Copper can save Zambia

Capitalizing on rising demand will have long-term benefits if handled properly, writes Kopo Mapila

The World Today Updated 3 March 2022 Published 1 August 2021 3 minute READ

Kopo Mapila

Holds a Master of Public Policy from Oxford University and has worked in both the public and private sector

As Zambians prepared to go to the polls on August 12, the country was still waiting to hear if it would receive a $13 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund. As the first country to default on external debt last year during the Covid pandemic, Zambia sits at a critical crossroads. If it takes the right path, it has an opportunity to reshape its approach to mining regulation and lay a foundation to reverse the decline in its fortunes.

As Africa’s second largest producer of copper, Zambia has seen the demand for the metal rise. Its role as a critical mineral in the climate race to net zero emissions means this upward trajectory is expected to continue as nations and multinational companies scramble to move away from fossil fuel energy.

Following a nod from Zambia’s Constitutional Court, the incumbent president, Edgar Lungu, is able to stand for a third term. He has overseen the worst economic crisis for Zambia since the early 90s.

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