Using the US dollar when visiting this Southern African country could result in a 10-year jail sentence

Zambia has banned all transactions using US dollars. Picture: Pexels

Zambia has banned all transactions using US dollars. Picture: Pexels

Published Jul 3, 2024


When planning your next adventure to Zambia, it's important to note the recent changes in the country's financial landscape.

A draft document released by the Bank of Zambia on Saturday revealed that individuals caught using foreign currency for local transactions could face up to ten years in prison or substantial fines.

Embracing the Kwacha

Soon to be formalized as a statutory instrument by the Minister of Finance and National Planning, these new guidelines will require all local public and private transactions to be conducted in Zambian kwacha (ZMW) and ngwee.

This policy, announced by the central bank’s Deputy Governor for Operations, Francis Chipimo, at a trade fair in Ndola, emphasizes the importance of using local currency during your travels.

Understanding the changes

The Bank of Zambia's initiative is designed to curb the use of foreign currencies, particularly the US dollar, in local transactions.

Chipimo highlighted the detrimental effects of dollarization on the country's economy, noting that it hinders effective monetary and exchange rate policy management. Additionally, reliance on the dollar increases credit and liquidity risks and diminishes the central bank’s influence, as dollar-denominated credit markets do not respond to the Bank of Zambia’s actions.

Tips for travellers

Currency exchange: Ensure you exchange your foreign currency for kwacha upon arrival. This will not only keep you compliant with local regulations but also support the local economy.

Local transactions

From paying for your safaris to dining in Lusaka's restaurants, use kwacha for all transactions.

Stay informed

Keep an eye on the evolving financial guidelines and be prepared to adjust your travel plans accordingly.

Embracing the local currency of any country can enhance your travel experience. Not only does it facilitate smoother transactions, but it also supports the country’s economic stability.

IOL Travel