Zambia has experienced strong economic growth in recent years but poverty remains a problem, thanks partly to high birth rates and the effects of HIV/AIDS.
The Zambian economy relies heavily on the country's mineral wealth, particularly copper (of which Zambia is one of the world's largest producers), and also cobalt and zinc. These account for the bulk of export earnings and provide essential raw materials for Zambia's manufacturing industry, which accounts for over one-third of national output. High global prices for copper and a steady increase in output from the copper mines, which have been privatised since the 1990s and have received foreign investment, have both contributed to a growth in prosperity.
Apart from raw material processing, the manufacturing sector includes vehicle assembly and oil refining as well as the production of fertilisers, textiles, construction materials and a variety of consumer products.
Agriculture, particularly maize and cattle farming, produces 14% of GDP and employs 85% of the population. Zambia's hydroelectric projects have allowed it to become a net exporter of energy.