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An intergovernmental organization established in 1951, IOM is committed to the principle that humane and orderly migration benefits migrants and society.

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Capital Lusaka
Population (2013): 14.5 million
Area:  752,612 km sq
Languages :  English
Currency:  Zambian Kwacha (ZMK)
GDP per Capita PPP (2013): USD 3,181
HDI Rank (2013): 141 of 187
Remittances (2013 estimate):  USD 73 million
Net Migration Rate (2010-2015):     -0.6 migrants/1,000 population
Immigrants (2013):  0.7%
Women as a Percentage of Immigrants  (2013): 49.5%
Population under 15 (2013): 47%
Adult HIV Prevalence (2013):  12.50%
Sources and Definitions


In Zambia, there is a lack of valid data about the numbers of cross-border migrants (both regular and irregular) and internal migrants. Zambia has a land border of 5,000 miles, which connects it to eight neighbouring countries: Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia. The country has a long history of internal and cross-border migration with people moving in search of livelihoods – for example, to work on mines in the Copperbelt, on commercial farms, in small-scale fishing and fish trading, and as truckers along the transport corridors that link the landlocked country with its neighbours. Because of its relative peace and stability, Zambia has also been a host country to refugees and migrants from surrounding states – particularly Angola and DRC.

IOM activities in Zambia focus on: the voluntary repatriation of refugees to DRC, health promotion and social services to formal and informal labour migrants, counter-trafficking, and technical cooperation and other capacity-building interventions in migration management.

Movement, Emergency and Post-crisis Migration Management

IOM Zambia is working closely with the Government of the Republic of Zambia and other stakeholders to provide durable solutions for refugees. It is estimated that 60,000 refugees (UNHCR) from neighboring countries, the majority of whom are from Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, have been residing in Zambia for many years as a result of conflicts in their home countries. Durable solutions include promoting voluntary repatriation to refugees by providing transport and logistics, and facilitating the resettlement of refugee families who have been accepted to resettle in third countries.

As Zambia is affected by floods due to the annual overflow of the Zambezi river, IOM works with the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) of the Office of the Vice President of the Republic of Zambia. Through the United Nations Country Team. IOM is the sector lead for shelter during natural disasters.

Main Projects

  • Voluntary repatriation of Congolese refugees
  • Resettlement of refugees to third countries


Migration Health

IOM Zambia works as part of the regional Partnership on Health and Mobility in Southern and Eastern Africa (PHAMESA). PHAMESA focuses on health promotion activities with migrants and mobile populations. In Zambia these populations include internal and cross-border labour migrants as well as refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs). PHAMESA Zambia works in the following areas:

  • Advocacy for Policy Development – particularly working with the Government of Zambia to develop migrant-friendly policies
  • Research – to highlight the HIV and health vulnerabilities of migrants in Zambia
  • Capacity-building and delivery of HIV and health promotion services with migrants and mobile populations

Main Project

  • Partnership on Health and Mobility in Southern and Eastern Africa (PHAMESA) Zambia

Migration and Development

IOM Zambia is working with the Ministries of Finance and Labour, as well as with the Office of the President, to develop a Diaspora engagement strategy. This is done through the establishment of an Office of Diaspora Affairs (ODA), with a mandate of mobilizing and coordinating diaspora involvement in Zambia's national development. Under this project, the Office of Diaspora Affairs is responsible for diaspora policy development and coordination and, ultimately, coordinating the transfer of skills and financial resources of Zambians in the diaspora for the development of their country.

Main Project

  • Institutional Capacity-Building for Diaspora Engagement in Zambia

Regulating Migration

Zambia is a source, transit and destination country for men women and children who are trafficked both within and across Zambia's borders for the purpose of forced labour, prostitution and domestic servitude.

IOM Zambia's main counter-trafficking activities include:

  • Training for law enforcement and civil society on Zambia's anti-trafficking legislation
  • Technical assistance to Zambia Police Service to upgrade reporting systems
  • Direct assistance to victims of trafficking
  • Support to the 990 trafficking hotline

In 2007 the International Labour Organization (ILO), IOM and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in Zambia established a joint UN programme to support Government and civil society partners to respond to trafficking in persons.

Main Projects

  • Capacity Building to Operationalize Anti-Trafficking Legislation in Zambia

Last updated:
Main text: July 2010
Facts and figures:
August 2014