As part of its strategic goal of building a climate for investment, job creation, and sustainable growth, the World Bank has promoted improving business environments as a key strategy for development, which has led to a systematic effort in collecting enterprise data across countries. The Enterprise Surveys are an ongoing World Bank project in collecting both objective data based on firms' experiences and enterprises' perception of the environment in which they operate.
An Enterprise Survey is a firm-level survey of a representative sample of an economy's private sector. Firm-level surveys have been conducted since 1998 by different units within the World Bank. Since 2005-2006, most data collection efforts have been centralized within the Enterprise Analysis Unit. The Enterprise Surveys are conducted across all geographic regions and cover small, medium, and large companies. The surveys are administered to a representative sample of firms in the non-agricultural formal private economy. Data are used to create indicators that benchmark the quality of the business and investment climate across countries.
As of December 2019, the ES covers over 180,000 firms in 150 countries, of which 142 have been surveyed following the standard methodology. This allows for better comparisons across countries and across time. Data are used to create statistically significant business environment indicators that are comparable across countries. The ES are also used to build a panel of enterprise data that will make it possible to track changes in the business environment over time and allow, for example, impact assessments of reforms.
The survey was conducted in Zambia between August 2019 to February 2020 by the World Bank Group (WBG). The survey covers three cities: Kitwe, Lusaka and Ndola. The fieldwork was implemented by Ipsos Zambia, a survey firm based in Lusaka.
The primary objectives of the survey are:
i) to understand the business demographics of micro-enterprises in the three cities, and
ii) to describe the environment within which these businesses operate.
A secondary objective of the survey is to provide an estimate of the number of micro-enterprises operating in these cities.
Kind of Data
Sample survey data [ssd]
Unit of Analysis
Unit of analysis is establishment. An establishment is a physical location where business is carried out and where industrial operations take place or services are provided. A firm may be composed of one or more establishments. For example, a brewery may have several bottling plants and several establishments for distribution. For the purposes of this survey an establishment must make its own financial decisions and have its own financial statements separate from those of the firm. An establishment must also have its own management and control over its payroll.
Version 01. Edited, anonymous dataset for public distribution.
The Zambia 2019 Micro-Enterprise Survey covered the following topics:
- General information
- Location and infrastructure
- Sales and supplies
- Business practices
- Business environment
The universe for Zambia Micro-Enterprise Survey includes formally registered businesses with less than five employees. In terms of sector and size, the survey covers all non-agricultural sectors and businesses of all size categories if they meet the registration and size criteria.
Producers and sponsors
World Bank Group (WBG)
World Bank Group
The 2019 Zambia micro-enterprise survey follows an area-based sampling methodology with geographic area rather than an establishment ot a business unit as a primary sampling unit.
To account for potential clustering of these businesses, the survey uses an area-based sampling called (stratified) Adaptive Cluster Sampling (ACS), whereby one selects a sample of starting squares and adaptively samples sorrounding squares based on the number of businesses discovered in the enumerated squares. All business in selected squares will be enumerated using a 2 to 3-minutes questionnaire, referred to in this document as the short-form questionnaire.
The short form questionnaire is a listing questionnaire where basic information about the business is collected. A randomly selected subset of the enumerated businesses will be given a 20-minutes questionnaire, referred to in this document as the long-form questionnaire. This is the main questionnaire of the survey and the basis of the database posted on the ES portal.
The survey is adaptive in the sense that if the number of businesses units in a square exceeds a predefined threshold, all the squares surrounding the starting square are surveyed, following the same approach of enumeration and randomly conducting the main interview. If one of the surrounding squares exceed the threshold, then the squares surrounding that square in turn are also surveyed. This process continues until either the network is exhausted, or an arbitrary cut-off point is defined.
The universe includes formally registered businesses with less than five employees. The definition of formal registration can vary by country. For the survey in Zambia, a business that falls under any of the following two categories, in terms of registration, is considered as micro-enterprises: i) registered with Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) and has less than 5 employees; and ii) registered with Zambia’s Patents and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA) and has council permit, but not registered with ZRA.
Note: See Sections II and IV of "The 2019 Zambia Micro-Enterprises Survey Dataset" report for additional details on the sampling procedure.
To estimate population parameters, weights are applied to survey samples. In surveys design following standard random sampling, selection probability of all units is known before the actual data collection. Hence, weights can be derived as the inverse of selection probability.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Computer Assisted Personal Interview [capi]
The main data file is collected using a standardized questionnaire, i.e., the long-form questionnaire. The questionnaire was developed building on previous modules used by the Enterprise Analysis Unit of the World Bank to survey informal businesses and micro-enterprises.
Enterprise Analysis Unit
World Bank Group
Confidentiality of the survey respondents and the sensitive information they provide is necessary to ensure the greatest degree of survey participation, integrity and confidence in the quality of the data. Surveys are usually carried out in cooperation with business organizations and government agencies promoting job creation and economic growth, but confidentiality is never compromised.
The use of this dataset must be acknowledged using a citation which would include:
- the identification of the Primary Investigator (including country name)
- the full title of the survey and its acronym (when available), and the year(s) of implementation
- the survey reference number
- the source and date of download (for datasets disseminated online).
The World Bank. Zambia - Micro-Enterprise Survey (MES) 2019, Ref. ZMB_2019_MES_v01_M. Dataset downloaded from https://www.enterprisesurveys.org/portal/login.aspx on [date].
Disclaimer and copyrights
The user of the data acknowledges that the original collector of the data, the authorized distributor of the data, and the relevant funding agency bear no responsibility for use of the data or for interpretations or inferences based upon such uses.
DDI Document ID
Development Economics Data Group
The World Bank
Documentation of the DDI
Date of Metadata Production
DDI Document version
Version 01 (July 2020)