank oversight over the past several years. The Financial Intelligence Center (FIC) was established in 2010 through an Act of Parliament to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. The FIC officially became a full Egmont Group member in September 2018. Additional information on the FIC can be found at http://www.fic.gov.zm/.
The banking sector expansion has led to a number of entities operating in multiple sectors such as banking, insurance, and the capital market. The regulatory environment is still fragmented and has multiple regulators, such as the Pensions Insurance Authority, BoZ, and SEC.
Foreign Exchange Controls: Bank accounts may be held in local or foreign currency, and funds are easily transferred out of the country or held offshore. Amounts over $5,000, carried in or out in cash or travelers’ checks, must be declared. Commercial banks and bureau de change operators restrict issuance of over-the-counter cash to $5,000 per transaction.
The BoZ manages the country’s foreign exchange reserves and participates in open market operations to either build reserves or smooth exchange rate volatility.
U.S. Banks and Local Correspondent Banks
Zambia has one U.S.-owned bank, with locations in Lusaka and Ndola:
Citibank Zambia Limited | Lusaka
Stand 4646, Corner Chikwa/Nasser Road
Addis Ababa Roundabout
P.O. Box 30037
Tel: +260 211 444 492 | +260 211 444 493
Fax: +260 211 258 911
Citibank | Ndola
Atlas Copco Building, Industrial Area
P.O. Box 70686
Tel: +260 212 651434 | +260 212 651436
Fax: +260 212 651 43
To access Zambia’s ICS section on financing, visit the U.S. Department of State Investment Climate Statement website.