Zambia's economic sectors reflect 3 key constraints. First, the influence of colonial rule created a reliance on mining (in particular, copper) and a failure to fully exploit the agricultural sector. Second, the small size of the population means that domestic markets are limited. Third, its landlocked status reduces the competitiveness of exports as they are subjected to the tariffs of neighboring countries and high transportation costs.
However, for such an underdeveloped country, Zambia has been relatively successful in diversifying its economy. Although copper exports continue to be of primary importance, the export of cash crops such as cotton and tobacco, as well as refined sugar, provide a high level of revenue and employment. However, all of these goods are highly sensitive to fluctuations in international market prices. The manufacturing sector produces a large quantity of textiles for export and there is a growth in the production of cut flowers. Within the industrial sector, the mining of gems and other minerals, as well as the production of cement, engineering products, and chemicals, helped balance out the economy's reliance on the mining of copper and cobalt.