lab 1: Increasing tax revenues from SMEs in Zambia

The challenge

The challenge for the first lab of tomorrow innovation process revolves around the question: How might we be able to improve Zambia's taxation of small and medium enterprises?

Zambia - Country profile


The Republic of Zambia gained its independence in 1964 after decades of colonial rule by the British. The country is located in Southern Africa and borders Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia. It covers an area of 752,618 sq km.


Zambia has a population of approximately 15 million people and is said to have over 70 different languages, while almost 33 % of the population speak Bemba. Almost half of the population are aged below 0 and 14 years old while only 5 % are older than 55 years old. In 2015 nearly 40% of the population was urbanized. More than 60% live below the poverty line.


Zambia has had one of the world’s fastest growing economies for the past ten years, with real GDP growth averaging roughly 6.7% per annum. Privatization of government-owned copper mines in the 1990s increased copper mining output and profitability, spurring economic growth. Copper output increased steadily from 2004, due to higher copper prices and foreign investment, but weakened in 2014 when Zambia was overtaken by the Democratic Republic of Congo as Africa’s largest copper producer. Despite strong economic growth and its status as a lower middle-income country, widespread and extreme rural poverty and high unemployment levels remain significant problems, made worse by a high birth rate, a relatively high HIV/AIDS burden, and by market-distorting agricultural policies.