How to Invest in Zambia

Understated Zambia is quietly putting together one of the world’s most impressive records of economic growth. The Southern Arican nation’s GDP has grown in excess of 5.3% every year since 2003, and the IMF forecasts its economy will expand by 7.7% this year thanks to strong demand for its primary export — copper.

Zambian stocks have reflected this vibrant growth. The Lusaka Stock Exchange is Africa’s best performer over the past three years. Its main index surged 89.6% (US dollar terms) since March 2009.

So, how can global investors participate in this intriguing market?

Here’s a quick guide to opening a Zambian trading account and buying your first shares.

Zambian Stockbrokers

I emailed each of the six brokers who are licensed to trade on the Lusaka Stock Exchange. I asked them if they catered to foreign investors, how much they required to open an account, and what documentation was necessary. I found the two brokers listed below to be particularly helpful and responsive.

Broker Minimum Initial Deposit Account Opening Form Research Sample
African Alliance Zambia No minimum required Not Available Online Not Available Online
Stockbrokers Zambia ZMK256,000 (roughly $50.00) Here Not Available Online

Trading Costs

Commissions and fees amount to 1.375% of the total transaction value. This rate is standard across all brokers.

Photo by CIMMYT

Opening a Zambian Brokerage Account

Now let’s walk through the process of opening an account with a Zambian stockbroker and buying your first shares.

Step 1: Complete the Broker’s Account Opening Form

After emailing a broker and requesting information on how to open an account, they will send you a blank account opening form. A sample form from Stockbrokers Zambia may be found in the above table. The form typically requires disclosure of your passport number or other ID number and your address.

If you would like to have dividends deposited directly into your trading account (and I recommend that you do), you should inform your broker of this at this time.

Step 2: Collect a Photocopy of Your Passport.

If you don’t have a valid passport, a copy of your driver’s license may suffice.

Step 3. Mail the Original Account Opening Form and Photocopy of Your Passport to Your Broker

You may email photocopies of all documents to your broker to get a head start on the account opening process, but they must eventually receive the original documentation. I recommend using a courier for this. It’s pricey but could save you a lot of grief in the event that the post office loses track of your documents.

Step 4. Wire Funds to Your Brokerage Account

After opening your trading account, your broker will provide you with its bank details so that you can fund your account. The most efficient way to do this is via wire transfer. If you haven’t sent an international wire before, I suggest that you take your broker’s bank details to your local bank branch and ask them to walk you through the process. They’ll make sure that your funds arrive securely. Note that most US banks charge about $25 for outgoing international wires.

Step 5. Submit a Trade Order

You’ve done your research and found a stock that you’d like to buy. What now?

All that needs be done is to submit a written trade instruction. Some brokers may have a special trade mandate form to complete, but, for others, a simple email may suffice.

Keep in mind that many shares listed on the Lusaka Stock Exchange are rather illiquid, so I advise specifying a limit price for all of your orders. This will help you avoid paying significantly more for your shares than you had intended to pay.

Your broker will then execute your trade and send you a contract note that specifies the buy or sell price, commissions, and fees. Settlement of share trades takes up to three business days after the trade date in Zambia, so if you’ve sold shares, don’t expect to receive the proceeds of a sale before then unless you’re willing to incur a penalty to settle the trade more quickly.

Mission Accomplished

Follow these steps and you’re all set to begin investing in Zambian stocks. That wasn’t too bad, was it?

The process of opening a foreign brokerage account can be confusing. If you found this walk-thru to be clear as mud, please don’t be shy. Post your questions in the comments, and I’ll do my best to get answers for them.

Further Reading

How to Invest on the Botswana Stock Exchange

How to Invest on the Ghana Stock Exchange

How to Invest on the Nigerian Stock Exchange

How to Invest on the Zimbabwean Stock Exchange

 

Comments

  1. Raymond says:

    Any way I can buy Zambian copper shares using my U.S. Scottrade account? Please advise! Thanks!

  2. The Zambian govt (majority owner) is set to issue more shares of ZCCM-IH to the public sometime this year. You should contact one of the above brokers to keep you in the loop so you can get in on it directly.

  3. Hi

    Can you provide me with list of a few blue chip companies on the Zambia and the Zimbabwe stock exchange.

    Regards

    Kennedy

    • Sure! Here are the three largest stocks on each exchange.

      Zambia
      1. Celtel
      2. ZANACO
      3. Standard Chartered Zambia

      Zimbabwe
      1. Delta Corp
      2. Econet Wireless
      3. Innscor Africa

  4. Thanks for the valuable information. Another question. Is the amount that I use to open an account separate from the amount that I need to use to invest? Can you shed light on this one? For an example, in Zimbabwe the average amount to open an account is USD$1000. Is the amount just for opening the account or is it inclusive to buying your shares with?

    • Hi Kennedy,

      That’s an important question. The minimum amount is inclusive of the amount used to invest. Brokers typically do not charge any fees to open an account. They simply want to be assured that you have sufficient funds to buy shares.

  5. Newton Mulimba says:

    Hi,

    I’d like to thank you for writing this informative piece, but I’d like to know how to invest in another country – say Botswana from Zambia.

  6. I would like to know how much one is supposed to have at hand to open an account and start buying shares ?

  7. SIMON PHIRI says:

    want to buy shares but dont know how to contact the broker

  8. Hi All,

    As of 14/01/2014 I just opened an account with Stockbrokers Zambia, I pasted from the email the requirements. I am currently at Step 2 as of today (14/01/2014) since my bank here in Spain charges 49€ to transfer funds, so I requested they open a local account to fund transactions and receive dividends.. Lets see what they reply:) EXCITED!!!!

    Step 1: Open a share account with Stockbrokers Zambia Ltd

    Fill in the attached application form [Client Opening Form] to open your share account and attach a copy of your NRC/Passport and email these to SBZ. Upon receipt of your emailed application form, Stockbrokers Zambia Ltd (SBZ) will send you a note to confirm that your share account has been opened at the Central Share Depository (CSD) of the LuSE.
    SBZ will advise you of your share account number in the CSD.

    Step 2: Send money from your Bank to the SBZ Client Account at Stanbic Bank Zambia.

    The SBZ Client Dollar Account details are as follows:
    Bank : Stanbic Bank Zambia Ltd
    Branch: Lusaka Main
    Account Name: Stockbrokers Zambia Limited
    Account Number: 0140031101001
    Sort Code: 040002

    Step 3: Review shares on offer and instruct SBZ to buy

    SBZ will advise you on the available shares and recommend for your consideration which shares to buy, taking into account your investment objectives, your risk capacity and time horizon. You will then formally Instruct SBZ to buy you shares by completing and signing the INSTRUCTION FORM and send this to SBZ by email- alternatively an email instruction will suffice. SBZ will then raise a buy order and submit this to the LuSE for trading.

  9. Hello everyone.So basically the stock broker sets a minimum amount required to create an account and buy shares?Explain,please!!!

  10. Hello

    I know very little about investing in the stock market, but I am considering it. I know that the market can be quite volatile, but I would just like to find out what the monthly return on an investment of say US$1,000 would be? Say you invest in one of the top three ‘blue chip’ stocks… And also, do you get paid this return monthly, or how does it work?

    I apologies for my rookie questions, but you seem very responsive and helpful.

    Thank you.

    • Hi Byana,

      Great questions.

      As you know, there are no guarantees in the stock market. But the Lusaka Stock Exchange has performed well of late. Over the past five years, the market’s average return in US$ was 14.0%.

      You make money investing in the stock market in two ways. One is by selling shares of stock at a higher price than you paid for them. This happens when the market’s perception of a company’s value improves. The perception of value changes as a result of growth, better performance, new business opportunities, or some other favorable circumstance. Of course, the market’s perception of a company’s value can also deteriorate, leaving you with shares of stock that are less valuable than the price you paid for them.

      The other way to make money in stocks is by collecting dividends. Dividends are excess profits earned by a company that management opts to pay out to shareholders in the form of cash. This is typical of large “blue chip” companies that have less of a need to reinvest their profits in expansion projects.

      Many companies pay dividends consistently every year, and, in some cases, every half year. If the company is growing, the dividend will typically grow, too. Most dividend-paying stocks are available for dividend yields ranging between 1% – 5%. Keep in mind, however, that the company is not obligated to pay a dividend. It can go up or down at management’s discretion.

      Here’s an example that shows both ways you might earn money from stocks.

      Suppose you purchase 100 shares of a company at a price of $10 per share and a dividend yield of 4%.

      Over the next 12 months, the value of the stock increases 14% and the company pays a $0.40 dividend.

      Therefore the price of the stock is now $11.40, and the value of your shares is $1140 (100 shares x $11.40). Plus you also received a $0.40 dividend on each of your 100 shares. That equals $40.00, and is paid to you in the form of a check.

      So, the value of your investment went from $1000 to $1180 ($1140 + $40). You can decide to sell your shares the day after you purchase them or hold onto them for many years (it’s generally advisable to do the latter).

      Keep in mind, that this is just an example. If your company performs poorly, the value of your stock could decline from $10 to $9 or $5 or even zero. But over time, if you buy a good business at a fair price, the value of your investment will likely increase.

      Hope this helps and don’t hesitate to ask more questions. We were all rookies at one time or another!

      Ryan

  11. instead of paying me that divident can i still reinvest it in shares, and how many shares do you allow somebody to buy and at what amount of money do i have to buy these shares.

  12. Hi good information you’ve put together. Where can i get a list of dividends paying shares on the Luse?

    • Thanks, Ian. And that’s a great question. While most companies listed on the LuSE do pay dividends, I can’t seem to find a list showing how much each one pays. I’ll keep looking. Does anyone else know of such a resource?

  13. How much does one need as minimum cash for investment in stock shares or can someone explain to me what those figures mean that are updates of the stock shares…i would like to investment so i need to know how much money i need to raise

    • Hi Muko,

      The minimum investment amount will depend on the current price of the stock you wish to purchase.

      I believe most Zambian stockbrokers require that you purchase at least 100 shares of stock per transaction. You can see the current price of the various shares listed on the Lusaka Stock Exchange on the left side of the screen here: http://www.luse.co.zm/.

      Also, note, that brokers charge commission and fees of 1.375% on the value of each transaction.

      So, for example, if you would like to purchase shares of Lafarge Zambia (which are currently priced at K26.00 per share), your minimum investment would be calculated as follows:

      K26.00 x 100 x 1.01375 = K2635.75

      Happy investing!
      Ryan

  14. NOBLE KASONDE BWEMBYA says:

    Hi Ryan I want to open an account with African Alliance Zambia, but I’m not sure about what is really needed in terms of minimum balance and the like. I’m living in Zambia and really want to explore the stock market.
    Thanks

  15. Vanessa makela says:

    Hi

    i wanted to ask, am 15 years old and am thinking of doing something that would help me in future, an thought the stock market might be a good thing to look at, can i just get a recap of things required to buy stocks.

  16. Ashutosh Bajaria says:

    Hi Ryan
    Thank you for information. It is very helpful. I went through Lusaka Stock Exchange website but you have more information.
    Thanks
    Ashutosh

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