Briefing Paper

Second-Hand Motor Vehicle Imports in Zambia: Juicing from lemons?

“The sustained positive growth of the Zambian economy has resulted in many shifts in consumption patterns of Zambian households. One notable change is the increased consumption of consumer
durables, particularly motor vehicles. Motor vehicle ownership has increased substantially since 2004. The increase in motor vehicle ownership owes in part to the highly unbridled access to second hand
motor vehicle imports. The downside of the relaxed motor vehicle import regulations as observed in Zambia is the ageing of the motor vehicle fleet and deterioration in fleet safety. Second hand motor vehicles imported in the country may be fine, but they may also be unreliable – commonly referred to as lemons in economic literature – and costly to maintain thereby generating serious financial, road safety and environmental concerns. Considering that Zambia is one of the highest road fatality risk countries
in Africa with 23.7 road traffic deaths per 100,000 people, the ageing fleet of motor vehicles only compounds the risk. Thus, more deliberate measures to ensure lives are safeguarded and consumers
get value-for-money on motor vehicle imports should be devised and implemented urgently.”