Living and Working In Lusaka

Over the years, the economy of Lusaka has improved significantly. The city today is an important financial center, not only in the case of Zambia but also for neighboring regions, with the COMESA headquarters in the district. Agriculture, hydropower and tourism are other diversification initiatives which adds to the economy of the city.

Lusaka is one of the fastest-growing cities in the Southern Region, a hyper city hounded by infrastructure development bringing hope to the many graduates that are looking forward to joining the formal sector.  With a Country population of 18,479,554, Lusaka’s population approximately stands at 2,900,000 million people with 1,935,394 in both formal and informal employment.  There are three commonly used languages within the City with English being the official language and local languages such as Chi Nyanja and Bemba. Much of the daily life observed in Lusaka is not about expressions of private preferences, but is deeply rooted in home and work routines, such as going to formal and informal work, house chores, meals, rest, activities that have to fit into a 24-hour scheme.  Learning the mastery of work/life balance is critical in achieving daily targets as the hassle and bustle of the city can be challenging if not well managed.  While the city dwellers are known for their formal behavior, they also give visitors from other countries a warm and friendly environment.

However, expats may need to conform to the workplace and have a positive approach over time. The people of Lusaka are never very rushed and deadlines are a little ambiguous and rarely begin meetings and appointments on time. Expatriates with rectangular hierarchical structures at the job site manage the businesses in Zambia from the top down. Respect for one’s elderly is vital. Titles are critical – refer always to anyone by title unless otherwise advised.

Job Hunting in Lusaka

Many expatriates come to Lusaka with a job offer; however, some people come to the city to pursue a job, for example as a wife or a family member. Unemployment in Lusaka is very high and much of the population live below the poverty line. Highly skilled expats, particularly in the engineering, mining, agricultural and financial sectors easily get engaged as compared to other trades. There are a lot of job opportunities in the NGO, health care and education sectors, as paid employees or as a much-needed volunteer. With no restrictions for expatriates working in Lusaka, there is a need to obtain a work permit, issued by the Department of Immigration, prior to entering the country. 

Opportunities in Lusaka

Driving through Lusaka, the capital of Zambia is like a first trip to Las Vegas. Everything is at your disposal. There is a lot to view. Dusty streets, potholes like craters, people hanging off the back of pickup trucks, women with babies on their backs as they carry loads of merchandise, hoovering smoke from burning trash by the roadside, horns honking, traffic jams are always the order of the day. Almost two-thirds of people in the city live below the international poverty line. The average life expectancy in the advert of HIV/AIDS stands at between 50-55 years. Access to clean water remains a challenge.

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In the recent past, there has been a steady and rise in Infrastructure development in the city, which includes road and building construction as well as rehabilitating of some of the existing buildings. This is an indication that one day, we will see a rise in other different business activities which will promote job creation and bringing hope to the many graduating youths from the various TEVET and other higher learning institutions within the city and other provinces. Lusaka’s economy has changed drastically over the years with the call on equity and diversity. In the recent past, the employment sector has noted a tremendous upsurge in appointment of female candidates to positions of authority especially in the Banking Sector, solidifying the progress in the various sectors across board over the years.

Working and living in Lusaka comes with its challenges, the cost of living has escalated compared to the past six months of 2020.  The cost of accommodation is very high resulting in a shortage of housing coupled with poor public transport for employees and students. Poor street lighting is another factor affecting the city from what is most desired for a fast-growing city such as Lusaka.  It can be noted however that with road development, Other challenges include the early closure of shops in the central business district. This in turn results in employees to shy away from work to do personal errands whilst shops are still open resulting in loss of paid hours from their employers.

The employment code Act no. 3 enacted in 2019, although cheered by many employees brought its own challenges in terms of cost of doing business.

The cost of living in Lusaka is very high for the ordinary Zambians working in both the informal and formal sectors; the cost of essential commodities in the last few months has tripled due to the free fall of the exchange rate of the local currency against the US dollar forcing residents to rethink when spending. With such rapid growth comes fierce competition for highly skilled talent. Although economic opportunities make Lusaka appear attractive financially, economic growth alone cannot guarantee they will be able to attract and keep ambitious, mobile and driven workers. 

Being the capital city of Zambia, all Government agencies, Ministries and main private sector institutions are based in Lusaka, making it the center of economic activity and creating employment opportunities both in formal and informal sector compared to other towns. Lusaka is overcrowded by every business such as Small or Medium enterprises creating a reasonable income for survival. Too much competition in working culture creates and promote hard work hence exculpated positive change culture. More Business openings in the manufacturing, agriculture and the government deliberate policies and creation of Multi facility Economic Zones to promote exports consequently creating the most desired environment for economic sustainability.

Accommodation in Lusaka

You will find any kind of house in Lusaka-fantastic properties with gardens and exterior space are still available, but older properties possibly would need to be renovated. You would have to choose a location on the grounds with outdoor facilities like swimming pools, tennis courts as well as service rooms if you are after anything more modern. Newer homes prefer to be on expat or closed societies whether they are more appropriate to you. Many people from South Africa and Zimbabwe are expected to be here, but some European, American and Zambian people would also be there. Word of the mouth is a good way to learn about housing; you might know before you go about houses that are being vacant if you start making contact with other expats – often before you sign deals, it is better to see a house in person. Security is quite important since break-ins do occur.

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Perhaps at some times of the week, you will find that you are subject to scheduled power cuts-just be sure your laptop is fully charged! Moreover, if you are renting, it could be that your property owner has a sluggish pace to get any disputes ironed out, rather than in the west. The Estate Lodge, Ibex Hill, Roma and Leopard’s Hill are good places to live in.

Healthcare and Education in Lusaka

In contrast with Western schools, government schools do not have exceptionally high-quality standards. Good international education can be obtained, but it can be very costly (especially the American School) so that your employer can guarantee this is the best.

Health care is very low for most residents, with 14% of HIV-positive people in the city, and a life expectancy of only 46. Malaria is common in Lusaka, so anti-malaria and other prevention are quite necessary and routine monitoring is quite painful, but it is very easily handled if detected early. Malaria is quite unpleasant in the city.

Eating in the city of Lusaka

Lusaka provides a remarkably wide variety of fantastic restaurants featuring foreign cuisine – either in hotels or in residential buildings. One of my favorites in Kabulonga is Turn n’ Tender Steakhouse, a South African restaurant, and another is Eataly Pizzeria Rhodespark, where great pizzas are served with local art.

Try going to market stalls if you want to sample the local cuisine. Most of the food in Zambia centers on nshima, which is ground and processed maize or corn. Even, Zambians are eating plenty of cassava, corn, yam, potatoes. Ifisashi is delicious – it is blended nuts with vegetables.

Getting There and Getting Around in Lusaka

The roads are not in a good shape in some areas, however, driving around Lusaka especially in other outlying areas will require you to use off the road vans. Purchasing off the-road vans is pretty expensive though, even a secondhand can be purchased at between ZMW200,000-250,000 respectively.  Driving can be a bit problematic so you have to be very patient and your boss might request for a personal driver.

Traffic can be terrible and taxis differ widely, varying from chauffeur operated to small, messy vehicles – but the buses that are incredibly cheap are the most widespread transport choices. Taxis do not have meters so you will have to negotiate — check before getting in and ask a friend how high it needs to be when you leave.

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Wildlife and Nature

With the normal subtropical weather (heated October and chilly July), you are most likely to spend a lot of time outdoors and have the chance to enjoy the great outdoors with convenient access for game reserves in the city. The Lilayi Elephant Nursery is 15 minutes away from Lusaka, where orphaned elephants are handled and taken back to the forest. Children can love to see the calves.

Entertainment in Lusaka

Lusaka does not really have many concerns regarding, however, all the excitement of the expatriate families concentrates on shopping centers, Malls and nightlife. There are nice galleries and churches to visit and undoubtedly, the game lodges can still be seen much further away.

Parties and events are typically around a barbecue (Braai), but Lusaka has wonderful bar sceneries. Many Western bars are visited both by local residents and tourists — including the Arcades, Times Café and Rhapsody’s, Vegas in North Mead and chez ntemba (which has weekend live Congo music), and long acres Anex Night Club, which is popular with younger people.

Shopping in Lusaka

In recent years, Lusaka has expanded steadily, with malls across all areas, but you might not have difficulty finding clothing for all classes. The markets are very fascinating and offer clothes – with some offering second-hand clothing as well. Curio and flea markets are found at all Malls. Other markets are located at right locations where seasonal fresh vegetables, fruits, any other milk and foodstuffs, meat and fish products are sold.

Law, Order, & Etiquette in Lusaka

The speed of life is a little slower, for example, buses do not follow a schedule but wait until full, and corporate meetings may be held an hour longer than decided. The society is a little traditional, such that females normally wear skirts under the knees and attracting public affection is typically discouraged. It is also easier to communicate with anyone by title and surname rather than by nickname, unless requested.

Staying Safe in Lusaka

There is a very high degree of unemployment and poverty, so it’s possible to experience petty thieves in Lusaka, even though it’s not easy to recognize such petty crimes. Many pickpockets are incredibly skilled, so maybe to try to avoid carrying something valuable and do not leave the car unlocked. Violent offences are not as significant a concern in Africa as anywhere else is. Women can easily be harassed, particularly if they are alone.

The economy of Lusaka is quickly growing. In recent years, however, working standards have changed least. Many residents in the city continue to fail to gain access to adequate living services and remain in unsafe environments that contribute to chronic diseases. The rising economy has broadened the inequality gap as one of the adverse effects. Given the rising city growth, 60 % of the population still struggles to survive. The conditions of living in Lusaka can improve, however, if the government is concentrated on programs that reduce overcrowding, improve education quality, and help every compound obtain clean water.

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