Controlling inflation is a development priority, followed by faster implementation of social sector programs, legal and civil service reform, and privatization. New investment has been slow to form as investors await anticipated lower inflation rates. The lack of administrative capacity lies at the heart of the delays. Various debt cancellations and loans have been prescribed by the World Bank (loan of $170 million), Paris Club (aid of $630 million), and the United States (aid of $20 million). Inflation stood at 26.7% in 2002.
The public sector in 2003 represented some 44% of total formal employment. In 2000, Zambia became eligible for $3.8 billion in debt service relief under the International Monetary Fund (IMF)/World Bank Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. In 2003, the government indicated it would take measures to privatize the Zambia National Commercial Bank and the national telephone and electricity utilities. In addition to undertaking a relatively ambitious privatization program, Zambia in the early 2000s was implementing trade and exchange liberalization, and the liberalization of agricultural policies.