Zambia is a country in the southern-central part of the African continent. The country’s current system of cooperative multilevel governance is anchored by a progressive Constitution adopted in 2016, with a multilevel system of government organized at the national, provincial, and local levels. The provincial level is constituted by ten provincial administrations which function as an extension of the national government, while local authorities (city, municipal and town councils)—as the level of government closest to the people—are charged with the delivery of basic services such as solid waste management, street trading, and fire services, and so on. The three levels of the public sector are bound together by the principle of cooperative government which emphasizes the need for cooperation rather than competition among the tiers (and between governments within and across these tiers). While in practice, key public services (such as education and health services) continue to be provided by the central government, President Hichilema has signaled the government’s renewed commitment to devolution and is pursuing efforts to transfer greater responsibility for government services to the local government level.

Subnational governance structure

Nature of subnational governance institutions

Functional assignments

LoGICA Assessments

LoGICA Intergovernmental Profile: Zambia 2024 (Excel)

Additional resources

Zambia Country Profile (World Observatory on Subnational Governance and Investment, OECD/UCLG)

The Local Government System in Zambia (Commonwealth Local Government Forum)

Local government country profile: Zambia (UN Women)

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Last updated: May 13, 2024