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Republic of Zambia


FLAG: The flag is green, with a tricolor of dark red, black, and orange vertical stripes at the lower corner of the fly, topped by a golden flying eagle.

ANTHEM: Stand and Sing for Zambia.

MONETARY UNIT: The kwacha (k) of 100 ngwee replaced the Zambian pound (z£) on 15 January 1968. There are coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 ngwee, and notes of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, and 500 kwacha. k1 = $0.00022 (or $1 = k4,549.58) as of 2005.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The metric system is used.

HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; Youth Day, 11 March; Labor Day, 1 May; African Freedom Day, 24 May; Heroes' Day, 1st Monday after 1st weekend in July; Unity Day, Tuesday after Heroes' Day; Farmers' Day, 5 August; Independence Day, 24 October; Christmas, 25 December. Movable religious holidays include Good Friday and Easter Monday.

TIME: 2 pm = noon GMT.


A landlocked country in south central Africa, Zambia has an area of 752,614 sq km (290,586 sq mi), with a maximum length of 1,206 km (749 mi) ew and a maximum width of 815 km (506 mi) ns. Comparatively, the area occupied by Zambia is slightly larger than the state of Texas. Bounded on the ne by Tanzania, on the e by Malawi, on these by Mozambique and Zimbabwe, on the s by Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia (South West Africa), on the w by Angola, and on the w and n by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DROC), Zambia has a total boundary length of 5,664 km (3,519 mi).

Zambia's capital city, Lusaka, is located in the south central part of the country.


Most of the landmass in Zambia is a high plateau lying between 910 and 1,370 m (3,0004,500 ft) above sea level. In the northeast, the Muchinga Mountains exceed 1,800 m (5,900 ft) in height. Elevations below 610 m (2,000 ft) are encountered in the valleys of the major river systems. Plateau land in the northeastern and eastern parts of the country is broken by the low-lying Luangwa River, and in the western half by the Kafue River. Both rivers are tributaries of the upper Zambezi, the major waterway of the area. The frequent occurrence of rapids and falls prevents through navigation of the Zambezi.

There are three large natural lakesBangweulu, Mweru, and Tanganyikaall in the northern area. Lake Tanganykia is the largest with an area of about 12,770 sq km (32,893 sq mi). Lake Bangweulu and the swamps at its southern end cover about 9,840 sq km (3,799 sq mi) and are drained by the Luapula River. Kariba, one of the world's largest manmade lakes, is on the southern border; it was formed by the impoundment of the Zambezi by the construction of the Kariba Dam.


Although Zambia lies within the tropics, much of it has a pleasant climate because of the altitude. Temperatures are highest in the valleys of the Zambezi, Luangwa, and Kafue and by the shores of Lakes Tanganyika, Mweru, and Bangweulu.

There are wide seasonal variations in temperature and rainfall. October is the hottest month. The main rainy season starts in mid-November, with heavy tropical storms lasting well into April. The northern and northwestern provinces have an annual rainfall of about 125 cm (50 in), while areas in the far south have as little as 75 cm (30 in). May to mid-August is the cool season, after which temperatures rise rapidly. September is very dry.

Daytime temperatures may range from 23° to 31°c (7388°f), dropping at night to as low as 5°c (41°f) in June and July. Lusaka, at 1,250 m (4,100 ft), has an average minimum of 9°c (48°f) and an average maximum of 23°c (73°f) in July, with averages of 17°c (63°f) and 26°c (79°f), respectively, in January; normal annual rainfall is 81 cm (32 in).


Most of the territory is plateau and the prevailing type of vegetation is open woodland or savanna. Acacia and baobab trees, thorn trees and bushes, and tall perennial grasses are widespread, becoming coarser and sparser in the drier areas to the south. To the north and east grows a thin forest. The southwest has forests of Zambian teak (Baikiaea plurijuga).

The national parks and game reserves, such as the Kafue National Park, conserve the wildlife threatened by settlement. The Cookson's wildebeest, Senga Kob, Thornicroft giraffe, and red lechwe are unique to Zambia. The many varieties of buck include kudu, impala, duiker, and sten. In Luangwa Valley can be found giraffe, zebra, rhinoceros, elephant, baboon, monkey, hyena, wolf, and lion. Among the nocturnal animals are serval and civet cat, genet, and jackal. Other mammals include the honey badger, ant bear, rock rabbit, wart hog, and bush pig.

Zambia has a wealth of bird life, including the eagle, gull, tern, kingfisher, swift, redwing, lark, babbler, sunbird, weaver, red-billed quelea (in Luangwa Valley), stork, goose, plover, skimmer, bee-eater, wagtail, sparrow, swallow, thrush, shrike, nightingale, dove, nightjar, and an occasional ostrich. White pelican, flamingo, heron, ibis, and the crowned crane are found in the game reserves. As of 2002, there were at least 233 species of mammals, 252 species of birds, and over 4,700 species of plants throughout the country.

There are more than 150 recorded species of reptiles, including 78 species of snakes and 66 of lizards. Among them are the crocodile, tortoise, turtle, terrapin, gecko, agama, nonvenomous python, mamba, viper, and adder. The range of species of fish is also wide and includes bream, snoutfish, butterfish, tigerfish, bottlenose, gorgefish, mudfish, catfish, barbel, "vundu," squeaker, whitebait, perch, carp, bass, and "utaka" (of the sardine type). Insect types number in the thousands, and many are peculiar to the area. The Copperbelt region and the swamps of Lake Bangweulu are especially rich in insect life.


Both traditional and modern farming methods in Zambia involve clearing large areas of forest. As of 1985, the nation had lost 699 sq km (270 sq mi) of forestland, mainly to slash-and-burn agriculture but also to firewood gathering and charcoal production. Consequent erosion results in the loss of up to 3 million tons of topsoil annually. The exclusive cultivation of a single crop on agricultural land and the use of fertilizers threaten the soil and contribute to acidification. The Copperbelt region, Zambia's mineral-extraction and refining center has been polluted by contaminants including acid rain. The buildup of toxins in the soil near many smelters poses a threat to food crops.

Air pollution is caused by vehicle emissions and coal-powered industrial plants. Lack of adequate water-treatment facilities contributes to the prevalence of bilharziasis and other parasitic infections. Water pollution arises from contamination by sewage and toxic industrial chemicals. The nation has 80 cu km of renewable water sources, of which 77% of annual withdrawals is used for farming and 7% for industry. Roughly 90% of Zambia's city dwellers and 36% of the people living in rural areas have access to improved water sources.

Wildlife is endangered in some areas by hunting and poaching, although the National Parks and Wildlife Act (1982) mandates automatic imprisonment for trading illicitly in elephant tusks and rhinoceros horns. According to a 2006 report issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), the number of threatened species included 11 types of mammals, 12 species of birds, 1 species of amphibian, 4 types of mollusks, 3 species of other invertebrates, and 8 species of plants. Threatened species include the African wild dog, the black rhinoceros, the Madagascar pond heron, and white-winged crake.


The population of Zambia in 2005 was estimated by the United Nations (UN) at 11,227,000, which placed it at number 73 in population among the 193 nations of the world. In 2005, approximately 3% of the population was over 65 years of age, with another 45% of the population under 15 years of age. There were 100 males for every 100 females in the country. According to the UN, the annual population rate of change for 20052010 was expected to be 1.9%, a rate the government viewed as too high. With support from international organizations, the country sought to reduce its fertility rate, which stood at 5.8 births per woman in 2005. The projected population for the year 2025 was 15,798,000. The population density was 15 per sq km (39 per sq mi).

The UN estimated that 35% of the population lived in urban areas in 2005, and that urban areas were growing at an annual rate of 2.32%. The capital city, Lusaka, had a population of 1,394,000 in that year. Population estimates for other cities included Ndola (374,757), Kitwe (363,734), Kabwe (219,600), Chingola (211,755), and Mufulira (204,104). The main urban concentrations were in the Copperbelt mining complex.

The prevalence of HIV/AIDS has had a significant impact on the population of Zambia. The UN estimated that 17% of adults between the ages of 1549 were living with HIV/AIDS in 2005. The AIDS epidemic causes higher death and infant mortality rates, and lowers life expectancy.


Before independence, the size of the European population waxed and waned with the fortunes of the mining industry. During the political upheavals of the mid-1960s, many Europeans in the mining industries left Zambia. As of 1999, there were nearly 200,000 refugees in Zambia. Most were from Angola; the rest were from the DROC, Rwanda, Burundi, and other African countries. There were 377,000 migrants living in Zambia in 2000, including refugees. By the end of 2004 there were 17,307 refugees and 84 asylum seekers in Zambia. However, in that same year over 39,000 Angolan refugees had been assisted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Zambia, as well as, over 49,000 refugees from the DROC, and over 3,000 refugees from Rwanda. Also in 2004, 111 Zambians sought asylum in South Africa. The net migration rate in 2005 was estimated as zero migrants per 1,000 population. The government views the migration levels as satisfactory.


The African community, close to 99% of Zambia's total population, is composed of various Bantu groups. (The term "Bantu" refers roughly to all peoples in whose language the root ntu means "man.") The Bemba group37% of the African populationinhabits the Northern and Copperbelt provinces. Other African societies include the Tonga (19%), Lunda (12%), Nyanja (11%), Mambwe (8%), and Lozi or Barotse (7%). In all, there are at least 73 different African societal classifications.

The Europeans, accounting for about 1% of the population, are mainly of British stock, either immigrants or their descendants from the United Kingdom or South Africa. Other European groups include those of Dutch, Italian, and Greek descent. Counting Asians, mainly migrants from the Indian subcontinent, and people of mixed race, other non-Africans constitute only about 0.2% of the population.


Some 80 different languages have been identified, most of them of the Bantu family. For educational and administrative purposes, seven main languages are recognized: Bemba, Lozi, Lunda, Kaonda, Luvale, Tonga, and Nyanja. Bemba, with its various dialects, is widely spoken in northern Zambia and is the lingua franca in the Copperbelt. The Ila and Tonga tongues predominate in the Southern Province. English is the official language.


An estimated 87% of the population professes some form of Christianity. Another 1% are either Muslim or Hindu. The majority of Christians are either Roman Catholics or Protestants. There has also been a surge in new Pentecostal churches, which have attracted many young followers. Muslims tend to be concentrated in parts of the country where Asians have settledalong the railroad line from Lusaka to Livingstone and in the eastern province.

A 1996 amendment to the constitution declared the country a Christian nation while providing for freedom of religion in practice. Some members of the Muslim community have complained of discrimination since the country was declared a Christian nation. They claim they cannot freely teach and practice Islam; however, other Muslim organizations state they have not experienced any restrictions on their activities. Religious groups must register with the government in order to operate legally; however, all applications for registration are reportedly approved without discrimination. Various ecumenical groups have formed to promote interfaith dialogue and to discuss national political concerns. These include the Zambia Episcopal Conference, the Christian Council of Zambia, and the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia.


Almost all of Zambia's industries, commercial agriculture, and major cities are located along the rail lines, which are often paralleled by highways. The Zambia Railways system consists of 2,173 km (1,349 mi) of track, all of it narrow gauge. The rail link with the Atlantic via the Katanga and Benguela railways to Lobito Bay in Angola has been affected by instability in Angola since the mid-1970s. Construction began in October 1970 on the Tazara railway, a 1,860-km (1,156-mi) line linking Dar es Salaam in Tanzania with Kapiri Mposhi, north of Lusaka; intended to lessen Zambian dependence on the former white-minority regimes of South Africa and the former Rhodesia (presently Zimbabwe), the line (890 km/553 mi of which is in Zambia) was completed and commissioned in July 1976. Equipment and operational problems have kept the railway from reaching its full potential, however, and rail cargo links with South Africa and Mozambique ports, passing through Zimbabwe, remain important for Zambian commerce.

Zambia had 66,781 km (41,498 mi) of roadway in 2002. The principal routes were: the Great North Road (809 km/503 mi), running from Kapiri Mposhi through Tanzania to Dar es Salaam, with a connecting road in Zambia from Kapiri Mposhi south to Livingstone (Maramba); the Great East Road (586 km/364 mi), from Lusaka to Chipata and thence to the Malawi border, with a connecting road (583 km/362 mi) from Mongu to Lusaka; the Zaire Border Road, from Kapiri Mposhi on the Great North Road through the Copperbelt region to Katanga, DROC; and the Kafue-Harare (Zimbabwe) road. Road services continue to play an important role in transporting copper and general cargo to and from Dar es Salaam. Transport services on the main routes also are provided by the National Transport Corp. of Zambia, the state-owned freight and passenger transport service. The United Bus Co. of Zambia is the largest passenger carrier. In 2003, there were 114,300 registered motor vehicles, including 68,500 passenger cars.

In 2004, there were an estimated 109 airports, but only 10 of which had paved runways as of 2005. Lusaka International is the principal airport. State-owned Zambia Airways is the national airline. Zambia Airways provides international service from Lusaka to several African and European countries, as well as domestic service to 17 Zambian centers. In 2003, about 51,000 passengers were carried on scheduled domestic and international flights.

There are 2,250 km (1,398 mi) of waterways, including Lake Tanganyika, and the Zambezi and Luapula rivers. Mpulungu on Lake Tanganyika is Zambia's only port and receives goods supplied through Tanzania. There are several fishing harbors on Kariba Lake.


The history of Zambia before the 19th century can be studied only through archaeology and oral traditions. Iron working and agriculture were practiced in some parts of Zambia by about ad 100. By ad 900, mining and trading were evident in southern Zambia. Between the 15th century (or possibly earlier) and the 18th century, various groups of Bantu migrants from the southern Congo settled in Zambia. By the beginning of the 19th century, three large-scale political units existed in Zambia, in three different types of geographic environment. On the northeast plateau between the valleys of the Luapula and Luangwa, the Bemba had established a system of chieftainships; the Lunda kingdom of Kazembe was in the Luapula Valley; and the kingdom of the Lozi was in the far west, in the floodplain of the upper Zambezi.

Zambia was affected by two "invasions" in the mid-19th century. Shaka's Zulu empire in South Africa set in motion a series of migrations, commonly referred to as the mfecane; groups of peoples, including the Ngoni, were forced to migrate north across the Zambezi in order to avoid the Zulu raids and conquests. The other invasion came in the form of traders from the northNyamwezi, Arabs, and Swahilidrawing Zambia into long-distance trading systems.

The first significant European contact was through Christian missionaries. David Livingstone explored the region near Lake Bangweulu extensively from 1851 to his death in 1873. In 1884, François Coillard, a French Protestant missionary, settled in Barotseland (now the Western Province).

In the 1890s, Cecil Rhodes' British South Africa Company, which had already established itself to the south, extended its charter to the lands north of the Zambezi. From 1891 to the end of 1923, the territoryknown as Northern Rhodesiawas ruled by this private company. Efforts to stimulate European settlement were disappointing, since anticipated discoveries of mineral wealth failed to materialize.

In the 1920s, new methods of exploiting the extensive mineral deposits in the Copperbelt region transformed the economic life of the territory. Development of these ore bodies, although hampered by the Great Depression, reversed the roles of the two Rhodesias. Northern Rhodesia, formerly viewed as an economic liability in any projected merger with Southern Rhodesia, now was seen as a source of wealth. European settlements rose rapidly, spurred directly by the requirements of the mining industry and indirectly by the subsequent expansion of the economy.

Before federation in 1953, the political development of the territory focused on two relationships: that of the European settlers with the colonial authorities on the one hand, and that between the settlers and the Africans on the other. The European settler community pressed for a greater voice in the colony's affairs. The major political issue involving the relations between Europeans and Africans concerned the allocation of land. Commissions on land policy designated the areas adjacent to the railway line as crown land. Although there was no legal bar to the acquisition of crown land by Africans, the effect of the arrangement was to exclude them from the commercially most attractive acreage.

In 1953, Northern Rhodesia became a member of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. Even though the overwhelming majority of Africans in the territory was opposed to the federal arrangement, the British government decided that Northern Rhodesia would participate in the federation. In 1960, a royal commission reported that, despite clear economic benefits, the majority of Africans in both Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland was opposed to the continuance of federation in its present form. In early 1962, Nyasaland's desire to secede from the federation was acknowledged by the British government.

Following its initiation into the federation, the government of Northern Rhodesia underwent constitutional changes, with a growing emphasis on African representation. Africans had not been represented on the Legislative Council until 1948, when two were named to that body. An enlarged Legislative Council, convened in 1954 just after the formation of the federation, included four Africans selected by the African Representative Council. A new constitution, introduced in January 1959, aimed at replacing the council with a political system based on a greater degree of cooperation between the races.

Discussions on a revision of this constitution began in December 1960 but were brought to an early close by disagreement between the European-dominated United Federal Party and the United National Independence Party (UNIP). But agreement was finally reached, and a new constitution came into effect in September 1962. Elections later that year produced an African majority in the Legislative Council, which then called for secession from the federation, full internal self-government under a new constitution, and a new National Assembly based on a broader, more democratic franchise.

The Republic of Zambia is Born

On 31 December 1963, the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland was formally dissolved. On 24 October 1964, Northern Rhodesia became an independent republic, and its name was changed to Zambia. Kenneth Kaunda, the leader of the ruling UNIP, became the nation's first president. Kaunda was reelected in 1969, 1973, 1978, and 1983, surviving a series of coup attempts during 198081.

During the 1970s, Zambia played a key role in the movement toward black majority rule in Rhodesia. Zambia's border with Rhodesia was closed from 1973 to 1978 by Kaunda in retaliation for Rhodesian raids into Zambia; the raids were intended to impede the infiltration of Patriotic Front guerrillas into Rhodesia from their Zambian bases. The emergence of independent, black-ruled Zimbabwe eased the political pressure, but a drastic decline of world copper prices in the early 1980s, coupled with a severe drought, left Zambia in a perilous economic position. The continuing civil war in Angola also had repercussions in Zambia, bringing disruption of Zambian trade routes and casualties among Zambians along the border.

A South African air raid near Lusaka on 19 May 1986 was aimed at curbing Zambia's support for black nationalist groups in exile there. Later in the year, Kaunda supported Commonwealth sanctions against South Africa but did not take action himself, since Zambia was heavily dependent on imports from South Africa.

Riots, the worst since independence, broke out on 9 December 1986 in protest against the removal of subsidies for cornmeal, which had caused the price to rise by 120%; 15 people were killed, hundreds were injured, and hundreds of shops were looted. Peace returned two days later when Kaunda restored the subsidy and nationalized the grain-milling industry. He also ruled thenceforth with state of emergency powers. Reduction in government spending in order to reduce the deficit had been demanded by the International Monetary Fund, along with the devaluation of the currency, as a condition for extending new loans to enable Zambia to pay for essential imports. On 1 May 1987, Kaunda rejected the IMF conditions for a new financing package of about $300 million. He limited payments on the foreign debt to well under 10% of export earnings and established a new fixed currency rate of eight kwacha to the dollar. This did little to improve the economy or the popularity of Kaunda and UNIP.

By early 1989, Zambia, in consultation with the IMF and the World Bank, developed a new economic reform plan. In early 1991, Zambia qualified for World Bank assistance for the first time since 1987, although this was later suspended. By 1990, a growing opposition to UNIP's monopoly of power had coalesced in the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD). A number of UNIP defectors and major labor leaders came together to pressure Kaunda to hold multiparty elections. In December 1990, after a tumultuous year that included riots in Lusaka and a coup attempt, Kaunda signed legislation ending UNIP's legal monopoly of power.

After difficult negotiations between the government and opposition groups, Zambia enacted a new constitution in August 1991. It enlarged the National Assembly, established an electoral commission, and allowed for more than one presidential candidate. Candidates no longer were required to be UNIP members. In September, Kaunda announced the date for Zambia's first multiparty parliamentary and presidential elections in 19 years. On 31 October and 1 November 1991, the 27-year long state of emergency was terminated. Frederick J. T. Chiluba (MMD) defeated Kaunda, 81% to 15%. The MMD won over 125 of the 150 elected seats in the Assembly. UNIP won 25 seats, although UNIP swept the Eastern Province, winning 19 seats there.

Despite the change of government, the economy still sputtered. Chiluba's austerity measures may have been popular with Zambia's creditors, but not with its people. Likewise, his privatization plans alarmed the unions, his original base of support. Chiluba's MMD in power became autocratic and corrupt. Kaunda, his family, and UNIP officials were harassed. The press began to criticize Chiluba's government and Chiluba lashed back. An Anticorruption Commission investigated three senior cabinet ministers suspected of abuse of office.

UNIP remained the principal target of Chiluba's wrath. In February 1993, a document known as "Operation Zero Option" was leaked to the press. Allegedly written by Kaunda loyalists, it called for a campaign of strikes, riots and crime to destabilize the government. On 4 March 1993, government declared a three-month state of emergency and detained 26 UNIP members, including three of Kaunda's sons. Chiluba lifted the state of emergency on May 25 and released all but eight of the detainees, whom he charged with offenses from treason to possession of seditious documents.

Throughout the 1990s, Zambia continued to face troubles in its attempts to modernize its economy and to reform its political system. Despite liquidation of the government's huge stake in the nation's industrial sector, and implementing a drastic austerity program to reduce its budget deficit, the country saw only marginal growth. Further, despite the promise of fresh beginnings in 1991, the country momentarily reverted to one-party rule under Chiluba as the MMD fraudulently won huge victories in the November 1996 elections prompting foreign donors to suspend aid payments briefly in early 1997. Subsequently, a campaign mounted by Chiluba and his party to amend the constitution to allow a third term was defeated. In the election of 27 December 2001, Chiluba's handpicked candidate Levy Mwanawasa was elected president with 29% of the vote; the MMD picked up 68 of 150 seats in the National Assembly. The vote was ruled flawed by international and local poll monitorsmainly on grounds of misuse of state funds and vote buying. An opposition petition to the Supreme Court alleged that the elections were rigged.

In an overture for national unity, or perhaps a bid to save his presidency, Mwanawasa named nine opposition members of parliament to his cabinet in February 2003. The move provoked a constitutional crisis when Mwanawasa refused to back down against a High Court ruling that the appointments were unconstitutional. Opposition parties expelled the members of parliament from the National Assembly. Later that month the Supreme Court declined a petition by former president Chiluba seeking immunity from prosecution under the government's anticorruption drive. Chiluba was accused of abuse of office and 60 counts of theft during his ten-years in office. In May 2003, under pressure from church, women's and other civil society groups, Mwanawasa conceded to the formation of a constituent assembly to review the constitution. Civic groups contended that the current document grants the executive far-reaching powers, which groups say is at odds with their vision for a people-driven constitution. Activist opponents of the president's vision for the constitutional review process took to wearing green ribbons and honking their horns on Fridays.

Levy Mwanawasa attempted to root out corruption in Zambia unlike the increasingly apparent corruption of the later years of Frederick Chiluba's time in office. Chiluba was arrested by Mwanawasa's government and charged with several counts of embezzlement and corruption, firmly quashing initial fears that President Mwanawasa would turn a blind eye to the allegations of his predecessor's corrupt practices. However, his early zeal to root out corruption waned, with key witnesses in the Chiluba trial leaving the country. The Constitutional Review Commission set up by Mwanawasa also hit some turbulence, with arguments as to where its findings should be submitted leading to suspicions that he has been trying to manipulate the outcome. Nevertheless, Zambian people view Mwanawasa's rule as a great improvement on Chiluba's corrupt regime.

In recent years, the government has considered participation in a future free trade area as part of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) arrangement. Food security and care for AIDS orphans and vulnerable children were also on the policy agenda. The government had also commenced the repatriation of some 5,000 Rwandan refugees. An estimated 1.2 million Zambians are HIV positive, with 21.5% of adults aged between 15 and 49 years infected with the virus. Around 86% of Zambians are classified as poor, which impacts nutritional status. Lingering fallout from crop failures and drought in the sub-region in 2001-2002 required targeted food aid for some 60,000 persons, down from a high of 2.7 million in 2002.


From 1953 to 1963, Northern Rhodesia was a protectorate under the jurisdiction of the British crown, within the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. On 24 October 1964, it became an independent republic. The constitution of January 1964 was amended in 1968 and in 1972, when it was officially announced that Zambia would become a one-party "participatory democracy," with the sole party the ruling United National Independence Party. A new constitution was drafted and received presidential assent in August 1973.

Under the 1973 constitution, the president of the Republic of Zambia was head of state, commander-in-chief of the armed forces, and president of the UNIP. Once chosen by the ruling party, the president had to be confirmed by a majority of the electorate, but there was no limitation on the length of the president's tenure in office. The prime minister was the leader of government business and an ex officio member of the UNIP Central Committee. As provided in the constitution, the Central Committee consisted of not more than 25 members, 20 to be elected at the party's general conference held every 5 years, and 3 to be nominated by the president, who was also a member. Cabinet decisions were subordinate to those of the UNIP Central Committee. The parliament consisted of the president and a National Assembly of 125 elected members, but all Assembly members had to be UNIP members, and their candidacy had to be approved by the party's Central Committee. The constitution also provided for a House of Chiefs of 27 members. A Bill of Rights guaranteed the fundamental freedom and rights of the individual, but if at any time the president felt the security of the state threatened, he had the power to proclaim a state of emergency. Indeed, Zambians lived under a state of emergency for 27 years.

In August 1991, a new constitution was promulgated. The president is now elected directly by universal suffrage and may serve a maximum of two five-year terms. The National Assembly has 150 directly elected members with up to eight appointed by the president, also for five-year terms. Since 2 January 2002, President Levy Mwanawasa served as head of state with Vice President Enoch Kavindele (4 May 2001) and on 4 October 2004 a new vice president was appointed, Lupando Mwape. The next presidential elections were scheduled for December 2006.


African nationalism began to rise in Northern Rhodesia after World War II. African welfare associations, founded before the war, developed rapidly into political organizations. In 1946, representatives from 14 welfare societies formed the Federation of Welfare Societies. In 1948, the federation was reconstituted as the Northern Rhodesia Congress. It became the North Rhodesian African National Congress (ANC) in 1951 under the leadership of Harry Nkumbula. In 1958, dissatisfaction with Nkumbula's leadership gave rise to a breakaway movement led by the party's secretary-general, Kenneth Kaunda. Kaunda formed the Zambia African National Congress, which was declared illegal the following year. In 1960, the United National Independence Party (UNIP) was formed under Kaunda's leadership. UNIP received a majority of the popular votes in the 1962 elections and formed the first government after independence. The ANC became the chief opposition party.

In 1967, the United Party (UP) was formed by Nalumino Mundia, a Lozi who had been dismissed from the cabinet in 1966. Its support came mainly from Barotseland in the southwest, where the UP promised to restore the power of the chiefs. After violence erupted in the Copperbelt, Kaunda banned the UP as a "threat to public security and peace," and Mundia and his principal officers were arrested. In August 1968, the UP was declared illegal. Mundia was released in 1969, joined the UNIP in 1974, and was named prime minister in 1981.

In the general elections of December 1969, the UNIP won 81 seats in the National Assembly, the ANC 23, and independents 1. Kaunda was reelected president. The elections were followed by violence and political unrest. At the opening of the new Assembly, the speaker refused to recognize the ANC as the official opposition. With the proclamation of a one-party state in December 1972, UNIP became the only legal party in Zambia. The ANC was assimilated into UNIP; the United Progressive Party, formed in August 1971, was summarily disbanded by the government, and its founder, Simon Kapwepwe, briefly arrested.

On 5 December 1973, the first presidential elections held under the new constitution brought the reelection of Kaunda to a third term with 85% of the vote. Voters also filled the 125 elective seats in the National Assembly. In 1975, the UNIP declared its ranks open to former followers of banned parties, but in 1978 candidacy was restricted to those with five years' continuous UNIP membership. National Assembly and presidential elections were held in December 1978, with Kaunda, again unopposed, receiving 80.5% of the vote. In the elections of October 1983, Kaunda's share of the total rose to 93%. A total of 766 candidates ran for the 125 Assembly seats.

After considerable social unrest in 1986 and again in 1990, the Kaunda government came under domestic and international pressure to end UNIP's monopoly in legitimate partisan activity. A Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) was formed and led by trade unionists and defectors from UNIP. Finally, in December 1990, Kaunda signed into law a bill legalizing opposition political parties. In the new constitution adopted in August 1991, candidates are no longer required to belong to UNIP.

These changes paved the way to multiparty presidential and parliamentary elections on 31 October and 1 November 1991, the first in 19 years. The MMD's leader, Frederick Chiluba, easily won the presidency, 81% to 15% for Kaunda. The MMD got 125 seats to 15 for UNIP in the National Assembly. Kaunda and his family were harassed by the MMD, which forced Kaunda to step down as UNIP leader in August 1992. However, he returned a few years later to reclaim UNIP leadership. He briefly considered running on the UNIP ticket in the national presidential elections in 2001.

Since the legalization of multiparty competition, more than 30 parties have operated in the country. Parties include Agenda for Zambia (AZ), Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD), Heritage Party (HP), Progressive Front (PF), Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD), National Citizens Coalition (NCC), National Leadership for Development (NLD), National Party (NP), Patriotic Front (PF), Zambian Republican Party (ZRP), Social Democratic Party (SDP), United National Independence Party (UNIP), United Party for National Development (UPND), and the National Democratic Alliance (NADA). The United Democratic Party and the United Democratic Congress Party are headed by former top UNIP leaders. The National Party (also with prominent ex-MMD figures) was created in August 1993 and won four seats in the Assembly in 199394 by-elections. Within the MMD there is a breakaway group, the Caucus for National Unity, to root out corruption in government.

In elections held on 20 November 1996, President Frederick Chiluba and the MMD won over 85% of the available seats in the National Assembly. However, independent observers condemned the election as being rigged by the MMD.

In the election of 27 December 2001, Levy Mwanawasa was elected president with 29% of the vote to 27% for Anderson Mazoka, 13% for Christon Tembo, 10% for Tilyenji Kaunda, 8% for Godfrey Miyanda, 5% for Benjamin Mwila, and 3% for Michael Sata. In the legislative contest held the same date, eight parties won seats in the National Assembly. The MMD claimed 45.9% of the vote winning 68 seats, followed by the UPND with 32.4% and 48 seats, the UNIP with 8.8% and 13 seats, the FDD with 8.1% and 12 seats, the HP with 2.7% and 4 seats, the PF with 0.7% and one seat, the ZRP with 0.7% and one seat, and independents with 0.7% and one seat. Two seats were not determined. The next elections were due in December 2006.


Zambia is divided into nine provinces (including the special province of Lusaka), administered by officials appointed by the central government. Each province is further divided into districts, presided over by district secretaries. Around 55% of Zambians live in towns and cities, giving Zambia one of the highest urbanization rates in Africa. Lusaka has a city council, and the other large towns have councils or town management boards; most townships, however, are directly administered by government officers. Local elections in urban areas are organized on a ward system with universal adult suffrage. Local urban authorities can levy taxes, borrow money, and own and manage housing projects. They control roads, water, power, town planning, health facilities, and other public services within their areas.

Administrative districts lying outside municipal and township areas are governed by rural councils, consisting of members elected by universal adult suffrage and a minority of nominated members, mainly chiefs, appointed by the under minister of the interior. Councils have evolved from the former native authorities, which were constituted on a tribal basis. The rural councils have frequently cut across African societal boundaries in order to establish larger and more viable units. The functions and powers of rural councils are similar to those of the urban local authorities.


The judicial system is based on English common law and customary law. Common law is administered by several High Courts, which have authority to hear criminal and civil cases and appeals from lower courts. Resident magistrate's courts are also established at various centers. Local courts mainly administer customary law, especially cases relating to marriage, property, and inheritance.

Under the constitution of 1991, the Supreme Court is the highest court in Zambia and serves as the final court of appeal. The chief justice and other eight judges are appointed by the president. In consultation with the prime minister, the president also appoints the director of public prosecution and the attorney general, the latter being the principal legal adviser to the government. The independence of the judiciary has been respected by the government. Trials in magistrate courts are public.


As of 2005, the strength of the armed forces was 15,100 active personnel, supported by 3,000 reservists and paramilitary forces that consisted of two police battalions, totaling 1,400 members. The Army had 13,500 personnel, whose equipment included 30 main battle tanks and 30 light tanks. The Air Force had 1,600 personnel operating 33 combat capable aircraft, that included 14 fighters and 12 fighter ground attack aircraft. In 2005, the defense budget totaled $48.1 million.


Zambia joined the United Nations on 1 December 1964 and participates in ECA and several nonregional specialized agencies, such as the FAO, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, the FAO, the World Bank, IAEA, and the WHO. It belongs to the African Development Bank, the ACP Group, the Commonwealth of Nations, G-77, the WTO, COMESA, and the African Union. Located in Zambia are the headquarters of the International Red Locust Control Organization for Central and Southern Africa, as well as COMESA headquarters, an office of the UN High Commissioner of Refugees, and a regional office of the UN Institute for Namibia, established to provide training for future administrators of an independent Namibian state. Zambia belongs to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Preferential Trade Area for Eastern and Southern Africa.

Zambia has played an important role in peace negotiation efforts for neighboring states, particularly the DROC. The country has also supported UN operations and missions in Kosovo (est. 1999), Ethiopia and Eritrea (est. 2000), Liberia (est. 2003), Sierra Leone (est. 1999), Burundi (est. 2004), and Côte d'Ivoire (est. 2004). Zambia is part of the Nonaligned Movement.

In environmental cooperation, Zambia is part of the Basel Convention, the Convention on Biological Diversity, Ramsar, CITES, the Montréal Protocol, the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and the UN Conventions on the Law of the Sea, Climate Change, and Desertification.


The Zambian economy was in a precarious state during the 1990s. High inflation, severe drought, declining export prices, and failed economic policies all took their toll. Four of the nation's 20 banks failed and total debt stood at $7 billion in 1999. Divided into the population, that was $700 of debt per capita, compared with a GDP per capita of only $380. After steady declines in per capita GDP, Zambia was redesignated a least developed country by the United Nations. The impact of inflation on the poor, the middle class, and business eroded public support for the government's reform policies. Economic reforms aimed at privatizing the economy succeeded in selling approximately 85% of 330 parastatal companies, including the main copper mining conglomerate Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines (ZCCM) in 2000.

The first sign that tight monetary and fiscal policies were beginning to have an effect, was a rapid drop in the inflation rate, but by 1998, the rate had increased from 19% in 1997 to 31% in 2001. It was forecast to remain at around 20% in 2002. After the drought of 1992, agricultural production rebounded with record harvests of many crops, but the government's tight cash budget policy limited its capacity to purchase the crops. The key copper industry (which took in 80% of export revenues in 1999), maintained production levels, but depressed world prices kept revenues at lower levels. However, in 2000, copper export earnings reached $800 million, a 5.4% increase over 1999, but declined to $595 million in 2003. As of 2003, there was growing interest in developing coffee and tobacco as cash crops, but the main agricultural product is maize, a noncash crop necessary for domestic consumption. The tourism industry is growing. In 2000 Zambia became eligible for $3.8 billion in debt relief under the IMF/World Bank Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative.

In 2005, the kwacha had gained some ground and remained strong, but falling copper prices and the need for maize imports will put downward pressure on it. Furthermore, the only oil refinery in Zambia was shut down in 2005 bringing the country into a fuel crisis that is likely to wreck havoc on an already weak economy. The fuel crisis has adversely affected the mining sector. It is estimated that about 1.7 million Zambians do not have adequate food due to a prolonged drought.


The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports that in 2005 Zambia's gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at $10.3 billion. The CIA defines GDP as the value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year and computed on the basis of purchasing power parity (PPP) rather than value as measured on the basis of the rate of exchange based on current dollars. The per capita GDP was estimated at $900. The annual growth rate of GDP was estimated at 5.8%. The average inflation rate in 2005 was 19%. It was estimated that agriculture accounted for 21.7% of GDP, industry 29.5%, and services 48.8%.

Foreign aid receipts amounted to $560 million or about $54 per capita and accounted for approximately 13.4% of the gross national income (GNI).

The World Bank reports that in 2003 household consumption in Zambia totaled $2.89 billion or about $278 per capita based on a GDP of $4.3 billion, measured in current dollars rather than PPP. Household consumption includes expenditures of individuals, households, and nongovernmental organizations on goods and services, excluding purchases of dwellings. It was estimated that for the period 1990 to 2003 household consumption grew at an average annual rate of -2.6%. Approximately 52% of household consumption was spent on food, 8% on fuel, 2% on health care, and 11% on education. It was estimated that in 1993 about 86% of the population had incomes below the poverty line.


In 2005, the labor force in Zambia was estimated at 4.8 million persons. Agriculture accounts for 85% of the country's workforce, with industry accounting for only 6% and the services sector only 9%. In 2000 it was estimated that 50% of the workforce was unemployed.

The Labor Department is responsible for employment exchange services and for enforcing protective labor legislation. In 2002, about 60% of the country's 300,000 formal wage earners were unionized. There were about 19 large national labor unions, all but one of them affiliated with the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU). With the exception of essential services, all workers have the right to strike.

The minimum wage was $0.07 per hour in 2002. The maximum regular workweek is 48 hours, but most wage earners work 40hour weeks. The minimum working age is 16 years. This is enforced in the industrial sector but not in subsistence agriculture, domestic services, or the informal economy where children are more likely to work. The law also regulates minimum health and safety standards in industry but staffing problems at the Ministry of Labor chronically limit enforcement effectiveness.


The development of commercial farming followed the construction of the railroad in the early 20th century, but the main stimulus did not come until World War II (193945), when it was necessary to ensure a maximum output of copper and to minimize the shipping space required for food imports. Food production continued to expand as the copper industry helped raise living standards. Additional European immigration in the 1950s, as well as programs to diversify the economy, gave rise to the production for export of tobacco, cotton, and peanuts. However, partly because of the rapidly rising population, agricultural output never reached the point of meeting domestic food requirements. Only 5% of the land area is cultivated at any time, although a much larger area is potentially arable.

The majority of Zambia's population engages in subsistence farming. The principal subsistence crops are corn, sorghum, and cassava, while the main cash crops are tobacco, corn, sugarcane, peanuts, and cotton. In 1992, liberalized marketing began for most crops, but because of the 1991/92 drought, corn marketing remained under government control. A bountiful 1993 harvest made a solid recovery from the drought. In 2003, agriculture accounted for 23% of total GDP.

Production of tobacco, the most important export crop, was estimated at 4,800 tons in 2004. Marketed corn production in 2004 was 1,161,000 tons. Cotton production reached 22,000 tons of fiber. Also marketed in 2004 were 1,800,000 tons of sugarcane, 10,000 tons of sunflowers, 42,000 tons of peanuts, and 135,000 tons of wheat.


The estimated livestock population in 2005 included 2,600,000 head of cattle, 1,270,000 goats, 340,000 hogs, and 150,000 sheep. Cattle production in certain regions is limited by sleeping sickness, carried by the tsetse fly. During 2005, beef production was 40,800 tons; poultry, 36,500 tons. Meat production in 2005 was estimated at 127,000 tons.


Because Zambia's inland waters are a valuable source of food and employment, the fishing industry plays an important part in the rural economy. Large quantities of fish, most of which are transported by rail to processing centers, are frozen or dried. Major quantities are obtained from Bangweulu, Tanganyika, and Mweru lakes, and from the Kafue and Luapula rivers. The catch in 2003 was 69,500 tons.


About 42% of Zambia is covered by forest; commercial exploitation is concentrated in the southwest and in the Copperbelt. Roundwood production was about 8.05 million cu m (284 million cu ft) in 2004, 90% of it for fuel needs.


Zambia's mining sector in 2003 was dominated by the production of copper and cobalt, for which the country ranks 11th and second in the world, respectively. The country was also a leading producer of gem quality emeralds. However, mining and quarrying as a whole, accounted for only 2.8% of Zambia's gross domestic product (GDP) in 2003, although employment in that industry rose to 53,900, from 39,900 in 2002. Gemstones, mined mostly by small-scale and artisanal miners, also recorded significant earnings; earnings from this segment may amount to as much as $250 million per year, since much of the output bypassed official counts. Construction was another leading industry, along with the production of chemicals and fertilizers. By 2000, privatization of most of the major mines, including copper, had been completed, and efforts were ongoing to privatize the gemstone and other small mines sectors, and to attract foreign investors to develop other known metallic and industrial mineral resources. Among the difficulties faced by landlocked Zambia were high transportation costs, the threat posed by HIV/AIDS to the labor force, cyclical world commodity prices, and the impact of civil wars in Angola and Democratic Republic of the Congo on foreign investment.

In 2003, total copper mine output (by concentration, cementation, and leaching; metal content) was 349,000 metric tons, up from 330,000 metric tons in 2002. The output of cobalt (metal content), as a by-product of copper mining and processing, was 6,550 metric tons, up from 6,144 metric tons in 2002. The mining industry has been effected by declining world copper demand, slow global economic growth, labor unrest, transportation difficulties, including port and rail congestion, and shortages of spare parts, raw materials, and fuel. Most of Zambia's major mines had been privatized by 2000. However, investment reversals in 2002 involved the Konkola Mines and the Baluba-Luanshya Mines. As a result, the government was forced to reopen privatization bids.

Among the largest copper mines were the Nkana (5.5 million tons ore per year capacity), the Nchanga and Chingola open-pits (4.5 million tons ore per year), the Nchanga underground (2.8 million tons), the Mufalira (2.8 million tons), the Konkola underground (2.2 million tons), the Luanshya underground (1.7 million tons), and the Baluba underground (1.4 million tons). The country's total mineral resources exceeded 2,580 million tons, with ore reserves of 728 million tons. Equinox Resources Ltd.'s Lumwana project, with two large copper-cobalt-gold-uranium deposits (Chimiwunga and Malundwe), had resources of 1 billion tons that contained 0.67% copper, and 481 million tons of ore (1% copper). The Kalimba Group's Nama and Ngosa areas had a resource of 950 million tons.

Zambia also produced gold, refined selenium, silver, cement, clays (including brick, china, and ball), gemstones (amethyst, beryl, emerald, red garnet, and tourmaline), calcined lime, limestone, sand and gravel, and sulfur. No iron ore, tin, aquamarine, citrine, feldspar, magnetite, or nitrogen has been produced for several years. Exploration was being carried out for zinc, and for diamonds in western Zambia.


Zambia is self-sufficient in electricity. The country's output of electric power in 2002 totaled 9.015 billion kWh, of which nearly 100% was from hydropower. Consumption of electricity in that year totaled 5.684 billion kWh. Total electric power generating capacity in 2002 was 1.8 million kW. Zambia exports almost 30% of its production to Zimbabwe.

Zambia relies almost entirely on imports to meet its hydrocarbon needs. In 2002, imports of all petroleum products averaged 12,240 barrels per day, of which crude oil accounted for 9,500 barrels per day. Refined oil product output in 2002 averaged 9,800 barrels per day. Refined petroleum consumption that year averaged 12,190 barrels per day. Crude oil is imported by means of a pipeline from Tanzania.

Coal production in 2002 totaled 231,000 short tons, all of which was bituminous. Demand for coal that year totaled 150,000 short tons.


Industry accounted for 28% of GDP in 2001. Apart from copper refining, the most important industries are those connected with the manufacture of sulfuric acid, fertilizer, compressor lubricants, electrical appliances and parts, glass, batteries, cigarettes, textiles, yarn, glycerine, vehicle and tractor assembling, sawmilling, wood and joinery manufacture, tire retreading, processing of food and drink, and the manufacture of cement and cement products. Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia, which produces fertilizer, is the largest nonmining enterprise. Since tariff barriers for imports have been lifted, many manufacturing facilities have closed, especially in the clothing industry.

To assist in the establishment of manufacturing and processing industries, the government has formed the Industrial Development Corp. of Zambia (INDECO). It has developed a number of enterprises, including a chemical-fertilizers plant, an explosives plant, a glass bottle factory, and a battery factory; these projects were joint ventures with foreign companies. The country has one oil refinery, at Ndola, with a production capacity of 24,000 barrels per day.


The National Council for Scientific Research, founded in 1967 at Lusaka, advises the government on scientific matters and coordinates and disseminates the results of the Zambian research effort. Scientific learned societies include the Engineering Institution of Zambia, founded in 1955 at Lusaka. Research institutes specialize in fisheries, veterinary science, geology, agriculture, forestry and forest products, tropical diseases, pneumoconiosis, and red locust control. The University of Zambia, founded in 1965 at Lusaka, has departments of natural sciences, engineering, medicine, agricultural sciences, veterinary sciences, and mines. Copperbelt University, founded in 1979 at Kitwe, has schools of environmental studies and technology. Three other colleges offer courses in agriculture and engineering. In 198797, science and engineering students accounted for 16% of college and university enrollments. In 1999 (the latest year for which data is available, there were 55 researchers and 17 technicians engaged in research and development per million people. In 2002, high technology exports totaled $2 million, or 2% of the country's manufactured exports.


Since independence, trading activity has increased in both rural and urban areas, especially in Lusaka. The Zambian Privatization Agency was in the process of privatizing parastatals that controlled large wholesale and retail chains. Centers of trading activity are the main towns along the rail line. Wholesale outlets are prevalent in larger towns and cities, while individually owned vendors and smaller retail shops are common in smaller communities and remote areas.

Normal business hours are from 8 am to 5 pm, MondayFriday, and 8 am to 12:30 pm on Saturday. Banks are open from 8:15 am to 12:45 pm on most weekdays, but close at noon on Thursdays and 11 am on Saturdays.


Mineral commodities account for about 90% of exports, led by copper and cobalt. Other export commodities include zinc, lead, and tobacco. Leading imports are machinery, transportation equipment, foodstuffs, fuels, petroleum products, electricity, and fertilizer.


Zambian trade is normally in rough balance. However, a heavy debt burden gives the country a current account deficit, and hard currency is often in short supply. Total debt service payments in 1997 equaled $277 million, or about 21% of export earnings.

In the early 2000s, the trade deficit worsened due to mining-related imports needed to reform the privatized copper industry. Nonetheless, an improvement in official and commercial inflows,

Country Exports Imports Balance
World 929.5 1,252.7 -323.2
United Kingdom 393.6 153.6 240.0
South Africa 214.0 641.7 -427.7
Tanzania 71.1 14.9 56.2
Switzerland-Liechtenstein 57.1 6.9 50.2
Congo (DROC) 39.8 39.8
Malawi 19.4 3.8 15.6
Belgium 17.3 7.8 9.5
India 17.0 45.5 -28.5
Zimbabwe 14.1 97.9 -83.8
Netherlands 11.3 6.6 4.7
() data not available or not signifi cant.
Current Account -584.0
    Balance on goods -221.0
       Imports -978.0
       Exports 757.0
    Balance on services -226.0
    Balance on income -120.0
    Current transfers -18.0
Capital Account 153.0
Financial Account -274.0
    Direct investment abroad
    Direct investment in Zambia 122.0
    Portfolio investment assets
    Portfolio investment liabilities -1.0
    Financial derivatives
    Other investment assets -85.0
    Other investment liabilities -309.0
Net Errors and Omissions 185.0
Reserves and Related Items 520.0
() data not available or not signifi cant.

supported by a resumption of concessional donor support, was expected to prompt a recovery.

The Economist Intelligence Unit reported that in 2005 the purchasing power parity of Zambia's exports was $1.947 billion while imports totaled $1.934 billion resulting in a trade deficit of 13 million.


In November 1970, the Zambian government announced that it would take a majority interest in all banks operating in Zambia; however, the banking proposals were later modified so that the government became majority shareholder through the State Finance and Development Corp. of the already state-owned Zambia National Commercial Bank Ltd. (ZNCB) and the Commercial Bank of Zambia. The state-owned Bank of Zambia (BOZ), the central bank founded in 1964, sets and controls all currency and banking activities in the country.

In 2002, the leading commercial banks were subsidiaries of Barclays, Citibank, Equator Bank, Standard Chartered, First Alliance, and Stanbic. There are two development banks: the Development Bank of Zambia and the Lima Bank. Other state-owned financial institutions include the Zambia National Building Society, and the Import Export Bank of Zambia, launched in early 1988 to promote trade generally and nontraditional exports in particular. In 1985, the first locally and privately owned bank was formed, the African Commercial Bank. Its success led to the establishment of several more, including Cavmont Merchant Bank, making Zambia one of Africa's most "overcrowded" countries in terms of banking, with 28 registered commercial banks at the end of December 1994. This number had dropped to twelve, however, by 2002.

The International Monetary Fund reports that in 2001, currency and demand depositsan aggregate commonly known as M1were equal to $288.4 million. In that same year, M2an aggregate equal to M1 plus savings deposits, small time deposits, and money market mutual fundswas $764.3 million.

In 1997, things were looking up for the Lusaka Stock Exchange (LuSE), which has in the past struggled to attract new listings and improve its frequently thin trading volumes.


On 1 January 1972, the Zambia State Insurance Corp. (ZSIC) took over all insurance transactions in Zambia. The operations of ZSIC cover fire, marine, aviation, accident, motor vehicle, and life insurance. All imports must be insured with this agency.


With its heavy dependency on copper, Zambia is able to show comfortable surpluses in its public accounts only when the mining industry is prosperous. From 1985 to 1987, Zambia attempted to implement a structural reform program, sponsored by the IBRD and IMF. In 1987, however, the government stopped the program and reverted to deficit spending and monetary creation. By 1992, a new government was committed to curtailing public expenditures through privatization and decreasing the civil service. By 1998, more than 85% of parastatals were privatized. In early 2000, the giant parastatal mining company, Zambian Consolidated Copper Mines (ZCCM) was completely privatized; that transaction helped Zambia satisfy the conditions for balance of payment support.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimated that in 2005 Zambia's central government took in revenues of approximately $1.6 billion and had expenditures of $1.8 billion. Revenues minus expenditures totaled approximately -$178 million. Public debt in 2005 amounted to 104.2% of GDP. Total external debt was $5.866 billion.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported that in 1999, the most recent year for which it had data, budgetary central government revenues were k1,844.4 billion and expenditures were

Revenue and Grants 1,844.4 100.0%
   Tax revenue 1,378.3 74.7%
   Social contributions
   Grants 414.2 22.5%
   Other revenue 51.9 2.8%
Expenditures 1,874.3 100.0%
   General public services 758.9 40.5%
   Defense 73.7 3.9%
   Public order and safety 61.4 3.3%
   Economic affairs 383.4 20.5%
   Environmental protection
   Housing and community amenities 43.3 2.3%
   Health 248 13.2%
   Recreational, culture, and religion 10.5 0.6%
   Education 270.8 14.4%
   Social protection 24.3 1.3%
() data not available or not significant. f = forecasted or projected data.

k1,874.3 billion. The value of revenues in US dollars was us$770 million and expenditures us$780 million, based on a official exchange rate for 1999 of us$1 = k2,388.02 as reported by the IMF. Government outlays by function were as follows: general public services, 40.5%; defense, 3.9%; public order and safety, 3.3%; economic affairs, 20.5%; housing and community amenities, 2.3%; health, 13.2%; recreation, culture, and religion, 0.6%; education, 14.4%; and social protection, 1.3%.


As of 2005, Zambia's corporate tax rate ranged from 15% up to 45%, depending upon the type of business. Generally, dividends, interest, royalties and management fees are each subject to a 15% withholding tax. There is also a mineral royalty tax and a property transfer tax.

Income taxes include a 1% charge by local Councils on the gross salaries of employees after a deduction of 300,000 Kwacha (about $66.55) and a 1.015% property tax. Individual income is taxed according to a progressive schedule with four bands: 0% on the first 600,000 Kwacha (about $133) of annual income; 10% on the next 600,000 Kwacha; 20% on the next 600,000 Kwacha, and 30% on the increment of annual income above 1,800,000 Kwacha (about $400).

A value-added tax (VAT) with a standard rate of 20% replaced the sales tax in 1995. The standard rate was subsequently reduced to 17.5%, where it stands as of 2005. Items exempted from VAT include insurance transactions, mosquito nets and insecticides, and exports.


Tariff schedules give preferential treatment to imports from the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries. Zambia belongs to the Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), both committed to free trade. Rebates are allowed on certain capital goods and on most materials used in local manufacturing industries. Tariff protection also is accorded to selected new industries. Most imports require licenses. Import duties ranged from 5% for raw materials and capital equipment, 15% for intermediate goods, and 25% on final products as of 2005. Selected items, such as soaps and vegetable cooking oils, carry special protective tariffs. There are no free trade zones.


In the past, the heaviest concentrations of foreign private capital in Zambia were in the mining enterprises of the Copperbelt. Anglo-American holds only a 27% interest in the national mining company ZCCM, a company that was privatized in 2000. Most investment is from the United Kingdom or South Africa. Although tax holidays have been offered as incentives, Zambia's highly socialized economy has not been conducive to private foreign investment, and exchange controls have made the repatriation of profits and dividends difficult.

Laws concerning retention of foreign exchange have been consistent, achieving full liberalization only recently. In 1983, exporters of nontraditional items could keep 50% of earned foreign exchange to finance imported inputs. This resulted in a fivefold increase in nonmetal exports. This provision was revoked in 1987. The Investment Act of 1991 provided for a 70% foreign exchange retention during the first three years of a license, 60% in the next two years, and 50% for the rest of the license's term. This act was subsequently revised to allow for full retention of foreign exchange earnings.

Annual foreign direct investment (FDI) flow into Zambia reached $207 million in 1997, after which it steadily declined, from $198 million in 1998 to $72 million in 2001. Zambia's success in attracting FDI declined from 1990 to 2000. The FDI flow increased steadily from $82 million in 2002 to $334 million in 2004. For the period 1988 to 1999, Zambia's share of world FDI inflows was more than four times its share in world GDP. For the period 1998 to 2000, its share of world inward FDI was less than twice its share of world GDP.


Controlling inflation is a development priority, followed by faster implementation of social sector programs, legal and civil service reform, and privatization. New investment has been slow to form as investors await anticipated lower inflation rates. The lack of administrative capacity lies at the heart of the delays. Various debt cancellations and loans have been prescribed by the World Bank (loan of $170 million), Paris Club (aid of $630 million), and the United States (aid of $20 million). Inflation stood at 26.7% in 2002 and at 18.5% in 2004.

The public sector in 2003 represented some 44% of total formal employment. In 2000, Zambia became eligible for $3.8 billion in debt service relief under the International Monetary Fund (IMF)/World Bank Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. In July 2005, the world's eight leading industrialized nations (G8) agreed to provide further debt relief for poor countries including Zambia. The additional relief for Zambia would cut around $2.8 billion and combining this with the $3.9 billion debt write-off package agreed under the heavily indebted poor countries (HIPC) initiative, Zambia's debt burden would decline to just $300 million by mid-2006. This comes as a direct result of the government's fiscal austerity measures which had finally paid off through the two debt cancellations which is likely to renew confidence of donors and investors in the country's economic policies.

In 2003, the government indicated it would take measures to privatize the Zambia National Commercial Bank and the national telephone and electricity utilities. In 2005, the Zambia Privatisation Agency (ZPA) invited bids for 49% government shareholding in the Zambia National Commercial Bank with management rights. The closing date for submission of bids was 13 September 2005 with bids received from three entities. In addition to undertaking a relatively ambitious privatization program, Zambia in the early 2000s was implementing trade and exchange liberalization, and the liberalization of agricultural policies.


A social insurance system provides benefits to most employed persons. Coverage includes old age pensions, permanent disability benefits, and survivorship payments. Medical care is available to all citizens in government facilities. Workers' compensation is funded totally by the employer. A funeral grant is also provided.

A national provident fund requires employers and employees to make contributions toward a worker's retirement at ages 5055. This program covers employed persons, including domestic servants in urban areas, and agricultural workers. The lump sum payment is equivalent to contributions plus interest. Maternity leave of 90 days plus a maternity grant for each birth are provided to working women. Medical benefits are available to all citizens in government run facilities and rural health clinics. Employers are required to fund work injury insurance for all employees.

Domestic violence against women is a widespread problem. Police are hesitant to interfere, although in 2004 the government formed a sex crimes unit to address the issue. Women have full legal rights under law, but customs discriminate against women in areas of inheritance, property ownership, and marriage. Sex-based discrimination in education and employment is pervasive. Women are underrepresented in senior management positions in the private sector and in high-level government positions. However, a growing number of women can be found in local government. Child welfare is a serious concern; there were approximately one million orphans under the age of 15 in 2004, mostly attributable to the deaths of parents from AIDS.

Human rights abuses, including beatings and even the killing of persons in police custody, continue to be reported. A government-created commission is investigating past human rights abuses and some offenders have been punished. However, human rights organizations operate freely in Zambia.


In 1964, responsibility for public health was transferred from the federation to Zambian authorities. Since then, the government has developed a health plan centered on specialist hospitals, with general and regional hospitals dealing with less complicated cases. At a lower level, district hospitals treat common medical and surgical cases. Rural health centers and clinics with outpatient facilities have been established throughout the country. Services to Zambian nationals are free at the rural health centers and clinics and at hospitals at the large urban centers. Due to government spending restrictions, the public health care sector has suffered from a severe shortage of doctors, medicine, and medical equipment and supplies. Health indicators have suffered since the advent of the AIDS epidemic, with earlier improvements reversed. For example, average life expectancy, which has been declining since 1984, was down to 39.70 years in 2005.

The government records indicated nine hospitals and a few small outpatient clinics. Zambia produces locally 25% of the pharmaceuticals it consumes. As of 2004, there were an estimated 7 physicians and 113 nurses per 100,000 people. Total health care expenditure was estimated at 6.9% of GDP.

Malaria and tuberculosis are major health problems, and hookworm and schistosomiasis afflict a large proportion of the population. Cholera remains prevalent. In addition, the HIV/AIDS epidemic has increased the incidence of tuberculosis. Other commonly reported diseases in Zambia were diarrheal diseases, leprosy, and measles.

Zambia has one of the highest rates of HIV infection, even in hard-hit sub-Saharan Africa. The HIV/AIDS prevalence was 16.50 per 100 adults in 2003. As of 2004, there were approximately 920,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in the country. There were an estimated 89,000 deaths from AIDS in 2003. It has been estimated that 500,0001,000,000 Zambian children have lost both parents to AIDS.

As of 2002, the crude birth rate and overall mortality rate were estimated at, respectively, 41 and 21.9 per 1,000 people. About 26% of Zambian married women used contraceptives. The maternal mortality rate was 649 per 100,000 live births. It was estimated that 32 of every 100 school-age children suffered from goiter. Children up to one year old were immunized against tuberculosis, 81%; diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus, 70%; polio, 70%; and measles, 69%. The infant mortality rate in 2005 was 88.29 per 1,000 live births. In the same year, 42% of the all children under five were malnourished.


Widespread instances of overcrowding and slum growth have for many years focused government attention on urban housing problems. Local authorities have statutory responsibility for housing and housing management. The Zambia National Building Society makes loans to local agencies for the financing of approved schemes and the National Housing Authority established a special fund to support self-help projects for low-income earners. One program gives land ownership to certain residents in recognized informal settlements, thus giving them legal status to build more permanent structures. Mining companies have constructed townships for the families of African workers in the Copperbelt.

The 2000 census counted 1,768,287 housing units nationwide. A 2002/2003 housing survey stated that 66% of all dwellings were defined as traditional structures; these use mud bricks, thatch, straw, and grass as primary building materials. Traditional dwellings accounted for 91% of the housing stock in rural areas and 16% in urban areas. About 34% of the population lived in modern or conventional housing structures. Conventional structures accounted for 86% of the housing stock in Lusaka province and 72% of housing in Copperbelt. About 78% of all dwellings were owner occupied. About 54% of all households lived in units of only one bedroom. Only 50% of all households had access to a source of clean drinking water, 18% had electricity for lighting, and over 50% of all households used pit latrines. The average household size was about five members.


Most of the nation's schools are operated by local authorities or by missions and are aided by the central government. A small number of schools are directly administered by the government. Primary education lasts for seven years and is compulsory. Secondary education lasts for five years: two years of junior and three years of senior school. Students must pass an entrance exam to enter senior secondary school.

Primary school enrollment in 2003 was estimated at about 68% of age-eligible students. The same year, secondary school enrollment was about 23% of age-eligible students. It is estimated that about 69% of all students complete their primary education. The student-to-teacher ratio for primary school was at about 43:1 in 2003; the ratio for secondary school was about 34:1.

The University of Zambia was established in 1965, and the Copperbelt University opened in 1986. Other institutions of higher learning include technical colleges and a two-year college of agriculture. In 2001, it was estimated that about 2% of the tertiary age population were enrolled in tertiary education programs. The adult literacy rate for 2004 was estimated at about 67.9%, with 76.1% for men and 59.7% for women.

As of 2003, public expenditure on education was estimated at 2% of GDP, or 17.6% of total government expenditures.


The Zambia Library Service maintains 900 library centers, six regional libraries, six branch libraries, and a central library with 500,000 volumes. The Lusaka Urban District Libraries has 145,000 volumes, and the Zambesi District Library has 120,000. The National Archives of Zambia maintains a library of about 70,000 volumes. The University of Zambia has holdings of more than 2.5 million books.

Zambia's museums include the National Museum, located in Livingstone. It has displays on natural history, archaeology, ethnography, recent history, African art, metallurgy, and memorabilia relating to David Livingstone. The Eastern Cataract Field Museum near Victoria Falls concentrates on archaeology and geology, including illustrations of the formation of the falls and the Stone Age sequence in the area. Lusaka has the Art Center and the Military and Police Museum of Zambia. The Moto Moto Museum in Mbala (founded in 1974) exhibits ethnography and history materials. The Copperbelt Museum at Ndola exhibits geological and historical items as well as ethnic art.


The central government is responsible for postal and telecommunication services. A direct radiotelegraph circuit has been established between Lusaka and London, and direct telephone links are in operation to all neighboring countries. In 2003, there were an estimated eight mainline telephones for every 1,000 people; about 11,600 people were on a waiting list for telephone service installation. The same year, there were approximately 22 mobile phones in use for every 1,000 people.

The Zambia Broadcasting Service, which provides radio programs in English and seven local languages, and Zambian Television are government owned and operated. As of 2001, there were also several church-sponsored radio stations, two private commercial stations and three community stations. The same year there were 19 AM and 5 FM radio stations. There were nine television stations in 2002. In 2003, there were an estimated 179 radios and 51 television sets for every 1,000 people. The same year, there were 8.5 personal computers for every 1,000 people and six of every 1,000 people had access to the Internet. There were two secure Internet servers in the country in 2004.

There are a number of privately-owned newspapers in the country. However, the publications with the largest circulations tend to be politically affiliated. There are three major daily newspapers: the UNIP-owned Times of Zambia, founded in Ndola in 1943 and with an estimated 2002 daily circulation of 32,100; the government-owned Zambia Daily Mail, published in Lusaka, with a circulation of 40,000; and The Post, an independent English-language paper founded in 1991, with a circulation of 40,000.

The constitution provides for free expression, including a free press; however the penal code lists several exceptions and justifies government restrictions and censorship.


Professional and learned societies include the Wildlife Conservation Society of Zambia, the Zambia Library Association, and the Zambia Medical Association, all in Lusaka. Business groups include chambers of commerce in the major towns. The Zambia Association of Chambers of Commerce and Industry is located in Lusaka. The Consumer Protective Association of Zambia is also active.

National youth organizations include the Catholic Agricultural and Rural Youth Movement, Girl Guides Association of Zambia, YMCA/YWCA, United National Independence Party Youth League, Zambian Youth League, Girl Guides, and the Zambia Scouts Association. There are sports associations promoting amateur competition for athletes of all ages in a wide variety of pastimes, including softball, baseball, squash, lawn tennis, badminton, and weightlifting.

National women's organizations include the National Women's Lobby Group, the Society For Women and AIDS in Zambia, Women for Change, and the Women in Development Department. Among service organizations are the Lions, Rotary, Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees), Professional Women's Club, and Women's Institute. There are national chapters of the Red Cross Society, Habitat for Humanity, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, UNICEF, and Amnesty International.


One of the most impressive tourist attractions in Zambia is Mosioa-Tunya ("the smoke that thunders")Victoria Falls. In 1972, a national park system created 17 parks covering 8% of the entire country. The Kafue National Park, one of the largest in Africa, with 22,500 sq km (8,700 sq mi) of bush, forest, and plain, is well-served with tourist facilities. South Luangwa National Park is another outstanding wildlife area. Tourism in Zambia has maintained a steady increase since the mid-1970s. A valid passport is required to enter Zambia. Most travelers need a visa. Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required if traveling from an infected country.

In 2003, about 578,000 visitors arrived in Zambia, mostly from other African countries. There were 5,202 hotel rooms with 8,774 beds and an occupancy rate of 53%. Tourism expenditure receipts totaled $149 million that year.

According to 2005 US Department of State estimates, the cost of staying in Lusaka was $171 per day. Expenses in other areas ranged from $51 to $213 per day.


Kenneth David Kaunda (b.1924) was Zambia's president from independence in 1964 until 1991. Frederick J.T. Chiluba (b.1943) ousted Kaunda in 1991 in Zambia's first free elections and was re-elected in 1996; he served until 2002. Levy Patrick Mwanawasa (b.1948) is the third president of Zambia (since 2002).

Nalumino Mundia (192788), long prominent in Zambian political affairs, was prime minister 198185, when he became ambassador to the United States.


Zambia has no territories or colonies.


Grotpeter, John J. Historical Dictionary of Zambia. 2nd ed. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow, 1995.

Guest, Emma. Children of AIDS: Africa's Orphan Crisis. Sterling, Va.: Pluto Press, 2001.

Hope, Kempe R. AIDS and Development in Africa: A Social Science Perspective. New York: Haworth Press, 1999.

Kaunda, Kenneth. Letter to My Children. London: Longman, 1963.

McElrath, Karen (ed.). HIV and AIDS: A Global View. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2002.

Mutale, Emmanuel. The Management of Urban Development in Zambia. Burlington, Vt.: Ashgate, 2004.

Posner, Daniel N. Institutions and Ethnic Politics in Africa. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Rotberg, Robert I. Ending Autocracy, Enabling Democracy: The Tribulations of Southern Africa, 19602000. Cambridge, Mass.: World Peace Foundation, 2002.

Zambian Women Entrepreneurs: Going for Growth. Lusaka, Zambia: ILO Office: Gender in Development Division (GIDD), International Labour Office, 2003.

Zeilig, Leo and David Seddon. A Political and Economic Dictionary of Africa. Philadelphia: Routledge/Taylor and Francis, 2005.

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Republic of Zambia



A landlocked state located in southern Africa, east of Angola, Zambia has an area of 752,614 square kilometers (290,584 square miles) and a total land boundary of 5,664 kilometers (3,520 miles). Comparatively, Zambia is slightly larger than Texas. Zambia's capital city, Lusaka, is located in the southern center of the country's territory.


The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa estimated Zambia's population at 9,133,000 in 2000, a notable rise from the 1995 level of 8,081,000. In 2000 the birth rate stood at 41.9 births per 1,000 population while the death rate was 22.08 deaths per 1,000. With similar annual growth rates, the population will stand at 13,201,000 in 2015 and 21,965,000 in 2050. Zambians of African descent constitute 98.2 percent of the population, and 1.1 percent are European. In 1998, 39 percent of Zambians lived in urban habitatsone of the highest levels of urbanization in Africa.

The HIV/AIDS epidemic is a considerable problem in Zambia with 19 percent of the working age population infected. It is estimated that 99,000 Zambians died from AIDS in 1999 whilst those with HIV infection who were still alive at the end of 1999 numbered 870,000. These deaths and levels of infection are not only important in themselves but have extremely negative social and economic costs. The drawn-out nature of death from AIDS means that many of the population (predominantly women) who could be productively employed have to provide long-term care for the dying. In addition, by 1999 the cumulative number of orphans created since the epidemic began in the mid-1980s reached 650,000. This raises the problem of the development and guidance of Zambia's children.


The mining of copper dominates Zambia's national economy. A central legacy of the colonial period (1899-1964) was the exploitation of Northern Rhodesia's (modern Zambia) vast copper deposits, first, by the British South Africa Company (BSAC) who administered the territory until 1924 and, second, by the British government. The need for copper miners meant that a high percentage of Zambia's male workforce was, often forcibly, encouraged to leave their subsistence farms and work in the mines. This led to the neglect of the agricultural sector and Zambia's reliance on copper exportsa trend that continued to affect the national economy by 2001.

At independence in 1964, Zambia's economy was highly skewed; most regions outside of the "line of rail" (the railway that serviced the mining sector) were highly underdeveloped. However, the newly elected United National Independence Party's (UNIP) policy of actively developing the economy meant that the manufacturing and agricultural sectors increased in importance, and the supply of health and education services to the population dramatically improved.

The UNIP, led by President Kenneth Kaunda, promoted a brand of so-called "humanist" socialism which was the ideological justification for the creation of a large number of parastatals in Zambia. The important reasons for this policy were the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (1965) by the neighboring white-supremacist Rhodesia (modern Zimbabwe), which threatened Zambia's supply lines, and the fact that the foreign owners of Zambia's enterprises often invested their profits abroad. In addition, parastatals were seen by the Zambian government as a mechanism to develop and diversify the economy.

By the late 1970s, parastatals employed a third of the official workforce and consisted of over 330 enterprises whose activities criss-crossed Zambia's economy with areas such as mining, transport, agriculture, construction, tourism, trade, and finance. Partly due to the parastatal system, Zambia's manufacturing output rose by more than 160 percent between 1965 and 1975, and the level of domestic power generated grew by more than 350 percent. However, the parastatals, and the economy as a whole, continued to rely on colonial structures in that they were dependent on foreign capital, expertise, technology, imports, and markets. In addition, parastatals (along with the government and civil service) were rife with corruption and inefficiency as many could not function without large government subsidies . This simply meant that the Zambian form of parastatals was inherently unsustainable.

In order to continue to subsidize state spending on parastatals and social services, UNIP continually borrowed from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to support the economy's balance of payments deficits. By the early 1980s the IMF began to impose conditions of free market reform for continued lending. These reforms consisted of the stabilization of the economy and a degree of economic liberalization . However, the effects of these reforms on the incomes and employment of Zambia's workers were negative. By 1987, widespread social protest and discontent persuaded Kaunda to drop the IMF-sponsored reform.

In 1991 the UNIP government was defeated during multiparty elections by the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD). The MMD immediately institutionalized a radical program of free market reform in order to secure continued external aid and to satisfy Zambia's business class. Parastatals were privatized , the kwacha was devalued, and the exchange rate was liberalized. As well as reducing consumer incomes, these reforms caused a considerable amount of financial uncertainty, and a number of domestic banks collapsed. Moreover, even though the government had benefitted from increased revenue through the privatization of 85 percent of its parastatals by 1998, the national balance of payments remained in deficit.

In comparison to Zambia's traditional reliance on copper and cobalt at independence, by the 1990s the economy had significantly diversified. In 1999, non-traditional exports such as processed foods, copper rods, and textiles constituted 39.4 percent of export earnings. However, the growth of the national economy and government revenue was still determined by the unstable prices of primary commodities , particularly copper and cobalt, in world markets.


It is important to note that Zambia is a key transhipment point for the global illegal drug trade. A significant quantity of heroin and cocaine bound for Europe and for distribution throughout the rest of Southern Africa passes through Zambia. This illicit trade is supported by the fact that Zambia is a regional money-laundering center that acts as an excellent facility for those dealing in drugs to disguise the illegal source of their profits.


External debt is a huge drain on Zambia's economy. Due to government subsidies of parastatals and investment in public health and education, by 1980 Zambia was one of sub-Saharan Africa's most indebted countries; it owed $3.261 billion. By 1997, the national debt had risen to $6.758 billion. This increased indebtedness was predominantly caused by an annual average government deficit of 10.72 percent of GDP between 1989 and 1998. Although the national balance of payments had been improving over the latter half of the 1990s, by 2000 the government remained fully dependent upon external aid in order to function.


Like most of sub-Saharan Africa's countries, Zambia was a false creation of European imperialism during the "scramble for Africa" during the late 1800s. The territory of Zambia (formerly Northern Rhodesia) cut across dozens of ethnic groupings, chiefdoms, and languages and pulled these different societies together under an increasingly centralized colonial state. Colonial rule in Zambia (1899-1964) was a period of "divide and rule" where different chiefdoms were played off each other by the BSAC and the British government, respectively. (Although specific African leaders would often use colonial power to achieve their own ends).

When vast copper reserves were discovered in the mid-1920s the country was mobilized to mine this valuable mineral to enrich the colonial powers, whilst the rest of the economy was neglected. As Marcia Burdette noted in her Zambia: Between Two Worlds, the colonial administration transformed Zambia into "a mineral-exporting enclave with a vast underdeveloped hinterland." Due to the growing nationalist militancy of the African population, independence was achieved in 1964. Zambia's post-colonial politics can be divided into 3 periods, each of which corresponds to the establishment of a new republic and constitution.


The First Republic (1964-1972) was formed at independence in 1964. In multiparty elections in 1964 the United National Independence Party (UNIP) defeated its main rival, the African National Congress (ANC). The socialist-"humanist" orientation of the government (led by President Kenneth Kaunda) was bolstered by a large revenue supplied by high international copper prices, which allowed the opening of health and education services to the black population. The UNIP could boast a considerable success; by 1972 Zambia's hospitals had grown by 50 percent and health clinics doubled, whilst the availability of education services also dramatically increased. In order to administer the growing public sector the civil service expanded dramatically and acted as a mechanism for the UNIP ruling elite to award the party faithful. Due to the lack of a significant business sector, civil servants became the nation's upper class.


The Second Republic (1972-1990) was established in 1972. Known as the "one party-participatory democracy," it was a one-party state ruled by the UNIP. All other political parties were banned, and Kaunda's dominant role in the UNIP and the government assured him an uncontested rule. However, the Second Republic ran into serious difficulties due to corruption within the civil service, government, and parastatal sector, and declining government revenue caused by the falling price of copper. The government began to borrow heavily to support the vast state expenditure and the country became highly indebted.

Discontent grew throughout the country over the 1980s because of rapidly declining incomes and rising prices, partly caused by an IMF economic liberalization program (which was subsequently dropped in 1987). The culmination of worker militancy, student protests, and growing opposition within the ruling class was the formation of the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD) led by Frederick Chiluba (a key trade union figure). Mounting economic crisis and political pressure led Kaunda to sign a new constitution in 1990, putting an end to one-party rule.


The Third Republic adopted a multi-party parliamentary democracy. Peaceful presidential and parliamentary elections were held in 1991 wherein Chiluba received 76 percent of votes cast. After this defeat Kaunda stepped down from office and ended his 27 years of leading the country. Relatively free and fair elections were held again in 1996 and the MMD won a landslide victory for the second time. In 2001, the MMD continued to pursue free market economic reform. The global dominance of free market capitalism since the 1990s and, perhaps, the success of the pro-business MMD has led the UNIP to drop its socialist orientation and adopt "capitalism with a social conscience."

The Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) was set up in 1994 to increase government revenuewhich had been historically lowand to reduce the economy's growing dependence on external aid, which is essential in supporting Zambia's most basic necessities. The ZRA had reported considerable success in its role. For example, value-added tax (VAT) was introduced in 1995 and by the turn of the century it constituted 20 percent of all tax revenue. In order to provide increased incentives for domestic and international business the levels of these various revenue-collecting mechanisms had been progressively reduced in the 1990s. Nonetheless, even in light of these pro-business tax reductions, ZRA revenue collections still grew from K421 billion in 1994 to K954 billion in 1997.


Of Zambia's 66,935 kilometers (41,500 miles) of roads, relatively few are of good quality and paved except for those routes linking Lusaka to main border posts. The publicly-owned Zambia Railways (ZR) controls most of the 2,169 kilometers (1,345 miles) of national rail infrastructure . Rail routes to regional seaports are very important because Zambia is landlocked. The railway track linking Zambia to the seaport of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania is jointly run by the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TZRA), which is not part of ZR. Other seaports used for Zambia's imports and exports are Beria in Mozambique, Durban in South Africa, and Walvis Bay in Namibia. Lusaka International is Zambia's primary airport; the main secondary airports are based at Ndola, Livingstone, and Mfuwe. All of these airports are run by the publicly-owned National Airport Corporation (NAC).

The state-owned Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) produced 8.16 billion kilowatts (kWh) of electricity in 1998 using hydropower. Of this, 1.2 billion kWh was exported. However, the use of commercial energy within the country declined by an annual average of 1.7 percent between 1980 and 1997, whereas the use of traditional fuels as a percentage of total energy use rose from 37.4 percent in 1980 to 73.1 percent in 1996. This increased reliance on traditional energy sources, mainly wood, means that Zambia's environment is threatened by deforestation which, in turn, creates soil erosion and a subsequent decrease in arable land.

The state-owned Zambia Telecommunications Company (ZAMTEL) is the national provider of telecommunication services (predominantly telephone lines). ZAMTEL is planned to be partially privatized. Although generally adequate, Zambia's telecommunications can be unreliable, particularly during rainy seasons. A cellular telephone service is available in Lusaka and

Country Newspapers Radios TV Sets a Cabl subscribers a Mobile Phones a Fax Machines a Personal Computers a Internet Hosts b Internet Users b
1996 1997 1998 1998 1998 1998 1998 1999 1999
Zambia 12 121 137 N/A 1 0.1 N/A 0.48 15
United States 215 2,146 847 244.3 256 78.4 458.6 1,508.77 74,100
South Africa 32 317 125 N/A 56 3.5 47.4 33.36 1,820
Dem. Rep. of Congo 3 375 135 N/A 0 N/A N/A 0.00 1
aData are from International Telecommunication Union, World Telecommunication Development Report 1999 and are per 1,000 people.
bData are from the Internet Software Consortium ( and are per 10,000 people.
SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.

other built-up areas. Fax machines are widely used, and the Internet is becoming an increasingly popular means of communication for those few who are fortunate enough to have access.


Zambia's economic sectors reflect 3 key constraints. First, the influence of colonial rule created a reliance on mining (in particular, copper) and a failure to fully exploit the agricultural sector. Second, the small size of the population means that domestic markets are limited. Third, its landlocked status reduces the competitiveness of exports as they are subjected to the tariffs of neighboring countries and high transportation costs.

However, for such an underdeveloped country, Zambia has been relatively successful in diversifying its economy. Although copper exports continue to be of primary importance, the export of cash crops such as cotton and tobacco, as well as refined sugar, provide a high level of revenue and employment. However, all of these goods are highly sensitive to fluctuations in international market prices. The manufacturing sector produces a large quantity of textiles for export and there is a growth in the production of cut flowers. Within the industrial sector, the mining of gems and other minerals, as well as the production of cement, engineering products, and chemicals, helped balance out the economy's reliance on the mining of copper and cobalt.


Zambia's main agricultural exports are cotton, sugar, and cut flowers. Agricultural exports increased significantly between 1993 and 1998 from US$27.2 million to US$89.7 million. However, Zambia's agricultural sector has historically lacked significant infrastructure and productive investment. This means that the sector is highly underdeveloped whilst offering considerable potential if large investment was supplied. For example, neighboring Zimbabwe, which is of a comparable size and climate to Zambia, exported US$1,157 million of agricultural goods in 1998. The key problem with Zambia's failure to fully exploit its agricultural production to a similar extent as Zimbabwe is that agricultural imports have significantly outweighed agricultural exports throughout the 1990s. This represented another imbalance on the national balance of payments and a serious drain of foreign currency reserves that have to be used to pay for imports.


Cotton is one of Zambia's most important cash crops. Although it is partly produced on large commercial farms by expatriates and some African commercial farmers, like most of Zambia's cash crops, the vast bulk of cotton output comes from small subsistence farmers. Even though the price of cotton plummeted between 1998-1999, export earnings from this crop rose from US$22.8 million to US$41.4 million, partly due to companies holding back 1998 stocks in the hope that prices would rise. The production of cotton also supports Zambia's large domestic textile industry.

Another key cash crop is tobacco. In 1998 Zambia exported US$9.5 million of tobacco, an impressive rise from the 1988 level of US$3.8 million. However, like most primary commodities, tobacco exports are subject to the continuing change and instability of international market prices. In 1960 1 metric ton of tobacco fetched US$8,391; by 1999 this had fallen to US$2,922. Also of note is the farming of coffee. In 1999 coffee provided US$8.7 million in exports; these earnings would have been higher if the world market leader, Brazil, had not almost doubled its normal output.


Sugar is a dominant agricultural export, accounting for 70 percent of all export earnings in the processed food sub-sector in 1999 (other key goods in this sub-sector are stock feeds, marigold meal, mealie-meal, and wheat flour). Sugar exports have increasingly benefitted from initiatives by the European Union which, under the Lome Convention, agreed to buy 13,000 metric tons from the Zambia Sugar Company in 2000. However, processed food exports suffered a decline from the 1998 level of US$49.4 million to US$33 million in 1999. This is because of serious instability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo which was the recipient of roughly 40 percent of Zambia's processed food exports.

A recent agricultural development of huge significance is the production of floricultural goods (mainly cut flowers). Despite low prices at Dutch auctions in 1999 (the Netherlands is the key trading point for flowers in Europe), Zambia's floricultural products fetched US$42.8 million in export earnings. In addition, in 1999 horticultural production (mainly fruit and vegetables) earned US$23.8 million. However, there appears to be a certain imbalance here as Zambia exports vast amounts of fruit and vegetables whilst remaining a net importer of food for domestic consumption.

The major food crops produced in Zambia for domestic consumption are cassava, maize, and wheat. Maize used to be one of the most important food goods in Zambia with 1,845,000 metric tons being produced in 1989, but by 1998 this had declined to 650,000 tons. However, over the same ten-year period the consistent growth of cassava production (from 290,000 tons to 817,000 tons) and of wheat (from 10,000 tons to 70,000 tons) partly canceled out the decrease of maize output. Nonetheless, the total domestic production of these 3 basic food crops was 608,000 tons less in 1998 than in 1989. This decline of domestic food production often means that Zambians have to pay more for their essential nutritional requirements with a negative knock-on effect on the standard of living.



National copper and cobalt reserves are by far the most important factor in Zambia's national economy. Zambia is the world's fourth largest producer of copper and, due to the ongoing civil war in the cobalt-rich Democratic Republic of the Congo, it has been the leading producer of cobalt in the late 1990s. In 1996 total copper exports amounted to US$568 million and cobalt exports US$193 million.

Copper is subject to the constant fluctuation and uncertainty of international market prices. In 1960 the price for a metric ton of copper was US$3,271; at its height in 1970 it was US$5,629. Yet from the mid-1970s onwards it consistently declined to only US$1,519 by 1999. For example, even though Zambia produced 12,700 tons more copper in 1993 than in 1988, it received US$219.4 million less in export receipts. But, in total, copper production has steadily declined from a 1970 high of 700,000 metric tons to only 250,000 tons in 1999. More importantly, it is estimated that, at the ongoing level of production, the nation's economically viable copper reserves will be exhausted by 2010.

By 2000 the giant parastatal mining company, Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines (ZCCM), had been fully privatized. The private sector successors (principally the mining giants Anglo America, Avmin, and the Glen-core/First Quantum consortium) had begun to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in Zambia's mines. In combination with the fact that Zambia has the largest non-exploited underground copper reserve in the world, private sector investment means that the mining sector may continue to provide considerable export earnings to the national economy well into the 21st century.

In the 1960s and 1970s Zambia also mined and refined a significant amount of lead and zinc. The high point for the production of these minerals was in 1974 when 27,000 tons of lead and 58,000 tons of zinc were produced; however, by 1993 these levels had dropped dramatically to 3,000 tons and 5,000 tons, respectively. Yet, lead and zinc in combination with gold, silver, and platinum provided US$12.3 million in export earnings in 1998. (In 1999 this fell to only US$3.3 million, but this was due to the modernization and rehabilitation of mines.) The export of gemstones has grown in importance and provided US$13.8 million of exports in 1999 to the main market of East Asia.


Unusual for an economy in sub-Saharan Africa, Zambia exports more manufactured goods than it importswith US$180 million exported in 1997 and US$116 million imported (although as a whole the economy generally remains in deficit). The principal manufacturing exports are textiles, engineering products, and building materials.

Zambia's textile industry is considered to have vast competitive potential in the region due to relatively cheap labor costs and a high level of domestic cotton production. But the dumping (the sale of a good on a foreign market at a price below marginal cost) of foreign textiles on the Zambian market by regional competitors has negated the growth of domestic textile production. Zambia's export earnings from textile products (80 percent of which is cotton yarn) declined from US$42.4 million in 1998 to US$37 million in 1999. This is principally due to a fall in the price of cotton yarn over this period as the quantity of exports remained stable. The principal destinations for textile products were the EU countries, which consumed 80 percent, and regional African countries with 15 percent.

In 1999, the main engineering products manufactured in Zambia were copper rods (73.4 percent), electrical cables (13.7 percent), and copper wire (11.2 percent). The export of these engineering products declined by 26.7 percent between 1998 and 1999 to US$23.2 million. This is mainly because of a fall in international demand due to the slow recovery of the industrialized economies in East Asia after the 1996-97 world financial crisis. Similarly, the export of building manufactures (such as cement and roofing sheets) declined in 1999 to US$10.2 million. Again, this was due to the ongoing civil war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, traditionally the main destination of these goods.



Zambia has a great deal to offer adventurous tourists. It provides a sample of relatively "untouched" Africa with authentically wild national parks, stunning scenery, and the Victoria Falls and Zambezi River (2 of Southern Africa's main tourist spots), which it shares with Zimbabwe.

Zambia's tourism sector has benefitted from the serious social and political instability in neighboring Zimbabwe (which was traditionally a preferred destination). As a consequence, and also due to considerable public and private investment in tourist facilities, the level of tourists visiting Zambia rose from 87,000 in 1980 to 362,000 in 1998. This created an increase in tourism receipts from US$20 million to US$75 million, although it should be noted that Zambian nationals vacationing abroad spent US$59 million in 1998.


In the 1960s the Zambian government nationalized several non-bank financial institutions (such as insurance companies) and set up the Zambia National Commercial Bank to compete with existing private commercial banks. But due to political interference and the inefficient allocation of loans, this system of public banking was unsuccessful. With the aim of improving efficiency in the banking sector through the discipline of free market competition, Zambia liberalized interest rates between 1992 and 1995. This created a considerable amount of financial turmoil and instability. In 1995, Zambia's third largest bank, Meridien Bank, collapsed along with 2 other local banks. In addition, due to a new regulation requiring banks to have at least US$140 million in working capital, and because of the insufficient experience of domestic banks in operating in a liberalized economy, 5 other banks had their licenses withdrawn by the Bank of Zambia (the central bank) by 1998.

Despite free market reform, by the late 1990s there was still considerable evidence of political leaders and their allies defaulting on loans and interfering in the affairs of Zambia's banks. In addition, not only has new regulation and economic liberalization failed to significantly increase confidence in the banking sector (which remains fragile as 30 percent of total loans are non-performing), the Economist Intelligence Unit maintained in 1997 that "too many banks [are] chasing the little profit available." This has led to the increased domestic dominance of huge multinational banks such as Barclays and Citibank, thereby displacing less powerful national banks such as the National Savings and Credit Bank of Zambia and the publicly owned Zambia National Commercial Bank.


From 1991 Zambia became a net importer of goods, importing US$83 million more than it exported in 1998. The national balance of payments generally remained in deficit throughout the 1990s. In order to address this imbalance the government relied on external aid to prop up the economy; this in turn has led to a deeper indebtedness and a rise of annual debt repayment levels. In 1993, Zambia's main imports were US$144 million of crude oil (it is refined domestically into petroleum oils), and US$30 million in fertilizer. The main sources of Zambia's imports in 1996 were South Africa (US$303 million), Saudi Arabia (US$107 million), the UK (US$81 million), neighboring Zimbabwe (US$67 million), and Japan (US$19 million).

Historically, Zambia's main exports are copper and cobalt, which in total provided US$761 million in export earnings in 1996. However, there has been a huge expansion of non-traditional exports (NTEs) such as sugar, cotton, copper rods, textiles, cut flowers, gemstones, and cement since independence in 1964. In 1999, the European Union was the largest market for Zambia's NTEs, which

Trade (expressed in billions of US$): Zambia
Exports Imports
1975 .810 .929
1980 1.298 1.116
1985 .784 .545
1990 1.309 1.220
1995 1.040 .700
1998 N/A N/A
SOURCE: International Monetary Fund. International Financial Statistics Yearbook 1999.

consumed US$117.4 million (38.54 percent) of total NTE earnings. Within the EU the largest market was the Netherlands which accounted for US$40.6 million of such goods as cut flowers and live fish. The UK was the second largest EU market and imported US$37.4 million of specialty vegetables, cotton yarn, and coffee. Germany consumed US$21.3 million in cotton yarn and cut flowers.

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) was Zambia's second largest regional market for NTEs in 1999 and imported US$81.8 million. Some of the principal NTEs sold in this region were sugar, petroleum oils, cement, food, and electricity. The main 3 markets and their percentage of COMESA's imports were the Democratic Republic of the Congo (41.93 percent), Malawi (18.66 percent), and Zimbabwe (12.86 percent). However, due to war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and social unrest in Zimbabwe, 1999 exports to these countries fell. The key market for Zambia's copper rods, gemstones, and tobacco was East Asia, accounting for US$10.3 million.


Since the liberalization of the kwacha in the early 1990s Zambia has suffered from a permanently high level of inflation . In part due to the influx of imports to modernize Zambia's recently privatized copper mines, the kwacha lost 40 percent of value to the U.S. dollar in 2000. Zambia's inflation has resulted in its coinage being more valuable as pieces of metal than at face value. In consequence, notes are the population's source of cash. Due to expensive and scarce credit facilities, Zambia's domestic trade is generally undertaken using cash.

Zambia has a single stock exchange, the Lusaka Stock Exchange (LuSE). The LuSE opened in 1994. By 1997 it had benefitted from increased trading volumes, and its capitalization value was US$502 million. At the outset of 2000 it listed 15 companies. The national Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulates Zambia's stock market.

Exchange rates: Zambia
Zambian kwacha (K) per US$1
Jan 2001 4,024.53
2000 3,110.84
1999 2,388.02
1998 1,862.07
1997 1,314.50
1996 1,207.90
SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [ONLINE].
GDP per Capita (US$)
Country 1975 1980 1985 1990 1998
Zambia 641 551 483 450 388
United States 19,364 21,529 23,200 25,363 29,683
South Africa 4,574 4,620 4,229 4,113 3,918
Dem. Rep. of Congo 392 313 293 247 127
SOURCE: United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income.


Zambia is a country defined by extreme poverty. By 2000, over 70 percent of the population lived on less than 1 dollar a day (the figure 10 years before was 50 percent) and 64 percent of this income was spent on essential food. This is in a country whose public expenditure on health as a percentage of GDP fell from 2.6 percent in 1990 to 2.3 percent in 1998, and where external aid per capita fell from US$119.7 in 1992 to US$36.1 in 1998. In addition, the daily per capita supply of calories fell from 2,173 in 1970 to 1,970 in 1997, and the daily supply of protein declined by 19.2 percent and fat by 27.1 percent over the same period. Consequently, 3 in 5 of Zambian children were malnourished by 2001. Along with the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, these factors have contributed to a declining life expectancy for the average Zambian from 47.3 years in the early 1970s to 40.1 in the late 1990s.

There are vast disparities in living conditions between Zambia's rural and urban habitants. For example, whilst 64 percent of the urban population have access to safe water, only 27 percent of the rural population are so fortunate. Moreover, 46 percent of the urban population live below the poverty line compared to a massive 88 percent in rural areas. In more general terms, the disparity of wealth between Zambia's rich and poor is also considerable.

Distribution of Income or Consumption by Percentage Share: Zambia
Lowest 10% 1.6
Lowest 20% 4.2
Second 20% 8.2
Third 20% 12.8
Fourth 20% 20.1
Highest 20% 54.8
Highest 10% 39.2
Survey year: 1996
Note: This information refers to expenditure shares by percentiles of the population and is ranked by per capita expenditure.
SOURCE: 2000 World Development Indicators [CD-ROM].
Household Consumption in PPP Terms
Country All food Clothing and footwear Fuel and power a Health care b Education b Transport & Communications Other
Zambia 52 10 8 2 11 3 14
United States 13 9 9 4 6 8 51
South Africa N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Dem. Rep. of Congo N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Data represent percentage of consumption in PPP terms.
aExcludes energy used for transport.
bIncludes government and private expenditures.
SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.

The poorest 60 percent of the population share 25.2 percent of the nation's wealth, whereas the wealthiest 10 percent benefit from 39.2 percent of the wealth. Incomes have not grown as fast as inflation which, in combination with the introduction of user fees for health and education services, means that a majority of Zambians cannot afford to provide themselves with even basic social services.


Of a labor force of 4 million the average Zambian works for 45 hours a week. However, this official figure does not take account of those who work outside of the official sector and embark upon such activities as subsistence farming on small plots of land and petty trading. Zambia has been a member of the International Labour Organisation since independence in 1964, yet it only ratified Conventions 87 (Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize) and 98 (Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining) as late as 1994. Zambia's trade unions are obliged to join the highly centralized Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU). The ZCTU is a very powerful organization and by withdrawing its support from the UNIP in 1990, it almost assured the MMD's electoral success in 1991. Six of 7 ZCTU leaders joined the 1991 MMD government, including President Chiluba who had been the ZCTU's chairman. However, the ZCTU is highly critical of the MMD, in particular its pro-business policies such as the liberalization of the economy which has resulted in a decline of living standards for Zambia's workers. There is also tension within the ZCTU. In 1995 3 of its twenty affiliate trade unions broke away with the intention of setting up a competing center body.


1899. The British South African Company (BSAC) assumes control over Zambia (then Northern Rhodesia).

1924. British government takes over Zambia's administration.

1964. Zambian independence and the beginning of the First Republic. The United National Independence Party (UNIP) wins multi-party elections, and Kenneth Kaunda becomes president.

1965. Unilateral Declaration of Independence in Rhodesia (modern Zimbabwe) threatens Zambia's supply routes.

1972. The one-party state of the Second Republic is formed.

1987. A series of riots against declining incomes ends an IMF-sponsored free market reform program.

1990. Kaunda agrees to the formation of the Third Republic.

1991. Multi-party elections are won by the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy led by Frederick Chiluba. The MMD embarks on a program of IMF-sponsored free market reform.

1996. The MMD wins a second round of elections.

2000. The former parastatal Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines (ZCCM) is fully privatized.


The Zambian government projects that the privatization of the giant mining parastatal (ZCCM) will lead to the increased efficiency of copper production, improved export earnings, and a subsequent influx of foreign exchange in order to correct the economy's sizeable balance of payments deficit. The proposed privatization of other major parastatals in the telecommunications, electricity, and transport sectors is expected to produce similar results. In part due to this adaptation of free market reform, Zambia's external creditors seem likely to write off US$670 million of debt in 2001, continue to reschedule the repayments of a large proportion of debt, and extend the level of credit available to the government by US$4.5 billion in order to prop up the economy. However, signs of a global recession in early 2001 indicate that the world market for Zambia's exports may become less profitable. This will have a severely negative impact on the country's population and the growing non-traditional export sector, and make the repayment of outstanding debt unfeasible.


Zambia has no territories or colonies.


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Republic of Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA). <>. Accessed March 2001.

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United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. <>. Accessed March 2001.

United States Department of State. Country Commercial Guide: Zambia, Fiscal Year 2001. <>. Accessed February 2001.

Upham, M., ed. Trade Unions of the World. 4th edition. London: Cartermill, 1996.

World Bank. African Development Indicators 2000. Washington DC: World Bank, 2000.

. World Development Indicators 2000. Washington DC:World Bank, 2000.

. World Development Report: From Plan to Market. NewYork: Oxford University Press, 1996.

. World Development Report: Poverty. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990.

. World Development Report 1993: Investing in Health. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.

. World Development Report 1997: The State in a Changing World. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.

. World Development Report 2000/2001: Attacking Poverty. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Liam Campling




Zambian kwacha (K). One Zambian kwacha is equal to 100 ngwee. Coin denominations include 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 ngwee and notes include 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, and 500 kwacha.


Copper, cobalt, lead, and zinc.


Crude oil, manufactured goods, machinery, transport equipment, and foodstuffs.


US$3.325 billion (1999). [CIA World Factbook estimates GDP at purchasing power parity at US$8.5 billion (1999 est.).]


Exports: US$1.057 billion (1998). Imports: US$1.140 billion (1998). [CIA World Factbook reports exports to be US$900 million (f.o.b., 1999 est.) and imports to be US$1.15 billion (f.o.b., 1999 est.).]

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Republic of Zambia

Major Cities:

Other Cities:
Chingola, Kabwe, Kitwe, Livingstone, Luanshya, Mbala, Mongu, Mufulira, Ndola


This chapter was adapted from the Department of State Post Report dated February 1997. Supplemental material has been added to increase coverage of minor cities, facts have been updated, and some material has been condensed. Readers are encouraged to visit the Department of State's web site at for the most recent information available on travel to this country.


The best thing about Lusaka is the climateit's wonderful. If you enjoy outdoor activities, i.e., horseback riding, golf, camping, etc. this is the place to be. It is also within reasonable driving distance of Victoria Falls, several game parks and Harare.

ZAMBIA is one of the continent's newer, developing nations. Its intense concern over minority rule in southern Africa, its relative affluence, and its prestige among non-aligned nations worldwide accord it a singular measure of importance.

Formerly known as Northern Rhodesia, Zambia was a British protectorate from 1923 until 1953, when it became one of the three territories of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. On October 24, 1964, the country achieved independence as the Republic of Zambia, 75 years after first coming under the administration of the British South Africa Company.



Lusaka, with a population of almost 1.7 million, lies 4,200 feet above sea level and spreads across a rolling plain. The city is well planned and landscaped. Several wide boulevards planted with trees and shrubs divide the city into sections. In the most affluent residential areas, large and comfortable ranch-style houses preside over wide lawns and gardens. In other parts of the city, the City Council has constructed substantial, modest-income housing. Shanty towns exist on Lusaka's outskirts, and the city itself has areas of squalor and congestion like many other African capitals.

Lusaka's main shopping area is a boulevard called Cairo Road. Adjacent to this boulevard are several streets of Asian and African general stores that sell traditional African staples: blankets, cooking utensils, kerosene lamps, cornmeal, clothes and shoes. An industrial park lies at the northwestern end of town. Smaller shopping areas are scattered throughout the city.


A fairly wide variety of fresh produce is available in local markets. In addition to tropical fruits, you can buy oranges, apples, pineapple, strawberries, grapefruit, and lemons in season. Vegetables abound: potatoes, onions, tomatoes, carrots, mushrooms, spinach, lettuce, cabbage, green beans, peas, broccoli, garlic, celery, beets, green and red peppers, cucumbers, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, pumpkin, and squash. Some shops even offer Chinese cabbage and bean sprouts.

On the economy, one can buy sugar, molasses, jam, coffee, tea, condiments and spices (curry powder, cinnamon, coriander, cloves, nutmeg). Supermarkets stock flour, pasta, sunflower oil, household laundry soap and cleaning products. Keep in mind that these are made in Zambia, South Africa or Zimbabwe and may not be exactly the same as American products. Imported goods in local stores are expensive.

Lusaka butcher shops sell good quality chicken, beef and pork, including sausages and bacon, at reasonable prices. Baby food and formula are sometimes available on the economy, but most people find these unsatisfactory. Dietetic and diabetic foods are not generally stocked.


Summer clothing is worn eight months of the year. Moderately heavy clothing is necessary during the cooler winter months. Remember the seasons are the reverse of those in the U.S. Lusaka nighttime temperatures can get as low as 40-50 degrees fahrenheit from mid-May to mid-August. Those arriving are advised to pack some light wool or wool-blend clothing in their suitcases. The rainy season (November through April) requires lightweight raincoats (rain boots for children) and umbrellas. Include a good supply of clothes in your shipment. Local shops are not a reliable source due to sporadic availability, poor quality and high prices.

Bring a sufficient supply of shoes, as those locally manufactured are of poor quality. Imported shoes are rarely available and are expensive. Fabric shops offer a variety of cotton, rayon and polyester fabrics suitable for clothing and home furnishings.

Men: Men customarily wear lightweight tropical-worsted or dacron blended suits at the office and official functions, although at least one wool, informal suit is a good idea. During the hot summer months, many men wear slacks with a shirt and tie. For restaurant dining and unofficial events, sport shirts and slacks (without ties) or safari suits are acceptable. Golfers who prefer to wear shorts are required to also wear knee-high socks.

Women: Women wear short-sleeved or sleeveless cotton, linen or lightweight fabric dresses, cotton and linen skirts, or tailored trousers and blouses for the office. Sweaters or lightweight jackets are also needed during winter months. Informal long and short dresses are normally worn to cocktail parties and dinners. For barbecues, pool side, and patio parties, women often wear long or short sundresses, jeans, slacks, skirts, pantsuits, or shorts with casual tops, depending on the season and time of day. For cooler evenings, sweaters or lightweight wraps or shawls may be required.

Children: Bring a good supply of all children's lightweight summer clothing, swimwear, tennis and sandal-type shoes, and sweaters. Children wear mostly cotton dresses, shorts, jeans and T-shirts.

Supplies And Services

Supplies: U.S. brands deodorants and other toiletries, cosmetics, feminine supplies, medicines and over-the-counter drug items, laundry detergent and cleansers, paper supplies, and other common household items are not generally available. Those found on the economy are usually not up to American standards and/or very expensive.

Basic Services: People who have found good tailors and dressmakers in Lusaka are happy to recommend them to newcomers. Many tailors and dressmakers can copy ready-made garments as well as follow printed patterns. Dry-cleaners are of mixed reliability. Haircuts, perms, manicures and pedicures are available.

Religious Activities

Religions represented in Zambia include but are not limited to (in alphabetical order): Anglican, Assemblies of God, Baha'i, Baptist, Brethren, Christian Science, Church of Christ, Greek Orthodox, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, Seventh-day Adventist, and various independent Pentecostals.


American Embassy School of Lusaka (AESL), founded in 1986, offers a curriculum designed to meet or exceed the standards of better public schools in the U.S. The school enrolls children aged 2 to 14 years, starting with preschool for 2-4 year olds and ending with grade 8 for 13-14 year olds. Class size is restricted to 10-16 children in a class with one teacher and 17-19 children in a class with two instructional staff (a teacher and an assistant teacher). AESL is accredited in the U.S., as well as Europe, and is sponsored by the United States State Department. The school's curriculum emphasizes the academic subjects of English language arts, mathematics, science and social studies and includes art, music, physical education, computers and information technology, and library skills. Children in grades 1-8 have daily French lessons. Throughout the curriculum there is an emphasis on helping children learn about and appreciate Zambia's people, culture and environment. Special programs are provided for children who are learning English as a second language and for children with learning disabilities.

The school has moved into a new, purpose-built facility on a 15 acre campus with spacious classrooms, a well-stocked library media center with video and computer areas, specialized rooms for art, music, and science, and extensive sports facilities, including playgrounds with equipment for younger children, soccer/softball fields, tennis courts, a running track, a covered basketball court and a large swimming pool with changing rooms. The parent community is encouraged to use the school's sports facilities.

A few other schools in Lusaka enroll children of expatriates. In its primary section, the International School of Lusaka uses American materials, but all other schools are based on the British, South African, or Zambian systems of education. These include Nkhwazi School, Baobab Trust School, Lusaka International Community School and Lake Road School.


Zambia's most popular spectator sport is soccer. Throughout the country, teams compete in various leagues.

Facilities are available both in Lusaka and in the Copperbelt for cricket, field hockey, golf, tennis, squash, bowling (on the greens), and swimming. The Municipal Council operates an Olympic-sized public swimming pool in Lusaka near the International School. Entrance fees are nominal. The Lusaka Sports Club, which is quite run-down, maintains several clay tennis courts, a billiards room, squash courts, a swimming pool and a children's wading pool. It also sponsors soccer, cricket, field hockey, badminton, squash, and tennis teams.

Golf is quite popular in Zambia among both expatriates and Zambians. Three golf clubs in Lusaka have excellent courses: the Lusaka Golf Club and the Chainama Hills Golf Club (both 18 holes) and the Chilanga Golf Club (9 holes). A polo club sponsors periodic horse shows. The Lusaka Flying Club, located at the Lusaka City Airport, provides flying lessons.

All sports items cost more than in the U.S. Zambia boasts vast wildlife resources and hunting is popular. Hunting licenses for small game are inexpensive, but difficult to obtain. Licenses for large game are expensive and more difficult to obtain. Game is available for the enthusiast who has a rugged disposition and the necessary equipment, including a four-wheel-drive vehicle. A hunting safari can be costly, but photo safaris are quite reasonable.

Foreigners and Zambians enjoy fishing and many Zambians depend on fish as their chief protein source. About 35 miles from Lusaka is the Kafue River, which offers fair-to-good angling for bream, barbel (a type of catfish), and a variety of large mouth perch. Also, within 30 miles of Lusaka are many small man-made ponds that offer bream and barbel. Although fishing is generally possible throughout the year, the best time is between April and November. The Zambezi River offers perhaps the best tiger fishing grounds in Africa. Kasaba Bay on Lake Tanganyika is renowned for its Nile perch and nkupi (yellow-bel-lied bream). Other good fishing grounds are Lakes Kariba, Samfya and Kalabo.

Horseback riding is popular. Several stables are here. The Lusaka Gymkhana Club and the Lusaka Pony Club sponsor periodic horse shows. At the Lusaka Polo and Hunt Club, polo is played every weekend from March to October. Membership fees and dues for these clubs are reasonable. The cost of purchasing and stabling horses in Lusaka is less than in the U.S. Tack and riding apparel are not available locally. Riding instruction for children is available, although the quality varies.

Touring and Outdoor Activities

As a tourist center, Lusaka is ideally situated. It lies at the junction of the main highways to the north, east, south and west. Lusaka has an international airport with convenient airlinks to the tourist attractions of Luangwa Valley and Victoria Falls. Zambia's natural heritage offers unequaled opportunities for the tourist to view waterfalls, rivers, lakes and vast wildlife sanctuaries. In recent years, the Zambia National Tourist Board has made a determined effort to improve tourist facilities.

Victoria Falls, known by its ancient name of "Mosi-o-Tunya" (The Smoke That Thunders), is a must stop for all visitors to Zambia. The falls (twice as high and half again as wide as Niagara) are 295 miles, or a six-hour drive, from Lusaka near the border town of Livingstone. Accommodations range in cost and comfort from the Intercontinental Hotel to rustic cottages. Just outside of Livingstone is a small drive through park with 1,300 varieties of animals, reptiles and birds, including lion, giraffe, zebra, white rhino, antelope, warthog and bush pig. Other attractions near Victoria Falls are the National Museum, which houses many cultural and anthropological exhibits; the Maramba Cultural Village; and white water rafting trips organized by the American Company Sobek.

Zambian game viewing, walking safaris and hunting safaris are unparalleled. South Luangwa National Park is outstanding, comparable to the famous parks of East Africa in variety of game present. Kafue and Lochinvar National Parks offer conducted walking or Land Rover safaris, where visitors can get quite close to most wildlife. Luangwa and Kafue have inexpensive self-catering cottages with kitchens, as well as numerous full-service lodges. Each park is approachable by road, but visitors to Luangwa usually prefer to fly because of the long distance and poor roads (400 miles northeast of Lusaka).

Lake Tanganyika is accessible by road but nearly 700 miles from Lusaka. Lake Kariba, conveniently situated 93 miles south of the capital is a favorite weekend resort for Lusaka residents. Here you can stay on the Zambia side or cross into Zimbabwe. The area offers boating, fishing, water sports and swimming. Another option at Lake Kariba is spending your time on a house boat and cruising the lake.


Most Americans entertain in their homes. There are several movie houses in Lusaka; few non-Zambians attend them.

Lusaka restaurants are in the moderate to expensive range; dining quality ranges from fair to good. The Intercontinental Hotel has a coffee shop, barbecue grill and an expensive restaurant. The Pamodzi Hotel also has a coffee shop, an a-lacarte restaurant, and a poolside snack bar. Other restaurants offering both lunch and dinner are: Arabian Nights (Pakistani/steak); Danny's (Persian/Asian); Golden Spur, Holiday Inn (steak/mixture); Gringo's Grill (steak); Jayline (steak/Creole); Lilayi Lodge (buffet/a-la-carte); Marco Polo (Italian); Polo Grill (steak); and Shenai (Indian/Chinese). The Intercontinental has a casino.

Social Activities

Among Americans: The largest American get-togethers occur at Fourth of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The American-Canadian Women's Club is open to all American and Canadian women and wives of Americans and Canadians. Activities include monthly afternoon meetings at the homes of members featuring guest speakers and refreshments. The Club runs special holiday events for children and evening parties for members and their partners.

International Contacts: Official representatives of 89 nations and 30 international agencies are accredited to Zambia. Of these, 74 are resident in Lusaka. Also present are many international business visitors interested in the copper industry, government contracts, and development opportunities. Another source of international contact is among the expatriates: professors, doctors, engineers, missionaries and other professionals who come to Zambia from around the world to assist in development projects.


CHINGOLA , 30 miles northwest of Kitwe, is a large city which has expanded with the growth of the copper-mining industry. It has a current population of 186,000.

KABWE (formerly called Broken Hill/Kabwe), 50 miles north of Lusaka on the Great North Road, is a city of historic prominence. In the early 1900s, the Broken Hill mine was opened, introducing Zambia to foreign mining interests. One of Africa's first hydroelectric power plants began operations here in 1924 to supply power to the mines. Archaeologists found human and animal fossils in the mines in 1921, leading to the discovery of the "Rhodesian man." Kabwe is also the home of Zambia Railways and of a major trucking firm. The city is surrounded by large, fertile farming areas. Corn and tobacco are cultivated in the large farming areas surrounding the town. The population is approximately 210,000.

KITWE , with a population of 439,000, is about 175 miles north of Lusaka. Several small international communities of business representatives are in the area. Express and local trains from Lusaka serve Kitwe, and many amenities (although not equal to those in Lusaka) are available. The Edinburgh and Nkama Hotels are both modern and convenient. Taxis or car hire are easily obtained. Kitwe is Zambia's second largest city and is connected by rail, air, and road with major cities of central and southern Africa. The city has a large European population.

LIVINGSTONE , a marketing, distribution, and tourist center in southern Zambia, is close to Victoria Falls. This city of 108,000 was the capital of Northern Rhodesia from 1907 to 1935. It has several good hotels, among them the Intercontinental and the North-Western, the latter a favorite gathering spot for expatriates. Frequent buses from Lusaka serve Livingstone. The city is a major distribution point for agricultural products and timber. Livingstone has several nearby tourist spots, including Victoria Falls, Lake Kariba, Livingstone Game Park, and Kafue and Wankie National Parks. The Livingstone Museum has a collection of ethnological, historical, and archaeological exhibits, including those related to the explorer-missionary David Livingstone. The population in 1988 was 98,000.

Known as "the garden town of the copper belt," LUANSHYA is a city of 125,000, about 150 miles north of Lusaka. It is the terminus of a rail branch from Ndola and is linked to other cities in the province. In addition to mining, there are also machine shops and factories in Luanshya.

MBALA is a city if 16,000 in the extreme north, off Lake Tanganyika. Hills provide a majestic backdrop for the town, with the Kalambo Fallsnesting place of the maribou storknearby.

MONGU is a fascinating tourist stop located in the Western Province, some 300 miles west of Lusaka. Two noteworthy ceremonies performed here are the Kuomboka in March and the Kufulehela in July. These correspond to the rainy season, so actual dates fluctuate. Lozi basketwork and carvings are on display in the town's curio shop. A thermal power station at Mongu supplies electricity to the area. An airfield is located in Mongu. The current population is approximately 37,000.

MUFULIRA is a principal copper-mining center in north-central Zambia, southeast of the Zaire border. Smelting and refining of copper as well as an explosives plant are the city's surface industries. Mufulira's population is close to 131,000.

NDOLA , 175 miles north of Lusaka on the Zaire border, is Zambia's second largest city. It is linked by rail to the capital, Lusaka. Its more than 348,000 residents work in copper and sugar refineries, tire and car factories, and service industries. Educational opportunities in Ndola include the National Technical College and the Ndola campus of the University of Zambia.


Geography And Climate

Zambia, in central southern Africa, is mostly on a high, level plateau, 3,000-5,000 feet above sea level. Lusaka is one of the higher points in the country. Zambia, bordered by Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Angola and Zaire, has an area of 290,586 square miles (a little larger than Texas).

All of Zambia lies within 18 degrees of the Equator. The climate is pleasant and rivals that of southern California. Humidity is quite low except during the rainy season (November-April), and the temperature rarely exceeds 95 degrees fahrenheit; it can get into the 40s during the winter months (June and July). Summer clothing is worn mid-August to mid-May. Light woolens are useful in winter (mid-May to mid-August). Generally, summer evenings are cool and winter days are sunny and warm.

Annual rainfall during the rainy season averages 34 inches. At the season's beginning and end, showers are brief. During January, however, heavier rains punctuated by thunderstorms often occur.


Zambia's estimated population in 2001 was 9.8 million. Expatriates, mostly British or South African, live mainly in Lusaka and in the Copperbelt in Northern Zambia. There are about some Americans living in Zambia, most of whom are missionaries. Zambia also has a small but economically important Asian population, most of whom are Indians. The annual growth rate is 1.93 percent.

There are more than 70 tribal groups; English is the official language, with about 70 local languages and dialects. The principal ones are Bemba, Tonga, Nyanja, Lozi, Luvale, Ndembu (Lundu) and Kaonde. Some tribes are small, and only two have enough people to constitute at least 10 percent of the population. The predominant religion is a blend of traditional beliefs and Christianity.

The major cities are the capital-Lusaka (population 1.2 million), Ndola (348,000), Kitwe (305,000), and Kabwe (213,000).

Like many African countries, Zambia's new African elite consists of high government officials and successful business representatives. Next in salary status are lesser officials and urban managerial employees. Mine workers, factory laborers, and clerical and manual employees form a third social stratum in Lusaka, Livingstone and on the Copperbelt. Most Zambians in rural areas are subsistence farmers growing corn, soybeans, cotton, sugar, sunflower seeds, wheat, sorghum, millet, cassava, tobacco and various vegetable and fruit crops.

Public Institutions

After 27 years of one party rule, Zambia experienced a dramatic transformation in October 1991. After a vigorous multi-party campaign, the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) won a resounding victory and established a new government committed to democracy, respect for human rights, and economic reform. The President of Zambia, currently Levy Patrick Mwanasa, has executive power and appoints a 23-member Cabinet. The 150-member National Assembly has legislative powers. The President can veto legislation enacted by the National Assembly, and the Assembly can overrule the veto by a two-thirds vote. The judiciary is independent.

Arts, Science And Education

Artistic and intellectual activity in Lusaka is usually an informal affair with people gathering at one another's homes. A few organized societies for the arts exist, prominent among which is the Lusaka Musical Society that offers several professional performances annually.

Zambia requires seven years of compulsory education but attendance is less than 50 percent of those eligible for grades 1-7. Less than 20 percent of primary school graduates are admitted to secondary school. The literacy rate is 78 percent.

The University of Zambia, founded in 1966, is the educational center of Lusaka. The University maintains a library, sponsors lectures and seminars, and hosts cultural events of variable quality.

Copperbelt University, established first as a regional branch of the University of Zambia in 1977 and opened as a separate institution in 1989, includes the schools of Business, Environmental Studies, and Technology. Teachers' training colleges, Evelyn Hone College of Applied Arts and Commerce, and other primarily vocational-technical schools complete the picture of Zambian tertiary educational institutions.

The fine arts in Zambia are still in the developmental stage, but a few painters and printmakers have achieved recognition beyond Zambia's borders.

The Zambia Cultural Services maintains a handicrafts shop with objects drawn from rural areas throughout Zambia and offers occasional outdoor performances by the national Dance Troupe at Kabwata Cultural Village. The National Collection, housed in Lusaka's Mulungushi Hall, is an interesting exhibition of works of Zambian artists. The nation's best museums are the Livingstone Museum in Southern Province, Mbala's Moto-moto Museum in Northern Province, and the Choma Museum (on the way to Livingstone).

Commerce And Industry

Zambia is one of Sub-Saharan Africa's most highly urbanized countries. About half of the country's 9.8 million people are concentrated in a few urban zones strung along the major transportation corridors, while rural areas are under-populated. Unemployment and underemployment are serious. Per capital annual incomes are lower than their levels at independence, and at $880 place the country among the world's poorest nations. Social indicators continue to decline, particularly in measurements of life expectancy at birth, currently only 37 years, and maternal and infant mortality. The high population growth rate, near 2 percent per annum, makes it difficult for per capita income to increase. The country's rate of economic growth can support neither rapid population growth, nor the debilitating effects on maternal and child health resulting from it. Inflation is extremely high, at 27.3%.

Agriculture provides the main livelihood for 80% of Zambia's population. Maize (corn) is the principal cash crop as well as the staple food. Other important crops include soybeans, cotton, sugar, sunflower seeds, wheat, sorghum, millet, cassava, tobacco and various vegetable and fruit crops. Zambia has the potential for significantly increasing its agricultural output, as currently less than 20 percent of its arable land is cultivated.

The Zambian economy has historically been based on the coppermining industry, which has accounted for a significant portion of the gross domestic product (GDP), from one-third to one-half of government revenues, and more than 75 percent of Zambia's foreign exchange earnings. Due to a decline in world copper prices starting in the mid-1970s, lack of investment to increase productivity and output, nationalization and mismanagement, and socialist economic policies, the copper mining base of the economy has eroded over time.

Beginning in the 1970s, Zambia relied heavily on socialist-style planning and administrative controls to manage its economy; on the public sector-especially parastatal enterprises-to undertake investment and generate economic growth and employment; and on international borrowing to finance public sector investments and to support levels of consumption that proved to be unsustainable. As a result, in late 1991, the Zambian economy faced many problems: basic goods and services were in short supply; the money supply was growing rapidly because of the manner in which the government's domestic debt was financed; military expenditures were rising while social sector expenditures were declining; tax compliance was low, the budget deficit was large and increasing; many parastatal companies were heavily indebted and suffered crippling losses; private investment had collapsed; business and consumer confidence had eroded; external debt was not being serviced; a parallel market in foreign exchange was flourishing; asset holders were transferring their capital out of the country and switching to foreign currency for local transactions; the country's physical infrastructure was rapidly deteriorating; and Zambia had neither food reserves nor the financial resources to deal with natural disasters and emergencies.

The present government came to power after democratic, multi-party elections in November 1991, committed to an economic recovery program. Since these economic reforms began, Zambia has suffered droughts (three years out of the five) and falling copper production.

Although growth has been slow, positive effects are emerging. All domestic and external trade, except petroleum products, has been left to the private sector, resulting in a greatly improved availability of consumer and producer products in the market.



Buses are generally unsuitable and unsafe for commuter travel. Taxis and rental cars are expensive (Avis is available). Taxis tend to be unsafe.


Paved roads lead from Lusaka to the Copperbelt, Livingstone, Tunduma (on the Tanzanian border), Mongu (near Angola to the west), and to the Malawi border. Dirt or gravel roads connect the capital with other parts of the country. Paved roads usually have potholes.

Lusaka has an international airport, with flights to Europe, the United States and other cities in Africa originating with either British Airlines, KLM or South African Air. Aero Zambia and Zambian Express fly to points in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Ndola and Livingstone in Zambia. Eastern Air flies to Chipata, Mfuwe (Luangwa Game Park) and Kasama. Flights are often full during British and South African school holiday times and travelers should make reservations well in advance.

Zambia Railways offers domestic passenger service, but because passenger service is unreliable and unsafe and rail travel is generally slower than travel by car, few foreigners travel by rail. TAZARA Railway operates to Dar es Salaam several times a week. It is a fascinating (albeit very long) trip for those who do not expect European train travel standards. First class approximates European second class coaches. At the southern end of the line of rail, Zambia Railways ties into the Zimbabwean rail system connecting with the Mozambique Railroad coming up from the Indian Ocean port of Beira, and with the South African railway system. Bus service is also available to major points in Zambia and Zimbabwe, as well as Johannesburg.

Zambia's distance from the capitals of the neighboring African states makes air travel the most comfortable, convenient and popular way to travel to and from Zambia.


Telephone and Telegraph

Local service is adequate, but repair times can be lengthy. Direct dialing and trunk booking connect Zambia to the U.S. and many other locations in the world but can be extremely expensive. Obtain an AT&T calling card to take advantage of the AT&T USA Direct line, which offers much cheaper rates.

International cable service is generally good, but domestic service is still questionable.

Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals

The principal papers are the daily Times of Zambia, Daily Mail, Sunday Times, Sunday Mail, Post, Financial Mail, National Mirror, and Sun.

Lusaka has several commercial bookstores. None has a wide or dependable selection. The University of Zambia's bookstore usually offers numerous titles on Zambia and Africa.

Lusaka has several free libraries, including the Municipal Library in the main business area. The National Archives Library has a good collection of books on Africa. USIS and the British Council each operates a library. Books are limited to American and British subject matter, respectively. The American Embassy School of Lusaka has a fine children's library.

Health And Medicine

Medical Facilities

In Zambia most hospitals and out-patient clinics are government subsidized, and care is provided at relatively low cost. Unfortunately, these clinics and hospitals are far below American standards, poorly staffed, with virtually no medicine available and limited testing capabilities.

Local dental facilities are adequate for routine care, such as fillings and cleaning, but complete any special treatment (i.e., crowns, periodontal or oral surgical procedures) before coming. Additional dental clinics will be opening with more capabilities such as crowns and partial dentures which are made in South Africa. Ophthalmologists are scarce. Several opticians practice in Lusaka, but glasses are expensive. Purchase contact lenses and glasses (including extra pairs) before arrival in the country. Bring eye prescriptions with you in case you need emergency replacement. Bring any cleaning solution/equipment for contact lenses with you since you won't be able to find these in Lusaka. Most medicines are difficult to find in Lusaka. If you take medicine routinely for any long-standing medical condition, be sure to bring adequate supplies with you.

Community Health

The sanitation level in Lusaka is fair. City tap water is not potable. Testing of water in many of the residences showed that the chlorine levels were far below what is needed to make the city or bore hole (well) water acceptable for drinking. The local water lacks fluoride. Cholera and other diarrhea diseases are also endemic but should not affect the U.S. community when water is filtered and proper food handling and hand-washing are practiced. Pasteurized milk is available and is considered safe to use.

Preventive Measures

Automobile accidents probably present the greatest risk to personnel. Therefore, it is particularly important to wear seat belts and to have car seats for infants and small children. The condition of other motor vehicles on the road is quite poor, so defensive driving is very important. Avoid night driving whenever possible, as most roads are without street lights, and many cars do not have proper headlights or taillights.

Malaria is a constantly changing and challenging disease. Malaria is endemic, and all personnel should begin taking malaria prophylaxis two weeks prior to arrival.

Other measures to prevent mosquito bites are very important.

Consider all bodies of water (lakes, rivers, dams) to be infested with bilharzia. Anyone swimming, wading or using these waters will be at risk for developing bilharzia. Use only treated pools for swimming.

A shot record is required for entry into Zambia. Although no vaccines are strictly required for entry, yellow fever is required if entering from an endemic area. It is valid for ten years. Immunizations for typhoid, tetanus, diphtheria, rabies, hepatitis A and B, polio and meningitis are strongly recommended.

Wear protective clothing to protect against snake bites, especially for travel in rural areas.

Some well-staffed hospitals with limited medical supplies are in the rural areas, but the distances between them are often great.


The most quoted figures for HIV prevalence in Zambia range between 25 to 30 percent, especially in urban areas such as Lusaka. HIV/AIDS continues to be a large and difficult health problem in Zambia in spite of many government and donor-sponsored programs to supply information and prevention. The death rate due to AIDS and AIDS-related illnesses appears to still be escalating.

Since HIV/AIDS is not casually transmitted, this situation should pose minimal risk to Americans posted here. The health unit periodically checks any local clinic or dental clinic to whom American personnel may be referred with special emphasis on sterilization of equipment and single use of all disposable items.



Travelers, including Foreign Service personnel, temporary duty personnel, consultants, experts and any official or nonofficial visitors, must obtain visas from the Zambian Embassy in Washington, D.C., or at the Zambian Mission to the U.N. in New York. All travelers should also have a South African visa in the event a medical evacuation to that country is necessary.

Currency, Banking, And Weights And Measures

Zambia uses a decimal currency. The kwacha (which means dawn) is the main currency unit. Currency notes come in the following denominations: 10,000, 5,000, 1,000, 500, 100, 50 and 20. The exchange rate in January 2001 was 4,024.53 kwacha to one U.S. dollar.


Banking facilities in Lusaka are satisfactory. A growing number of major commercial banks operate in Lusaka, including one American bank.

Travelers checks are easily cashed at banks and hotels, but not at all shops. Money cannot be withdrawn from automatic teller machines unless the traveler has an account set up in Zambia. American Express, Visa, MasterCard and other credit cards are accepted by some hotels, shops and restaurants in Zambia and surrounding countries.

Zambia follows the metric system for weights and measures.


Jan.1 New Year's Day

Mar. (2nd Sat) Youth Day

Mar.(2nd Mon) Commonwealth Day)

Mar/Apr. Good Friday*

Mar/Apr. Holy Saturday*

Mar/Apr. Easter*

Mar/Apr. Easter Monday*

May 1 Labor Day

May 25 Africa Day

July(1st Mon) Heroes' Day

July (After Heroes' Day) Unity Day

Aug. (1st Mon) Farmer's Day

Oct. 24 Independence Day

Dec. 25 Christmas Day



These titles are provided as a general indication of the material published on this country. The Department of State does not endorse unofficial publications.

Burdette, Marcia M. Zambia: Between Two Worlds. Westview Press: Boulder, CO, 1988.

Carr, Norman. Kakuli. CBC Publishers: Harare, 1996.

Colson, Elizabeth and Thayer Scudder. For Prayer and Profit: The Ritual, Economic, and Social Importance of Beer in Gwembe District, Zambia, 1950-1982. Stanford University Press: Stanford, CA, 1988.

Derricourt, Robin. Man on the Kafue: The Archaeology & History of the Itezhitezhi Area of Zambia. New York: Barber Press, 1985.

Gertzel, Cherry, ed. The Dynamics of a One-Party State in Zambia. Longwood Publishing Group: Dover, NH, 1984.

Gulhati, Ravi. Impasse in Zambia: The Economics & Politics of Reform. (EDI Development Policy Case Series:No. 2.) (ISBN 0-8213-1241-2, 11241.) World Bank. The Publications Department, 1989.

Hansen, Karen Tranberg. Distant Companions: Servants and Employees in Zambia. Cornell University Press: Ithaca and London, 1989.

Hobson, Dick. T ales of Zambia. The Zambia Society Trust: London, 1996.

Hollmes, Timothy. Zambia. Let's Visit Places & Peoples of the World Series. New York: Chelsea House, 1988.

Laure, Jason. Zambia. (Enchantment of the World Series (ISBN 0-516-02716-6).) Children's Press.

MacPherson, Fergus. Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia: The Time and the Man. Oxford University Press: New York, 1975.

Mulaisho, Dominic. The Tongue of the Dumb. Heinemann: London, 1971.

Nag, Prithvish. Population, Settlement & Development in Zambia, 1990. ISBN 0-685-34761-3, South Asia Books: Concept India.

Ollawa, Patrick E. Participatory Democracy in Zambia. State Mutual Book and Periodical Service, Limited. ISBN 0-7223-1214-8, A.H. Stockwell, England.

Owen, Mark and Delia. Survivor's Song: Life and Death in the African Wilderness (published as "Eye of the Elephant" in U.S.). Harper Collins: London, 1992.

Poewe, Karla O. Religion, Kinship, & Economy in Luapula, Zambia. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1989.

Prins, Gwyn. The Hidden Hippopotamus: Reappraisal in African History: The Early Colonial Experience in Western Zambia. Cambridge University Press: New York, 1980.

Rogers, Barbara R. Zambia. RogersStillman, photographer (Children of the World Series). ISBN 0-8368-0257-8. Stevens, Gareth, Inc.

Rogers, Stillman. Zambia. Milwaukee, WI: Gareth Stevens Children's Books, 1991.

Skjonsberg, Else. Change in an African Village: Kefa Speaks. Kumarian Press: West Hartford, CT, 1989.

Vaughan, Richard (text) and Murphy, Ian (photos). Zambia. Corporate Brochure Co.: London, 1991.

Vickery, Kenneth P. Black and White in Southern Zambia: The Tonga Plateau Economy and British Imperialism, 1890-1939. Greenwood: New York, 1986.

In addition to the above books, the Wildlife Conservation Society of Zambia has a small selection of films available for loan. Particularly worth viewing is the documentary, "Last Kingdom of the Elephants," which was filmed in Zambia's Luangwa Valley and is narrated by the late Orson Welles.

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Basic Data
Official Country Name: Republic of Zambia
Region: Africa
Population: 9,582,418
Language(s): English, Bemba, Kaonda, Lozi, Lunda, Luvale, Nyanja, Tonga
Literacy Rate: 78.2%
Academic Year: January-December
Number of Primary Schools: 3,883
Compulsory Schooling: 7 years
Public Expenditure on Education: 2.2%
Educational Enrollment: Primary: 1,506,349
  Secondary: 199,154
  Higher: 15,343
Educational Enrollment Rate: Primary: 89%
  Secondary: 27%
  Higher: 2%
Teachers: Primary: 38,528
Female Enrollment Rate: Primary: 86%
  Secondary: 21%
  Higher: 1%

History & Background

Zambia is a landlocked tropical country situated in southern Africa. The country has a total surface area of 752,614 square kilometers and a population of 10.7 million giving a population density of 11 persons per square kilometer. The country is bordered by the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania to the north, Zimbabwe to the south, Malawi and Mozambique to the east, and Namibia and Angola to the west. Zambia is not only a big country, but it is also one of the most highly urbanized in sub-saharan Africa. About 40 percent of the population live in urban areas. The population density in big urban areas like Lusaka stands at more than 200 persons per square kilometer, implying greater demand for education in urban areas. More than 50 percent of the population is below fifteen years of age indicating that there is a large pool of school age children who need to have access to education. In the rural areas, the sparseness of the population in some communities poses the challenge of providing education to small populations of children who are geographically very distant from each other. The urban and rural differences entail adoption of educational provision strategies that take into account varied geographical circumstances. There are 73 officially recognized ethnolinguistic groups in Zambia. The major ones are the Bemba, Nynja, Kaonde, Lozi, Luvale, Tonga, and Lunda. There are also small numbers of whites, Indians, and other races. The diversity of ethnic groups entails existence of several traditions and cultural practices which have their implications on the education of children. Low school attendance ratios in certain rural parts of the country have been attributed to prevailing traditions and cultural practices (Sibanda et al 1999). More than 50 percent of the people are Christians; indigenous traditional religions comprise the second most widespread belief system.

Zambia attained independence from Britain in 1964. At independence Zambia had one of the most poorly developed education systems of Britain's former colonies, with just 109 university graduates and less than 0.5 percent of the population estimated to have completed primary education. Kenneth Kaunda became the country's first president and proclaimed one-party rule. Opposition parties were legalized in 1990. In a subsequent election in 1991, Fredrick Chiluba, the leader of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD), defeated Kaunda. Zambia's economy is heavily dependent on the mining of copper, cobalt, and zinc. Copper and other metal exports account for about 75 percent of the country's export earnings. A collapse in copper prices, oil price shocks, and static economic policies in the early 1970s had a devastating effect on Zambian economy. This has been compounded by a continual contraction, since independence, of Zambia's food production turning the country into a food-deficit nation. The resulting economic decline has been catastrophic with per capita income falling almost 5 percent annually between 1974 and 1990 (World Bank, 1995). Since taking office in 1991, the new government has been vigorously implementing a Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) under the auspices of the IMF and the World Bank. This program has involved liberalization and privatization of the economy. Controls were removed on imports, interest rates, and exchange rates. The local currency, the Kwacha, has depreciated considerably against other currencies. More than 118 parastatals have been privatized. Zambia's GNP per capita in 1999 was US$320, and its outstanding debt was US$5.5 billion (McCulloch et al. 2000).

Rapid implementation of the Structural Adjustment Program has had a devastating effect on the social sectors. The requirements of the Structural Adjustment Program have resulted in deep cuts on the education and health budgets. In the social sectors the new policy framework has involved the elimination of state subsidies and free social services and the introduction of user fees for schools, clinics, and hospitals. The liberalization and privatization of the economy has been accompanied by retrenchments of the workforce; consequently employment prospects have not risen. These economic changes have affected education investments at the household level in particular. Many families have faced the difficulties of meeting the educational needs of their children. An analysis of household survey data from 1991, 1996, and 1998 shows a dramatic increase in poverty and inequality in urban areas between 1991 and 1996 due to stabilization, the removal of maize meal subsidies, and job losses resulting from trade liberalization and the privatization program (McCulloch et al. 2000). These increases in poverty have severely affected the education of children coming from poor families.

Constitutional & Legal Foundations

Before 1991, two ministries controlled education: the Ministry of General Education Youth and Sport and the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology. Major education policy developments have taken place since 1991. In 1992, immediately after the change of government, the cabinet approved a new education policy entitled "Focus on Learning." The goal of the new education policy was improving access, equity, efficiency, and quality of education through the rehabilitation of school infrastructure, construction of new schools, training of education managers, and procurement and supply of education materials to schools. The new government set up one Ministry of Education in 1992 which is in charge of Primary education, Secondary education, Teacher training, and universities. The Ministry of Education is in charge of formulating education policy and responsible for the operation of all educational institutions including the two universities with the exception of technical and vocational institutions, which fall under the Ministry of Science and Technology. A major policy development was the publication of the national education policy entitled "Educating Our Future" in May 1996. Educating Our Future created a path for educational development, which is in line with the country's new political, economic, and social direction. The benchmarks of the new education policy are decentralization, partnership, equity, efficiency, quality, democratization and effectiveness. The Ministry of Education's Curriculum Development Center is responsible for developing curriculum for all government run primary and secondary schools as well as teacher training colleges.

Currently, participants in educational provisions include the government, communities, individuals, religious organizations, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Since 1991, there has been a growth in the number of private schools and colleges as new participants have been encouraged to enter the education sector following market liberalization of the economy. Even the provision of educational materials has now been liberalized. The new book policy has liberalized the education materials market in such a way that several private publishing companies are now competing for the supplying of books and education materials to schools. The educational system is increasingly becoming diverse, giving alternative paths of access to educational opportunities.

In 1998, the Zambian Government developed a sector approach to the development of basic education through the Basic Education Sub Sector Investment Program (BESSIP). The objectives of BESSIP are to increase access, improve the school infrastructure, decentralize the educational system, build capacity in the educational system, raise equity, develop better a partnership, and improve quality and coordination in basic education (World Bank 1998). Prior to the introduction of the sector program concept, donor activity in education was not well coordinated. Donors financed either separate projects or small programs combining a number of activities, both in basic education as well as in advanced-level education. The framework for a sector-wide investment program was introduced to combine donor activity in the education sector and to attract donors to invest more in this sector. A strategy for the whole education sector was formulated in a policy paper entitled "Investing in Our People."

The formulation of the Basic Education Sub Sector Investment Program aimed at universalizing primary education by the year 2005 and the individual's achievement of a basic education by 2015. Basic education has been defined to mean the first nine years of school. However, before the new policy was introduced, a number of factors had contributed to the low overall quality of basic education. School buildings and equipment were often run-down and educational materials were insufficient. Rural areas suffered from the lack of motivated and qualified teaching personnel. As a consequence of the low level of wages, poor quality teacher training, and insufficient funding for education, the government was hiring unqualified teaching personnel in rural areas. Activities within BESSIP involve 61 percent of the expenditures in the 1998 GRZ budget for education, as well as 83 percent of ongoing donor support to the sector. The major multilateral donors include The World Bank, ILO, UNESCO, and bilateral donors such as NORAD, USAID, DfiD, SIDA, Finland, The Netherlands, and Ireland.

Educational SystemOverview

Zambia's education structure is characterized by a broad base (representing primary level) and a sharp apex (representing higher education). The education structure starts with four years of preschool education, which are optional. The entrance age for preschool is three years. Seven years of primary education constitute the first level of education. The entrance age for primary education is seven years. After primary education, the next level of education is secondary education, which takes a duration of five years. The entrance age for secondary is 14. Progression from one level to another depends upon an external examination directed by the government, e.g., the end of primary school examination and baccalaureate examinations. This means that not all children are expected to proceed to secondary education. Currently, however, government emphasis is to ensure provision of seven-year primary education.

For some time the situation has been that almost two thirds of the children end their education at primary level. Only one third of the primary school dropouts have the opportunity to go to secondary education. Of those who enroll for the 7 years of primary education, less than 20 percent enter secondary school, and only 2 percent of the 20-24 age group enter a university or some other form of higher education (Silanda et al. 1999). This structure and the selection hurdles associated with it means that the majority of those who enter the school system fail to go onto higher levels. In recognition of this problem, continuing education has been made a priority of the new education structure.

English is the official language of instruction in schools from preschool to tertiary education. Statistics show that at present a total of 1,667,000 students from grades 1-9 and 225,000 students in grades 10-12 are currently enrolled in teachers' training colleges. Some 4,500 university students, besides 23,000 other students, are doing continuing and distance education (Silanda et al. 1999). Zambia has at present 3,800 government primary and basic schools, 200 secondary schools, 26 special education and open learning centers, 14 teachers training colleges, 14 schools of continuing education and open learning centers, 1 national correspondence college, and the 2 universities: the University of Zambia and the Copper Belt University.

The number of community schools registered with the Zambia Community Schools Secretariat (ZCSS) increased 7 times in 3 years from 55 in 1996 to 373 in 1999. Equally, enrollments in community schools increased from 6,599 in 1996 to 47,276 in 1999. The increase can be attributed to the facilitating role of the government which has encouraged instead of discouraged the growth of these types of school. If the growth in the number of these schools continues, they will be an alternative path for basic education for children. Community schools are non-profit making institutions that are cheap enough to allow disadvantaged children to have access to educational opportunities. They serve children between ages 9 and 16 who are either dropouts or "never beens" and use predominantly untrained volunteer teachers from the community. Each is managed by a community committee. In 1998 a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed between the Ministry of Education and Zambia Community Schools Secretariat (ZCSS), which recognized the role played by the community schools in the provision of education and obliged the ministry to provide learning materials, educational advisors, and pay an agreed number of trained teachers.

Preprimary & Primary Education

The national number of preprimary education centers was 443 in 1995. The main providers of the service are churches, councils, NGOs, and private individuals. Nationally a very small proportion of preschool aged children is able to attend preschool. Indications from available data show that only 7.3 percent of 3 to 6 year old children had attended some form of preschool center by 1998 (Silanda et al. 1999). In 1998 only 8.5 percent of the 248,698 children enrolled in Grade 1 had access to preschool education. Children in urban areas have better access to preschool education as evidenced by the higher proportion of children with preschool experience in urban areas reported to be 23.7 percent when compared to 2.7 percent in rural areas (Silanda et al. 1999). The number of trained teachers in preschools increased from 473 in 1990, to 1069 in 1995, and more than 1,200 in 1997.

There are three types of primary schools in Zambia: namely government schools, private schools, and community schools. Most of the primary schools are still government controlled. Community schools have no age limits and are run by the community and or the church. Teachers tend to be volunteers paid by the community and/or the church. Pupils who do well in these schools eventually enter the formal school system. The community school in the Lusaka province caters to dropouts, especially girls. Disadvantaged children are getting an alternative path to basic education through the community schools which have increased 7 times in their numbers from 55 in 1996 to 373 in 1998. Enrollments in community schools have increased 7 times as well from 6,599 in 1996 to 47,276 in 1999. The percentage of enrollments of orphans has been increasing as well.

Primary Gross and Net Enrollment Ratios (GER and NER) indicate that there has been an overall increase in GER since 1970, with major fluctuations during the time period. The number of primary schools increased by 32 percent from 2,564 in 1970. The imbalances in educational opportunities between the urban and rural areas appear to be narrowing. According to Silanda et al. (1999), the 1998 education data indicated that 16.9 percent of the children in rural areas had no access to educational opportunities while the proportion in the urban areas was 12.8 percent. Over the period of 1970 to 1998, there has been a close in the gender gap in primary gross enrollment ratios. The increase in the enrollment of girls was attributed to gender sensitization campaigns through the Program for the Advancement of Girls' Education (PAGE) and by NGOs like the Alliance for Community Action on Female Education (ACAFE) and FAWEZA. Primary gross enrollment rates are higher in urban rather than rural areas. School dropout rates are higher in rural areas and higher for female than male. Over the period from 1970 to 1998 the dropout rate for children was higher in the upper grades than the lower grades (Silanda et al. 1999). This problem affected girls more than boys and girls in rural areas more than urban girls. The most common reason for the high dropout rates found by researchers was the rising cost of education. Other reasons include early marriages and pregnancies, harmful traditions and customs, and long distances to school. Progression rates to higher levels of primary schooling in rural areas are lower than in urban areas. For example, in 1998 the progression rate averaged 85 percent while in urban areas it averaged 92 percent. In rural areas, girls faired slightly lower in progression rate compared to boys. This means that fewer girls than boys progress to the final grade of primary schooling. Nationwide female illiteracy in rural areas is still high.

In 1991, the Ministry of Education and its cooperating partners embarked on a program of school rehabilitation and construction to increase access to formal primary education. By 1998, some 2,325 classrooms, 1,100 teachers' houses, 2,100 pit latrines, and 100 water borne toilets were built. The creation of 2,325 new classrooms translated into the provision for 93,000 new students. The average increase translated to 10,000 per year, below the estimated goal of 120,000 new students annually from the year 1990 to 2000. Despite the increase in the number of primary schools, about 657,000 school children from ages 7 to 13 cannot be enrolled in either government or private schools (Silanda et al. 1999).

Secondary Education

At present secondary education is looked upon by both society and the government as a preparatory stage for post primary training, which leads to employment in the formal sector. Secondary education spans from grade 8 to grade 12. Of all those who enter grade 8, many fail to complete the full secondary school cycle. Every year about 80 percent grade 9 pupils fail to proceed to grade 10. The progression rates at primary and junior secondary levels are affected by the shortage of money to pay school fees.

Higher Education

Achieving a university education is still the key to status. The first institution of higher education in the country, the University of Zambia in Lusaka, was officially opened in 1966, two years after the attainment of Zambian independence. The second university is the Copperbelt University, which was until 1987 part of the University of Zambia (UNZA). The Zambia Institute of Technology, which was part of the Department of Technical Education and Vocational Training (WEVT), is now merged with the Copperbelt University. The former offers courses in agriculture, education, engineering, humanities and social sciences, law, medicine, mining, natural sciences, and veterinary medicine, but only business, industrial, and environmental studies are available at Kitwe. The basic program is four years, although engineering and medical courses are of five and seven years' duration, respectively. Despite financial constraints the education sector has experienced, university enrollments have risen steadily. As a result of financial problems, certain economic measures were introduced in 1989, which aimed at cost recovery and sharing of costs, by the beneficiaries of university education. These measures are expected to change the pattern of enrollment in universities as well as the output on long term development of the university. It is envisaged that the government shall upgrade the entry to the university from 101 levels to 'A' levels and the normal course degree studies will be reduced to three years.

Other tertiary-level institutions include 14 primary school teacher training colleges with 1 correspondence college and 2 in-service teachers colleges. In addition a few agriculture teachers are trained at the National Resources Development College (NRDC), an agriculture college. There is also a privately owned teachers college.

Administration, Finance, & Educational Research

Since 1970, the share of the education sector in the national budget as a percentage of the gross national product has been on the decline. The percentage of total public budget spent on education varied between 7 to 13.4 percent, compared to 20 to 25 percent in other neighboring countries, while expenditure on primary education averaged about 2.5 percent of the GNP compared to 8-10 percent in neighboring countries and 5 percent in Sub-Saharan Africa (World Bank 1998). Declining public finance of education underlies much of the Ministry's inability to meet its obligations of providing the necessary facilities to ensure universal availability of quality education. The major reasons for the decrease in government expenditure on education has been identified to include poor economic development, structural adjustment requirements, and increasing debt servicing requirements (Saluseki, 2000). Expenditure on advanced-level education has increased from 1970 to 1998, while primary and secondary education budgets actually experienced decreases, from 44 to 42 percent of the government's expenditure on education in the case of preprimary and primary education and 30 to 19 percent in the case of secondary. Under BESSIP, the requirements for counterpart funding, on behalf of the Ministry of Education, is geared toward reducing this inequality in resource allocation within the education sector. Zambia is also benefiting from a comprehensive debt reduction package under the enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative supported by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The enhanced HIPC Initiative will help Zambia to advance its poverty reduction programs and stimulate economic growth; this can help in generating resources that can be channeled to the education sector. Compared to projected debt service obligations without HIPC assistance, Zambia's annual payments will be reduced by US$260 million from 2001 to 2005 and roughly US$130 million from 2006 to 2015 (World Bank 2000). This corresponds to a reduction in debt service obligations of 45 percent.

Nonformal Education

Zambia's school system was dropping out every year an average of 225 to 500 young people into unemployment (Saluseki, 2000). About 232,000 pupils enter primary school each year, but 50,000 drop out before grade seven and 120,000 drop out at grade seven. Some 62,000 students enter secondary school, but 40,000 drop out before grade 12 leaving only 22,000 who gain grade 12 certificates. Out of those that gain grade 12 certificates, 16,500 look for jobs without any skills while 5,500 enter formal training or a university. Students who drop out of the education system pursue alternative sources of education, usually in the nonformal sector. Zambia has different continuing education programs under different ministries. Under the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Vocational Training, the targeted population for skills training is out-of-school youths grade or grade 9 and 12 dropouts. Training programs for these groups are undertaken at trades training institutes. There are 12 institutions, 9 of them located in urban areas and 3 in rural areas. The Ministry of Community Development and Social Services also provides essential skills training in vocational rehabilitation skills, skills training for women, and training specifically targeted to disabled persons, youth, and unemployed adults. The Ministry of Sport, Youth, and Child Development provides training in agriculture, carpentry, tailoring, and plumbing to out-of-school youths between 15 and 24 years. The ministry has 14 training centers. The Department for Continuing Education in the Ministry of Education provides training in carpentry, agriculture, and vocational skills at 24 skills training centers to out-of-school youths and unemployed adults. There are also a number of NGOs involved in the provision of essential skills training for women, out-of-school youths, street children, orphans, and other disadvantaged groups.

The Department for Continuing Education in the Ministry of Education and some NGOs provide literacy training through open learning centers, night schools, and the National Correspondence College. About 4,600 youths are trained every year through the open learning centers and distance education. High levels of participation are recorded in rural areas because literacy training is directed to reach rural women. Since the illiteracy level is higher for rural women than men, more women enroll in the literacy classes. In urban areas, a few municipalities and city councils provide basic literacy training.

Teaching Profession

In 1999 there were roughly 30,000 trained teachers and 9,000 untrained teachers (Phiri 1999). The goal was to produce 4,400 teachers every year between 1990 and 2000. The annual output of teachers from colleges was 2,2262,174 less than the goal. There has been a shortage in the output of trained undergraduate as well as qualified graduate teachers. Consequently, the country relied on untrained teachers in primary schools. A large number of the untrained teachers are concentrated in rural areas. The secondary school teacher supply and retention is also beset with a high attrition rate. The shortage of secondary school teachers was cited to be particularly acute in mathematics and science subjects. With the anticipated expansion particularly at the primary sector following the implementation of the basic education sector approach, there will be an increase in the demand for teachers. It is therefore important that new priorities in the education sector include expansion of the teacher training programs to cope with the anticipated demand.

HIV/AIDS has had a toll on teachers. Six hundred of them died in 1997 and the figure catapulted to more than 1,000 by December 1998 (Phiri 1999). They died from many causes including HIV/AIDS. Those who remain are underpaid, poorly housed, demoralized, poorly deployed, provided with little support in the field, and given little instructional time. The average Zambian teacher's pay was about US$65 in 1998 (Phiri 1999). Steps being undertaken to reduce attrition rates of teachers include: increased teacher supply from the teacher training colleges, sensitization of teachers on HIV/AIDS, rural hardship allowances, increased salaries, high salary entry notch for rural areas, decentralization of payroll, home ownership scheme for teachers, and the freezing of urban positions (Silanda et al. 1999).


At independence Zambia had one of the most poorly developed education systems of Britain's former colonies with just 109 university graduates and less than 0.5 percent of the population estimated to have completed primary education. The country has since invested heavily in education at all levels, and well over 90 percent of children ages 7 to 13 attend school.

On the whole, Zambia has made some progress towards achieving universal primary education and increased participation in secondary and higher education. However one of the biggest challenges for Zambia's policymakers is to make education accessible to every school child in the face of increasing poverty and a rising demand for cost sharing. Government expenditure on education remained at roughly 10 percent of the total national budget and 2 percent of the GDP. Both were below the targeted levels, 15 percent of total government expenditure and some 4 percent of the GDP. Indications are that children from low-income families are more likely to dropout of school than those from higher-income families. The country cannot afford to teach its children. Consequently the cost of sending children to school falls upon the parents. Many poor families can't pay for the school fees, uniforms, books, and pencils. Seventy percent of Zambians live below the poverty line (McCulloch et al. 2000). There is a need to prioritize and redirect resources that are being freed from debt reduction to be allocated to education. There is a need to relieve the poor of the burden of fees and cost sharing measures by making education free of direct cost for the impoverished.

There is still a gender gap in education, particularly in rural areas, and an overall gap between enrollments in urban and rural areas. There is a need to eliminate imbalances by achieving parity in gender and urban/rural education. This can be achieved by specifically implementing policy measures that address these inequities through increased partnership and the involvement of communities, NGOs, the private sector, and donors in educational provision.

Although there is a recognized need and a high demand for increased activity in basic education, the government has conventionally prioritized higher-level education in its allocation of resources. It is important that basic education receives an increased allocation of resources.

Zambia's education system is also greatly suffering because of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. It is important that Zambia's education sector continues to vigorously pursue an education policy that fully incorporates HIV/AIDS prevention both to students and staff.


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. Ministry of Education. Investing in Our PeopleIntegrated Education Sector Investment Program. Lusaka, 1996.

McCulloch, N., B. Baulch, and M. Cherel-Robson. Globalization, Poverty and Inequality in Zambia During the 1990s. OECD Development Center, 2000.

Saluseki, Bivan. "Zambia's Education System Is A Time Bomb." Post of Zambia (21 April 2000). Available from

Silanda, Emmanuel M., Geoffrey Lungwangwa, Dickson Mwansa, Martin Kamwengo, Getrude Mwape, and Lawrence Mukuka. Education for all 2000 Assessment: Country Zambia - 1999. Lusaka: Ministry of Education, 1999.

Phiri, Brighton. "Zambia's education is inadequate." Post of Zambia (25 June 1999).

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World Bank. "Zambia to Receive US$3.8 billion in Debt Service Relief for Zambia Under the HIPC Initiative." World Bank News (8 December 2000).

Gladys Mutangadura

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Basic Data

Official Country Name: Republic of Zambia
Region (Map name): Africa
Population: 9,770,199
Language(s): English (official),Bemba, Kaonda, Lozi,Lunda,Luvale,Nyanja,Tonga,70 others
Literacy rate: 78.2%
Area: 752,614 sq km
GDP: 2,911 (US$ millions)
Number of Television Stations: 9
Number of Television Sets: 277,000
Television Sets per 1,000: 28.4
Number of Satellite Subscribers: 11,000
Satellite Subscribers per 1,000> 1.1
Number of Radio Stations: 28
Number of Radio Receivers: 1,300,000
Radio Receivers per 1,000: 133.1
Number of Individuals with Computers: 70,000
Computers per 1,000: 7.2
Number of Individuals with Internet Access: 20,000
Internet Access per 1,000: 2.0

Background & General Characteristics

Zambia, formerly Northern Rhodesia, is a land-locked Central African country that won its independence from Britain in 1964, at which time it changed its name from Northern Rhodesia to Zambia. It is bordered in the south by Zimbabwe (the two countries share the world-famous Victoria Falls), Botswana, and Namibia; in the west by Angola; in the north by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire); on the northeast by Tanzania; on the east by Malawi; and on the southeast by Mozambique.

Literacy in Zambia is about 78 percent among the adult population, and primary education is free and compulsory. In 1995 there were more than 1.5 million children in 3,883 primary schools; 199,081 students in 480 secondary schools; 3,313 students in 12 technical and vocational schools; 4,669 students in 14 teacher training institutions; and 5,891 students in two universities. The average annual income is US$300.

Literacy affects newspaper readership. The more educated members of the population are more likely to read newspapers. Readership is also affected by the fact that when families need to decide whether to buy newspapers or food, they are more likely to opt for food, which is quite common in Third World countries such as Zambia.

Many people engage in subsistence farming, especially corn, cassava, and sorghum. There is also commercial farming, mostly by whites who run large farms that produce corn, sugarcane, tobacco, peanuts, and cotton. Another mainstay of the Zambian economy are minerals. In the 1960s, Zambia was regarded as the world's third largest producer of copper. Only the United States and the then-Union of Soviet Socialist Republics produced more copper than Zambia. The country is also a major producer of cobalt.


In its early years, what is Zambia today had no recorded history. People moved around freely, establishing settlements where they could under the rule of African chiefs. Today, Zambia boasts some 70 ethnic groups scattered over the sparsely populated country. Arabs and whites, mostly from Britain, also relocated to Zambia over the years. The Arabs came in as traders and merchants, while the whites were missionaries, civil servants, commercial farmers, miners, adventurers, and entrepreneurs. Over time, English became the official language used for business, government, commerce, and schooling. The other major languages are Bemba, Lozi, Tonga, and Nyanja.

The British South Africa Company ruled Northern Rhodesia from 1891 until 1923, The country's large mineral deposits were exploited at this time, boosting the country's white population and economic prospects. This mineral wealth in Zambia was one of the motivating factors in trying to form the Federation of Rhodesia (combining Southern and Northern Rhodesia) and Nyasaland (now Malawi). Under the federal structure, which came into being in 1953, despite vehement African opposition, the capital would be located in Salisbury (now Harare), the chief city in Southern Rhodesia. The federal legislature and the government would be in white-run Southern Rhodesia. Although whites were a miniscule minority in the Central African federation, they were the political majority in the federal government and federal Parliament. Release of these details galvanized African nationalist leaders in Zambia and Malawi to mobilize to stop the federal idea from being implemented. Opposition from African nationalists in Southern Rhodesia was there, but it was not as vocal or strident as in the two northern territories. Whites in Malawi and Zambia favored federation, as did their Southern Rhodesian counterparts, because it would augment their regional numbers and make it less likely that Zambia and Malawi could be turned over to the black majority.

Reluctantly, in 1962, the British government accepted Nyasaland's desire to opt out of the federation. At the local level, in 1948, two Africans were named to the Northern Rhodesian Legislative Council, which was the beginning of the recognition that blacks needed representation in the legislature. After negotiations among the Africans, the whites, and the British government, a new constitution was agreed upon. It came into effect in 1962 and, for the first time, it was agreed that Africans would form the majority in the new Legislative Council.

On December 31, 1963, just 10 years after its founding, the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland was declared dead. African nationalists had triumphed. After that, it was just a question of time before Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland would join most of the rest of Africa in the 1960s in winning majority rule and independence from European colonial rules. Less than a year after the federation's dissolution, Northern Rhodesia became the independent country of Zambia on October 24, 1964. The United National Independence Party (UNIP), successor to the banned Zambian African National Congress, won a majority of the seats under the new constitution. UNIP leader Kenneth David Kaunda became Zambia's democratically elected president. Soon, Kaunda and Zambia moved systematically to eliminate the opposition and turn the country into a one-party state, something that had become fashionable in Africa.

Beginning in 1969 and continuing until 1991, Kaunda and UNIP were repeatedly re-elected. Economic turndowns, corruption, drought, food shortages, and a general air of feeling that it was time for change ended Kaunda's and UNIP's 27-year grip on power in 1991. The Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD), led by former labor union leader Frederick Chiluba, humiliated Kaunda and UNIP with an overwhelming electoral victory. Zambia's economy and infrastructure had also suffered from sabotage and bombings by Rhodesian and South African air force planes. Zambia's crime was that it had provided refugee camps, limited training facilities for guerrillas and exile headquarters for Rhodesian and South African groups that were seeking to overthrow white minority-dominated regimes in Salisbury and Pretoria.

In the December 2001 election, Chiluba's hand-picked successor, lawyer Levy Mwanawasa, narrowly squeaked to victory by winning 30 percent of the votes against several opposition candidates. The opposition parties claimed the election was marred by fraud, vote rigging, and the government's misuse of its powers. Despite the more liberalized conditions since the return of multiparty politics, the minister of Information and Broadcasting Services in Zambia still has much control over the country's broadcasting system.

Media History

All forms of media are shaped by political, economic, educational, and social conditions, but the media can help shape things as well. For example, Chiluba and the MMD trounced the ruling party and ousted Kaunda, the only leader Zambians had known in their first 27 years of independence, since Kaunda opened up the political process. One of the factors, a relatively new one at that, that helped defeat Kaunda and UNIP was the emergence of privately owned and relatively independent newspapers. The new media voices became partners with those forces that were struggling for democracy in Zambia.

The Zambia News Agency (ZANA) is the main provider of domestic news. It gathers and distributes news and information to the country's media and works with the Pan African News Agency (PANA), which collects and redistributes news from other African countries. ZANA has not had the resources and personnel to reach its potential as the country's domestic news agency.

In 2002 there were four newspapers in Zambia: the state-owned Zambia Daily Mail and the Times of Zambia ;

The Post, which is independent; and the UNIP-owned Sunday Times of Zambia. All are published in English and have circulations in the 25,000 to 50,000 range. Each paper also has taken advantage of technology by also publishing an online edition.

The Zambia Daily Mail started its life in 1960, when it was called the African Mail. In 1962 its name was changed to Central African Mail. This weekly paper was popular among blacks in the early 1960s because it was not afraid to publish stories that were critical of the federal government, the colonial government, and authorities in Northern and Southern Rhodesia. The paper was coowned by David Astor, then editor of the Sunday Observer in London, and Alexander Scott, a former Scottish doctor. In 1965 the new Kaunda government bought the Central African Mail. Two years later, it had become a semi-weekly called the Zambia Mail. In 1970 the Zambia Mail became the Zambia Daily Mail, a state-owned daily.

Its main rival was the Zambian Times, founded in 1962 by a South African named Hans Heinrich.

The Zambian Times started its life in Kitwe, one of the country's mining centers. Heinrich, however, soon sold the paper to a British firm called London and Rhodesia Mining, which owned other newspapers in the region.

Meanwhile, the Argus Company, another owner of newspapers in Central and Southern Africa, started the Northern News in Ndola, another mining community. This newspaper, however, was aimed at the white community; it included foreign news from Britain. When Argus chose to leave Zambia to concentrate on its South African business interests, it sold the Northern Times to London and Rhodesia Mining, which shut down the Zambian Times and renamed its new property the daily Times of Zambia. A white Rhodesian civil servant, Richard Hall, became editor of the Times of Zambia. Hall trained African editors and reporters to take over from him; in 1975 Kaunda's government took over the Times of Zambia and relocated its offices from Ndola to Lusaka, the national capital.

In addition to the Zambia Daily Mail and the Times of Zambia, other newspapers emerged. The Weekly Post became popular among those who disagreed with the Chiluba government; it regularly attacked the government, made fun of its leaders, and scrutinized its actions. It started doing to Chiluba and the MMD what Kaunda and UNIP had done to the MMD in the days before multi-party politics became a major political player. But the Weekly Post was not the only paper critical of the new government. The church-owned National Mirror and the privately owned Sun were also critical. They regularly ran stories and columns ridiculing the new government and its leaders, something that could not have happened during the Kaunda days.

The Daily Mail and the Times of Zambia did for Chiluba what they used to do for Kaunda: defend the government from attacks in the private media. They have remained pro-government publications, again projecting the viewpoint of the government of the day. They have refused to open up their pages to opposition's views. Although sometimes irritated by some of the coverage, the Chiluba government and its successor, the Mwanawasa government, were far more tolerant of criticism. They also eschewed censorship, even when the media published articles and photos that some consider of questionable taste. Ironically, some of the tactics that the MMD used to discredit the UNIP government were used against it. In the 1990s, the MMD published ads in the independent media attacking the UNIP government and its policies. Opposition parties used the same ad tactics against the MMD.

State-Press Relations

The media has not always had a happy existence in Zambia. As elsewhere in Africa, the earliest newspapers in what was then known as Northern Rhodesia were aimed at the small white community. Africans were ignored, except in so far as they could be depicted as criminals or in other negative ways. When African nationalists started agitating for change in the 1950s and continuing into the 1960s, they could not count on newspapers, radio, or television to tell their story. During federation days, the federal government controlled radio and television outlets, which were used to demonize black nationalists and to tout the views of the federal government. At independence, the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) came into being as a single-channel television outlet. It was loosely patterned after the British Broadcasting Corporation, meaning it was supposed to be autonomous, nonpartisan, and objective. In practice, ZNBC quickly followed in the path trodden by other broadcasting outlets in most African countriesit became a state-run institution that tended to report news only from the government's and ruling party's perspective. Opposition views were absent from ZNBC radio and television news. Kaunda and the ruling party saw the broadcast media as handmaidens of the government and UNIP, there to propagate and spread, uncritically, progovernment views and policies. In the Kaunda view, which was shared by many African leaders, opposition parties were enemies whose views should never be published or spread by the media.

The change from Kaunda and UNIP to Chiluba and the MMD was more than symbolic. It seemed to signal a major philosophical change. Kaunda thought the media had one purpose: to serve and propagate his policies and those of the ruling UNIP. Press freedom was an alien concept. At the beginning of UNIP rule, the print media was privately owned. Once in power, Kaunda changed all that. He effectively took over control of radio and television and started after the print media, arguing that the media's role was to transform society, in line with government policy. Over time, Kaunda appointed the head of the broadcasting facility. He also appointed, promoted, and fired the editors-in-chief at the Zambia Daily Mail and the Times of Zambia. Under those conditions, the print media could not afford to be critical of Kaunda, UNIP, or the government.

The MMD took a different stance by promising to restore and respect press freedom. The MMD promised to let journalists do their work without interference, and that those with the means would be able to own print and electronic media outlets. Those interested in starting private radio and television outlets were encouraged to apply for licenses. A Media Reform Committee was even established to chart the way forward. Among the commit-tee's recommendations were privatizing the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation, privatizing newspapers, and putting a freedom of the press clause in the Zambian constitution. The print media took advantage of the new freedoms. They criticized the new government and its president, made efforts to be a public watchdog, and tried to hold the government accountable for its actions. There were virtually no restrictions about what the media could not do or publisha far cry from the autocratic Kaunda days.

Broadcast Media

Even though ZNBC depended on annual license fees to be paid by all television and radio owners and government subsidies, the government co-opted ZNBC for use as a state propaganda unit. In 2002 ZNBC remains the country's sole television broadcaster and is still seen, despite the change in government from UNIP to the supposedly press-freedom-committed MMD, as a state broadcaster. ZNBC also runs three government-oriented radio stations: Radio 1, which is multilingual and can be heard in Zambia's major languages; Radio 2, which is an English language service; and Radio 4. There are also two church-owned stations, Radio Icengelo and Yatsani Radio, and privately owned Radio Choice. This is unusual because many African countries do not allow privately owned radio stations, preferring instead to leave broadcast matters in the hands of state-owned outlets for propagating government policies and government programs.

Francis P. Kasoma, a former Zambian print journalist and now a professor in the department of communication at the University of Zambia, started broadcasting in Zambia in 1941 when the British colonial authorities initiated an African radio service. Twenty years later, in 1961, television arrived in the country, courtesy of the privately owned London Rhodesia Company. It was designed to serve the interests of the white community. At independence, the Zambian government purchased the television station, and it became part of ZNBC. From then on, ZNBC became an integral part of the Zambian government's propaganda machinery. ZNBC dutifully parroted government policies, repeatedly featured UNIP leaders and ignored opposition parties and leaders, except to denigrate them. According to Kasoma, Kaunda became a fixture on ZNBC news, regardless of what he was doing. His speeches, even at political rallies, were repeatedly shown on television, often uncut and unedited. Some of those speeches were repeated a number of times during the broadcast cycle. As president, Kaunda could and did appoint and fire the ZNBC director-general, the person with the responsibility for the daily programming.

Opposition ads were not allowed on radio or television, until the opposition successfully sued for the right to have its election ads screened, even though it had to pay for them. While the MMD went to court to force ZNBC to screen its paid ads, Kaunda and UNIP enjoyed unlimited access to the airwaves, including during peak viewing and listening hours. The government and the ruling party did not pay for those ads. ZNBC actually carried an announcement saying it was airing the ads to comply with the court decision. The Press Association of Zambia also went to court to seek the temporary removal of Steven Moyo, then the ZNBC director-general, on the grounds that he was too pro-government and anti-MMD. Although Moyo was temporarily removed, broadcast news rarely covered the election fairly. Stories about the MMD were few or biased.

Despite all this help from the media, Kaunda was still defeated; under the MMD and Chiluba, ZNBC television and radio programs were opened up to government and opposition parties, including UNIP. Opposition parties and candidates now had access to the airwaves in this changed political culture. Programs critical of the government of the day were no longer automatically banned. No longer were radio and television programs dominated by the theory that what the president did or said should be the top story of the day, regardless of its insignificance, although the government still carried an unfair advantage over other broadcast media players.

While MMD continued government control of ZNBC as a state broadcaster, it did open up the airwaves to other voices, though in a limited context. By 1994, for example, the government announced that those interested in starting private radio and television stations could apply for licenses. Some FM and medium wave frequencies were made available for radio, while a few UHF bands were also made available for television broadcasting. Despite these changes, however, the MMD government was adamant that under the Broadcast Act no broadcast licenses would be granted to political parties.

The number of radio receivers in Zambia grew from 760,000 in 1994 to 1,000,000 in 1996. The number of actual listeners is much higher than that because of large numbers of family members who gather around each radio set, plus those who listen to broadcasts in beer halls and other community gathering centers. Radio also attracts more Zambians because it is not affected by literacy and requires no active participation by audiences who can be engaged in other activities while still being able to listen and hear the messages, music, advice, and call-in programs. Radio broadcasts in English and a variety of African languages. Television has grown more slowly, rising from 245,000 receivers in 1994 to 270,000 in 1996. Its broadcasts are also in English and some African languages. There are nine television broadcasting stations.

Electronic News Media

Although far from being totally free, the media in Zambia has been far freer than it was in the 27 years from independence in 1964 to the 1991 electoral defeat of Kaunda and his UNIP. Zambians now have access to competing and opposing voices. The private press has taken upon itself the role of public watchdog and defender of freedom and the truth. Access to the media has improved markedly. Criticism of the government is no longer a crime. However, despite these newfound freedoms, access to the media remains limited because of illiteracy, poverty, inability to afford newspapers, and the costs of radio and television. Moreover, the lack of electricity has kept the electronic media out of the reach of a majority of Zambia's citizens. The Information Revolution has made the Internet available in Zambia. Poverty, however, has militated against making e-mail and other Internet services available to most Zambians. Computers, simply, are too expensive. Internet sites and cafes are available, but most Zambians cannot afford to log on and off. Many prefer to spend their limited cash on more pressing needs, such as food.


"Africa." Encyclopedia of the Nations, 7th edition. World Mark Press, 1988.

Africa South of the Sahara, 31st edition. Europa Publications, 2002.

International Yearbook (The Encyclopedia of the Newspaper Industry), 82nd edition. n.p., 2002.

Kasoma, Francis P. "Press Freedom in Zambia." In Press Freedom and Communication in Africa, eds. Festus Eribe and William Jong-Ebot. Trenton, N J: Africa World Press Inc., 1997.

Merrill, John C., ed. Global Journalism (Survey of International Communication), 2nd edition. New York & London: Longman, 1991.

Tendayi S. Kumbula

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Zambia (zăm´bēə), officially Republic of Zambia, republic (2005 est. pop. 11,262,000), 290,584 sq mi (752,614 sq km), central Africa. It borders on Congo (Kinshasa) in the north, on Tanzania in the northeast, on Malawi and Mozambique in the east, on Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia in the south, and on Angola in the west. Lusaka is the capital and largest city.

Land and People

Zambia is largely made up of a highland plateau, which rises in the east. The elevation there ranges from c.3,000 to 5,000 ft (915–1,520 m), and higher altitudes are attained in the Muchinga Mts., where Zambia's highest point (c.7,120 ft/2,170 m) is located. Also in E Zambia are Lake Bangweulu, parts of lakes Mweru and Tanganyika, and the Luangwa and Chambeshi rivers. The Zambezi River drains much of the western part of the country (where the elevation is c.1,500–3,000 ft/460–910 m) and forms a large part of Zambia's southern boundary. The impressive Victoria Falls and the huge Lake Kariba (formed by Kariba Dam), both on the border with Zimbabwe, are part of the Zambezi in the south. The Kafue River drains W central Zambia, including the Copperbelt in the north. There are several large swamps, or flats, in Zambia, which are noted for their concentration of wildlife. The country also has numerous national parks, but their emphasis is on tourism rather than preservation. In addition to Lusaka, other cities include Chingola, Kabwe, Kitwe, Livingstone, Luanshya, Mufulira, Nchanga, Ndola, and Nkana.

The country's population is made up almost entirely of members of several Bantu ethnic and linguistic groups. English is the official language, and approximately 75 African languages and dialects are spoken, including Bemba, Kaonda, Lozi, Lunda, Luvale, Nyanja, and Tonga. Some 50% to 75% of the population is Christian, while Muslims and Hindus make up between 24% and 49%; a small percentage follow traditional African beliefs. The greatest population density is found in the Copperbelt and the central provinces.


Some 85% of Zambians work the country's relatively infertile soil as subsistence farmers; commercial agriculture is mostly confined to a small number of large farms. The leading crops are corn, sorghum, rice, peanuts, sunflower seeds, vegetables, flowers, tobacco, cotton, sugarcane, cassava, and coffee. Cattle, goats, pigs, and poultry are raised. There is a small fishing industry.

The mining and refining of copper constitutes by far the largest industry in the country and is concentrated in the cities of the Copperbelt. Cobalt, zinc, lead, emeralds, gold, silver, coal, and uranium are also mined. Industries include food and beverage processing, construction, horticulture, and the manufacture of chemicals, textiles, and fertilizer. Most of Zambia's energy is supplied by hydroelectric plants, especially the one at Kariba Dam.

Copper, cobalt, electricity, emeralds, tobacco, flowers, and cotton are the main exports. The principal imports are machinery, transportation equipment, petroleum products, electricity, fertilizer, foodstuffs, and clothing. The leading trade partners are South Africa, Switzerland, and Great Britain.


Zambia is governed under the constitution of 1991 as amended. The president, who is both head of state and head of government, is popularly elected for a five-year term and is eligible for a second term. The unicameral legislature consists of the 158-seat National Assembly; 150 members are elected by popular vote and eight are appointed by the president. All legislators serve five-year terms. Administratively, Zambia is divided into nine provinces.


Early History to the Nineteenth Century

Some Bantu-speaking peoples (probably including the ancestors of the Tonga) reached the region by c.AD 800, but the ancestors of most of modern Zambia's ethnic groups arrived from present-day Angola and Congo (Kinshasa) between the 16th and 18th cent. By the late 18th cent. traders (including Arabs, Swahili, and other Africans) had penetrated the region from both the Atlantic and Indian Ocean coasts; they exported copper, wax, and slaves. In 1835 the Ngoni, a warlike group from S Africa, entered E Zambia. At about the same time the Kololo penetrated W Zambia from the south, and they ruled the Lozi kingdom of Barotseland (see Western Province from 1838 to 1864.

The Colonial Period

The Scottish explorer David Livingstone first came to the area that is now Zambia in 1851; he visited Victoria Falls in 1855, and in 1873 he died near Lake Bangweulu. In 1890 agents of Cecil Rhodes's British South Africa Company signed treaties with several African leaders, including Lewanika, the Lozi king, and proceeded to administer the region. The area was divided into the protectorates of Northwestern and Northeastern Rhodesia until 1911, when the two were joined to form Northern Rhodesia.

The mining of copper and lead began in the early 1900s. By 1909 the central railroad from Livingstone to Ndola had been completed and about 1,500 Europeans had settled in the country. In 1924 the British took over the administration of the protectorate. In the late 1920s extensive copper deposits were discovered in what soon became known as the Copperbelt, and by the late 1930s about 4,000 European skilled workers and some 20,000 African laborers were engaged there. The Africans protested the discrimination and ill treatment to which they were subjected by staging strikes in 1935, 1940, and 1956. They were not allowed to form unions but did organize self-help groups that brought together persons of diverse ethnic backgrounds.

In 1946, delegates from these groups met in Lusaka and formed the Federation of African Welfare Societies, the first protectorate-wide African movement; in 1948 this organization was transformed into the Northern Rhodesia African Congress. In the early 1950s, under the leadership of Harry Nkumbula, it fought strenuously, if unsuccessfully, against the establishment of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland (1953–63), which combined Northern Rhodesia, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), and Nyasaland (now Malawi). The booming copper industry had attracted about 72,000 whites to Northern Rhodesia by 1958, and the blacks there experienced increasing white domination.

Independence and Kaunda

Kenneth Kaunda, a militant former schoolteacher, took over the leadership of the Africans from the more moderate Nkumbula and in 1959 formed a new party, the United National Independence Party (UNIP). Following a massive civil disobedience campaign in 1962, Africans were given a larger voice in the affairs of the protectorate; there was also agitation for greater autonomy for Barotseland in the early 1960s. On Oct. 24, 1964, Northern Rhodesia became independent as the Republic of Zambia, with Kaunda as its first president; he was reelected in 1968 and 1973. The main problems faced by Kaunda in the first decade of independence were uniting Zambia's diverse peoples, reducing European control of the economy, and coping with white-dominated Southern Rhodesia (which unilaterally declared its independence as Rhodesia in Nov., 1965).

European economic influence in Zambia was reduced by increasing the number of trained Zambians, by diversifying the country's economy, and (from 1969) by the government's acquisition of a 51% interest in most major firms (especially mining and banking companies). Barotseland had become part of Zambia through the Barotseland agreement in 1964, which preserved some of Barotseland's autonomy, but that autonomy was subsequently lost, and separatist sentiment in Barotseland continued into the 1970s.

Zambia joined Great Britain and other countries in applying economic sanctions against white-ruled Rhodesia in 1965. It discontinued transporting goods via rail through Rhodesia to the seaport of Beira in Mozambique. Instead, overseas trade items were transported to and from the seaport of Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, by plane and by truck (via the Great North Road). A petroleum pipeline between Dar-es-Salaam and Ndola was opened in 1968, and, with the help of China, the Tazara Railway (also known as the Great Uhuru or Tanzam Railway) connecting Dar-es-Salaam and Zambia was opened in 1975. In addition, the country halted imports of coal (used especially in the copper industry) from Rhodesia; mining in S Zambia increased until it supplied most of the country's needs. The Rhodesian army pressured Zambia to lift the sanctions by destroying parts of Zambia's transportation network. Zimbabwean independence was finally won in 1980. Throughout the 1970s Kaunda had combined his support of liberation movements in Rhodesia as well as Angola, Mozambique, and South Africa with the encouragement of diplomatic solutions—the approach favored by the West.

Beginning in the late 1960s Kaunda faced formidable opposition from political and student groups protesting the growing concentration of power in his hands. In 1972 all political parties except UNIP were outlawed and Zambia became a one-party state. Kaunda's frequent shuffling of the cabinet prevented a strong political rival from emerging, and he ran for reelection unopposed in 1978.

During the 1970s, the economic sanctions against Rhodesia and a drop in copper prices had put Zambia's economy under severe strain. In the 1980s, as a condition for future aid, Kaunda was forced by foreign creditors to introduce economic austerity measures. Shortages of basic goods, cuts in food subsidies, and unemployment led to rioting and strikes. Meanwhile, popular calls were heard for multiparty rule. In 1986, South Africa launched raids against Zambia and other neighboring countries, targeting camps that were suspected of being used by the African National Congress.

A New Regime

In 1990 another round of austerity measures sparked more unrest, and Kaunda was the target of a coup attempt. In the same year the constitution was amended to allow opposition parties. In 1991, Frederick Chiluba, a trade unionist who promised both political and economic reform for Zambia, overwhelmed Kaunda in the presidential election, and Chiluba's Movement for Multiparty Democracy party (MMD) won the majority of seats in the parliament. A coup allegedly plotted by the opposition led to a brief state of emergency in 1993.

Chiluba's economic reforms, including plans for privatizing the copper industry, initially resulted in better relations with foreign-aid donors, and economic conditions improved somewhat, but Zambia continued to be burdened by a large international debt. Chiluba was reelected in 1996, after parliament passed a constitutional amendment preventing Kaunda from running again. Following a 1997 coup attempt, Chiluba again declared a state of emergency. Numerous opposition leaders and military officers were arrested, including Kaunda, who was freed in 1998 and announced his intention to retire from politics.

By the end of the 20th cent., the standard of living in Zambia was about half what it had been in the mid-1960s, before copper prices began falling. Unemployment and inflation were high, and the country was threatened by the unprecedented prevalance of deadly AIDS/HIV infections. In May, 2001, Chiluba abandoned a bid for a third term in office; it would have required changing the constitution's two-term limit. Chiluba's attempt to change the constitution had provoked a political crisis, both within the country and within his own party.

In the December elections the MMD candidate, Levy Mwanawasa, was elected with less than 30% of the vote; the badly divided opposition also failed to win control of the national assembly. Opposition leaders rejected the victories, charging vote rigging, and some international monitors described the poll as seriously flawed. The country's supreme court, however, ultimately rejected (2005) opposition challenges to the election. Although Mwanawasa was originally viewed as Chiluba's protégé, he embarked on an anticorruption campaign that led to charges against Chiluba and others in the preceding government. Mwanawasa's anticorruption moves also resulted in the dismissal of his vice president and finance minister. A resulting attempt to challenge Mwanawasa's leadership of the MMD was easily defeated in July, 2005.

Meanwhile, the president rejected (Feb., 2005) a draft constitution submitted by a commission he had appointed in 2002; churches and civic and opposition groups supported the changes, foremost among them the requirement that a candidate receive more than 50% of the vote to be elected president. A new draft, which still contained that requirement and other recommendations, was submitted before the end of the year, but Mwanawasa said that it could not be adopted before the 2006 presidential election. In the September presidential vote Mwanawasa won reelection with 43% of the vote after trailing early in the campaign. The opposition accused the president of stealing the election, and there were some clashes between opposition supporters and police after the election. The MMD also secured a narrow majority in the national assembly.

In Nov., 2006, former president Chiluba's corruption trial, which had stalled because of his ill health, was officially suspended, and he was permitted to travel (December) to South Africa for medical treatment. However, a case brought in Great Britain, in which the Zambian government sued Chiluba and 19 other people to regain assets in Europe that the government asserted had been acquired through corruption, continued, and in May, 2007, the British court order the 20 defendants to repay $46 million. That same month, a Zambian court ordered Chiluba's trial to resume.

Meanwhile, opposition leader and Patriotic Front (PF) presidential candidate Michael Sata, who had placed second in the 2006 presidential election, was charged in Dec., 2006, with false declaration of his assets prior to the election. Sata denounced the charges as politically motivated, and they were soon dismissed. In June, 2008, President Mwanawasa suffered a stroke; he died in late August. Vice President Rupiah Banda succeeded him as acting president. Banda was elected president in October, narrowly defeating Sata; Hakainde Hichilema was a distant third. Sata again charged the victor with fraud, but southern African observers called the voting free and fair. In Aug., 2009, former president Chiluba was acquitted of corruption. The Sept., 2011, elections ended the MMD's 20 year hold on the presidency when Sata won the office with 43% of the vote, defeating Banda, Hichilema, and others. The PF also won a plurality of the national assembly seats. In Oct., 2014, Sata died and was succeeded on an interim basis by Vice President Guy Scott, an economist born to Scottish parents. Sata's death also led to a split within the PF between a faction aligned with Scott, who was ineligible to run for president, and one aligned with Defense Minister Edgar Lungu, who was chosen by the party's central committee as the PF's presidential candidate. Lungu won the Jan., 2015, special election, edging opposition candidate Hichilema.

The early 21st cent. saw a revival of a desire for independence or autnonomy in the former Barotseland (now Western Province); the Zambian government was criticized by the Lozi (or Barotse) for not honoring the 1964 treaty that led to Barotseland's incorporation into Zambia. In 2012 traditional Lozi leaders in the Bartoseland National Council called for the area to pursue its own self-determination. Barotseland's traditional royal household supported the call for autonomy, which was denounced by the Zambian government and not supported by some of the other ethnic groups in the region.


See B. M. Fagan, Iron Age Cultures in Zambia (2 vol., 1967–69) and A Short History of Zambia (1968); M. Bostock and C. Harvey, ed., Economic Independence and Zambian Copper (1972); A. A. Beveridge and A. R. Oberschall, African Businessmen and Development in Zambia (1980); A. M. Bliss and J. A. Rigg, Zambia (1984); M. M. Burdette, Zambia (1988).

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POPULATION: 8.5 million

LANGUAGE: English; Bemba; Nyanja

RELIGION: Christianity; Christianity with traditional African beliefs; Hinduism; Islam; traditional African beliefs


Zambia is a landlocked country in southern Africa. Its political boundaries were drawn by the European colonizers. The separate groups living within the artificial boundaries were first referred to as Northern Rhodesians under British rule. They became Zambians after gaining independence.

The first Europeans in the area were the Portuguese in the sixteenth century. Britain became interested in the area in the 1850s. In 1889, the British South Africa Company (BSAC) received permits to trade and set up a government in what would become Northern Rhodesia. The BSAC had economic and political control of the region until 1924. Then British government took over administration of the country. Between 1929 and 1939, four large copper mines were opened in the north-central part of the country. Northern Rhodesia became a supplier of copper to the world.

Along with many other African countries, Zambia won its independence in 1964. It had several political parties until 1973, when it became a "one-party participatory democracy." The freedom-fighter leader Kenneth Kaunda was president of Zambia from 1964 to 1991. President Kaunda's greatest strength as a leader was his ability to unite the various ethnic groups of Zambia. The first decade after independence was the decade of prosperity. Copper prices were high and so were people's spirits.

Economic growth throughout Africa has slowed since the mid-1970s. Throughout the continent, economic troubles have increased. A decrease in agricultural production and the continued growth of cities are among the causes. Zambia's problems were worsened in the mid-1970s by the sudden drop in the price of copper on the world market. In the face of economic problems, President Kaunda's government tried several economic reforms, all of which failed. Throughout the 1980s, support for the government continued to erode. In 1991, for the first time in many years, Zambia held elections with more than one political party. President Kaunda was voted out of power in October 1991, and President Frederick Chiluba was voted in.


Zambia has a tropical savanna (grassland) climate. Most of the country has a single rainy season. Zambia has four great rivers that are a valuable potential resource in the form of hydroelectric power. Zambia has a wealth of minerals, including copper, lead, zinc, and coal. The soil is characterized as red and powdery and not very fertile. The country was very rich in game before widespread hunting began. Now many species are endangered.

Half of Zambia's 8.5 million people live in cities and towns, although movement back to the countryside is increasing.

Most of the people are of Bantu origin (including the Bemba, Tonga, Malawi, Lozi, and Lunda). Some 98 percent of the population is African. Less than 2 percent are European and Asian. Seventy recognized ethnic groups live in Zambia.


The national language of Zambia is English, which also serves as the lingua franca (common language). There are several other major language groups. Bemba is spoken in the Copperbelt, where most of the labor force is Bemba. Nyanja is another common language, spoken by the Chewa and Nsenga people of Malawi, and from people of the eastern province of Zambia.


Zambians have an active tradition of oral history. Proverbs, fables, riddles, and creation myths have been passed down through many generations.


Some 72 percent of Zambia's population is Christian or combines Christianity with traditional African religions. The remainder practice traditional African beliefs, or are Hindu or Muslim.


Official holidays include New Year's Day (January 1), Easter weekend (late March or early April), Labor Day (May 1), Youth Day (March 19), African Freedom Day (May 25), Heroes Day and Unity Day (the first Monday and Tuesday in July), Farmer's Day (the first Monday in August), Independence Day (October 24), and Christmas (December 25).


A number of Zambia's tribal groups conduct initiation ceremonies for boys. These rituals involve circumcision, as well as instruction in hunting and in the group's culture and folklore. At adolescence, girls are also taught about the ways of their culture and receive instruction in sex, marriage, and child rearing.

Both traditional arranged marriages and modern marriages involve the lobola, or bride-price. This is a payment by the man to his fiancians have church weddings.

The funeral of a relative, even a distant relative, is considered an event of great importance. People feel they must attend to show respect for the dead.


In formal situations, Zambians call each other by their last names, preceded by the term for Mr., Mrs., or Miss in their local languages. Different greetings are used in different parts of the country. Mulibwanji (How are you?) is common in the Lusaka area. Mwapoleni (Welcome) is generally used in the Copperbelt region. Mwabonwa (Welcome) is a standard greeting in the southern part of the country.

In most parts of Zambia, people usually greet each other with a handshake, using the left hand to support the righta gesture traditionally considered a sign of respect. People in the Luapula, Western, and Northwestern provinces frequently use a greeting that involves clapping hands and squeezing thumbs.

People often kneel in the presence of their elders or those who are higher in social status. Like many other Africans, Zambians often avoid eye contact out of politeness. It is considered unacceptable for men and women to touch when greeting each other.


Zambia's towns are bustling centers with a host of problems that are common to cities in general. Most of Zambia's city residents live in poverty in low-cost, crowded housing. They live out of sight of the small upper class that lives in the few low-density, previously European-occupied sections of town. In the decade following independence, the population of Zambia's cities doubled in size. In those years (the mid-1960s to mid-1970s) the city represented opportunity and privilege. There was food on the table, transportation in the streets, and goods in the shops. Economic decline began in Zambia in the mid-1970s. As a result, many Zambians are moving back to rural settings and trying to make a living growing food.


Relationships between men and women in Zambia are difficult and not always strong. As heads of households, men have authority within the home. The culture's double standards accept polygyny (having more than one wife) and men's love affairs. But women must be completely faithful. This causes tension in many households. Men are not obliged to share their wealth with the rest of the family even though it is easier for men to earn a living. Cultural norms and assumptions support men's authority and power. A woman very often cannot make a living without the help of a man (usually her father, husband, uncle, or brother). And when a man dies, his property goes to his children, not to his wife. Women's access to and rights over property are still much more limited than men's.


In Zambia, there has been tremendous growth in the second-hand clothing industry, or salaula. The term salaula means "to rummage through a pile." In this case, the term refers to the bundled used clothing that arrives from industrialized nations, including Canada, Denmark, and Britain.

During colonial times, and in the decade after independence, Zambians could afford to produce their own cloth and wear tailor-made clothing. Since the decline in the economy in the mid-1970s, they have been forced to buy used clothing from local traders. They buy large bundles and sell pieces individually. Zambians still have a keen sense of style.


The most important dietary staple is a dough or porridge called nsima. It is made from cornmeal, cassava, or millet, and is typically eaten with meat stew, vegetables, or a topping made from fish. Sweet potatoes and peanuts are commonly eaten in rural areas. Families that can afford to eat hot meals at both lunch and dinner, and a breakfast of nsima or bread and tea. Beer is a popular beverage.


In 1976, the government of Zambia made education tuition-free (although there are still fees and other expenses parents must pay). The result has been a great increase in literacy (ability to read and write). Some parents, especially in the cities, place high value on education. In rural areas, however, children's labor is viewed as more important to daily living.

Education in Zambia is modeled on the British system. Children begin in kindergarten and progress through the grades to high school. Eight years of school are mandatory. In high school, fees and uniforms are more expensive than the average Zambian can afford. As a result, only a small percentage of students go on to high school. Only 20 percent of Zambians have a high school education, and only 2 percent are college graduates.


Dance, accompanied by the drum, xylo-phone, or thumb piano (mbira), plays an important cultural role in Zambia. Most dances are done in two lines, with men in one and women in the other. Tradition associates dances with the casting out of evil spirits. Dances are performed to celebrate personal milestones (such as initiation) as well as major community and group events. In addition to their own traditional forms of music, Zambians enjoy modern music and music from nearby African countries.


When the British arrived, the people in Zambia were farmers and/or cattle herders. The people (mainly men) were recruited by the British to work for cash, either in the copper mines or as house servants in the cities. For rural businessmen and farmers, finding workers is sometimes a problem, and women have more trouble finding jobs than men do. Men are wage-earners and homeowners more often than are women, and they have greater access to money and property than women do. The census defines the working population as those engaged in agriculture, forestry, hunting, fishing, or production and other related occupations. Subsistence farming, which is not included under the category of "work," is done mostly by women.


Soccer is the leading sport in Zambia. Zambia entered a soccer team in the 1988 Summer Olympic Games held in South Korea. Also popular are baseball, rugby, badminton, and squash. Golf is considered a game of the upper class. The most popular sport among young women is a version of basketball called netball.


In the rural areas of Zambia, the main forms of recreation are drinking and traditional dancing. City-dwellers participate in social clubs, church activities, and volunteer groups. Other leisure-time activities include dancing at discos, amateur drama (ifisela), and a variety of sports. Television is available to people living in the cities and larger towns.


The people of the Northwestern province of Zambia are known for their masks, which are made of bark and mud. Fierce faces are painted on the masks in red, black, and white.

A traditional art among Zambian men is the carving of wood sculptures, which are sometimes decorated with costumes made of beads. Woven craft items include baskets and also chitenges, the national costume. It consists of a brightly dyed cloth that is wrapped around the body.

Some of the designs on Zambian pottery are thousands of years old.


Poverty, crime, unemployment, rapid inflation, lack of health and education opportunities, and housing shortages are causing growing discontent among residents of Zambia's cities and towns. Destruction of the land by soil erosion and the clearing of forests is causing environmental deterioration. Estimates indicate that of the over 59 million acres (24 million hectares) of arable (farmable) land in the country, only 6 percent is farmed. The present government must distribute land in the future so as to encourage investment and economic development.


Burdette, M. Zambia: Between Two Worlds. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1988.

Holmes, Timothy. Zambia. New York: Benchmark Books, 1998.

Lauré, Jason. Zambia. Chicago: Childrens Press, 1994.

Karpfinger, Beth. Zambia Is My Home. Milwaukee: Gareth Stevens, 1993.

Rogers, Barbara Radcliffe. Zambia. Milwaukee: Gareth Stevens, 1991.


Southern African Development Community. Zambia. [Online] Available, 1998.

World Travel Guide. Zambia. [Online] Available, 1998.

Zambian National Tourist Board. Zambia. [Online] Available, 1998.

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Zambia is a landlocked African country. Its population in 1995 was about 7.4 million. The average number of children in a Zambian family is about 6.5. The country occupies about 0.752 million square miles and has a density of fifty-four persons per square mile.

The Structure of the Zambian Family

A Zambian family, like families elsewhere, can be thought of as a group. The most important duties of this group are to reproduce, nurture, and educate the young to become productive members of the family and the society at large. This training process is also referred to as socialization. The head of the Zambian family can either be the father or a maternal uncle. If it is a maternal uncle, the mother, more than the father, plays a crucial role in decision making within the family. These matrilineal families are very common in Zambia. In matrilineal families, the authority and power to make decisions rests with the mother and her relatives. In some family types, the father is the decision maker. These patterns of authority and power are passed from one generation to the next in Zambia.

In the patrilineal system, the transfer of wealth is from father to his children. In matrilineal families, children belong to the maternal uncle. In some instances, the father may have more than one wife, although this polygamous type of family is rare in Zambia.

A larger proportion of Zambian families are matrilineal than are patrilineal in organization. Within the country's nine provinces, most households in the four provinces of Central, Northwestern, Luapula, and Copperbelt are matrilineal. The Namwanga and the Ngoni in the Eastern province, the Lozi in the Western, and the ILA in the Southern province are patrilineal. These groups are also patrilocal. That is, after marriage, the couple lives in the husband's family house or close to his father's household. Daily activities such as eating and educating the young are seldom conducted in the privacy of one's house. Zambian villages have a central place governing the village. This place is called Insaka or Nsaka. In the matrilineal villages, the Insakas are located at the village center.

Fostering is common in Zambia. When couples fail to have children, they often become foster parents. It is also very common among siblings to foster care; that is, children are fostered by aunts and uncles. A survey of households in Kitwe, the second largest city in Zambia, found that about 14 percent of all children aged fourteen and younger, and nearly 18 percent of children aged to ten to fourteen years were not living with their parents (Ahmed 1996). The estimates of the extent of fostering in other African countries, such as Ghana, are much higher. Often fostered children are considered and treated as though they are biological offspring. When families are forced to adopt children following some misfortune, foster children may become victims of abuse and neglect.

Family Formation

Families are often formed through marriage. Almost all Zambians eventually marry. Very few remain unmarried throughout life. As soon as a boy is recognized as an adult and brings his marriage intention to the attention of his parents, the boy's parents become involved in marriage arrangements. In matrilineal societies, the maternal uncle plays a very important role in arranging marriage. In patrilineal societies, boys are required to present a certain amount of money, material goods, or both, called labola, demanded by the bride's family. Matrilineal families do not follow the practice of giving labola. In a few matrilineal groups in Zambia, marriage alliances from outside the group are discouraged. Indications of lack of virility and male impotence are grounds for terminating the marriage after the couple's first night. If the marriage is not terminated, the man is invited to the Insaka where he eats with the village elders. The new husband resides with the bride's family (matrilocal) and he works the fields and engages in village life. The matrilocal extended family is composed of a man and his wife, their married daughters, and their husbands and children (Richards 1969). Over time, however, a great deal conflict develops between the sexes. This is because men want or have more control over resources. (Poewe 1978).


In Zambia, the communal way of life is widespread among matrilineal households. Community members participate in the socialization of the young, initiated by family members. In these Insakas, the young are rewarded with praise and acceptance if they show respect for people who hold power and authority, become proficient in ageand gender-related activities, and demonstrate the capacity to assume adult roles in the family and the community. For example, among the Luvale, a matrilineal community, a newly married young man is likely to be judged by assessing his capacity to share chicken meat equally among the members at the dining place in the Insaka.

Children are socialized not only by parents, but also by village elders. Socialization is often segregated by both age and gender as children mature into their early and late teenaged years. Children in matrilineal families learn that their father has little responsibility for them. Children are socialized to acquire desired familial values. Qualities such as honesty, bravery, and trustworthiness are valued in boys. They are also trained to show respect to the elders by allowing elders to eat first in the Insaka and by keeping the Insaka lights illuminated. Boys in matrilineal societies assist the elderly in firewood collection. As boys mature, they are expected to show bravery and gain skills necessary for making a living. Boys who do not posses desired social and personality traits often become alienated. These boys, among the Bembas in Zambia, are called Nibalaya. The term means it is that one—the outcast. Girls are socialized to acquire values and skills necessary for caregiving while learning to be independent as far as possible in terms of farm management and participating in market activities.


The collective life in the Zambian family is shaped by both living and dead family members. Those who are dead influence decision making indirectly. It is believed that the dead exist as spirits. There are good and bad spirits. Whether the dead entered the world of good or bad spirits depended upon how their funerals were handled. For this reason, most Zambians believe that it is important to bury their dead in accordance with the customs, norms, and rules. In matrilineal societies, all adults are expected to attend funerals and initiation ceremonies. The presence of either positive or negative spirits is associated with the desirability of outcomes from actions taken by people to either maintain or enhance family and community well-being. For example, at the christening ceremony, if the infant is named after the wrong ancestral spirit, it is believed that the infant will cry endlessly. There are three types of spirits: ancestral, evil, and possessive. The last kind is believed to cause illness through possession. Maintaining respect for ancestors is an important family function. Belief in and practice of witchcraft is another essential aspect of Zambian family life, particularly in matrilineal societies.

Urban Families

Families in urban areas such as Lusaka and Ndola in Zambia do not resemble their counterparts in the rural Zambia. A typical urban household may consist of children of the spouses from earlier marriages, elder rural-based visitors, friends of the spouses, and promising young relatives of the spouses who attend local schools (Schuster 1979). Because husbands may be employed only intermittently, during the period of unemployment, they may move into households of either the husbands' or wives' relatives. A household under these conditions is like an open kin group. Individuals move in and out of the households, and the definition of the family is broad enough to accommodate even unrelated friends. The composition of the urban households in Zambia is continuously changing.


afaque ahmed. (1996). fostering of children in zambia.m. a. thesis. department of sociology, university of north texas, denton, tx.

poewe, k. (1978). "matriliny in the throes of change, kinship, descent, and marriage in luapula zambia." africa 48:353–367.

richards, a. i. (1969). bemba marriage and presenteconomic conditions. manchester, uk: manchester university press.

schuster, i. m. g. (1979). new women of lusaka. paloalto, ca: mayfield publishing.

vijayan k. pillai

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Official name: Republic of Zambia

Area: 752,614 square kilometers (290,586 square miles)

Highest point on mainland: Unnamed location in Mafinga Hills (2,301 meters/ 7,549 feet)

Lowest point on land: Zambezi River (329 meters/1,079 feet)

Hemispheres: Southern and Eastern

Time zone: 2 p.m. = noon GMT

Longest distances: 1,206 kilometers (749 miles) from east to west; 815 kilometers (506 miles) from north to south

Land boundaries: 5,664 kilometers (3,519 miles) total boundary length; Angola 1,110 kilometers (690 miles); Democratic Republic of the Congo 1,930 kilometers (1,199 miles); Malawi 837 kilometers (520 miles); Mozambique 419 kilometers (260 miles); Namibia 233 kilometers (145 miles); Tanzania 338 kilometers (210 miles); Zimbabwe 797 kilometers (495 miles)

Coastline: None

Territorial sea limits: None


Zambia, a country slightly larger than the state of Texas, is situated in the tropical south-central portion of Africa.


Zambia has no territories or dependencies.


Because of its high altitude, most of the country enjoys a pleasantly temperate climate. Low-lying areas, such as the valleys of the Zambezi, Luangwa, and Kwafe Rivers and the shores of the country's lakes, have the highest temperatures in the country. The hottest months of the year are August through October, when daily temperatures often reach a high of 30°C to 32°C (86°F to 89°F). The months of May through July are only slightly cooler, with temperatures ranging from 17°C to 26°C (63°F to 79°F). At night, however, temperatures may drop as low as 23°C (41°F).

The rainy season is long, beginning in the middle of November and lasting until April; heavy tropical storms occur often. Rainfall is generally highest in the northern provinces of Zambia, decreasing from north to south. Average annual rainfall is about 125 centimeters (50 inches) in the north and only 75 centimeters (30 inches) in the south. The capital city of Lusaka receives approximately 81 centimeters (32 inches) of rainfall each year.


Highest elevations are found in the northeast region of the country, which is home to the Muchinga Mountains. The mountains and plateaus recede as the land is cut by the Luangwa River in the east and the Kafue River in the west, both of which are tributaries of the Zambezi, which flows to the south of the country through the wondrous Victoria Falls and the artificial Lake Kariba.


Zambia is landlocked, with no direct access to the ocean. Kasaba, Nkamba, and Ndole Bays indent the coast of Lake Tanganyika.


Lakes Bangweulu, Mweru, and Tanganyika all are located in the northern reaches of the country, near its borders with Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Lake Tanganyika is the largest of these three, but only its southern end is situated within Zambia. Lake Mweru is a much smaller and shallower freshwater basin located along the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Lake Bangweulu is the smallest of the three northern lakes, but it is the largest found entirely within Zambia, with a surface area of 9,840 square kilometers (3,000 square miles). The Luapala River drains Lake Bangweulu; the lake, combined with several smaller bodies of water, forms the Bangweulu Swamp complex, which is the largest swamp area in the country.


Most of Zambia's streams ultimately drain into the Indian Ocean via the Zambezi River and its main tributaries. In addition to those streams that enter the Zambezi directly, there are three main tributary systems: the Kafue, Luangwa, and Lunsemfwa Rivers. With a total length of 2,735 kilometers (1,700 miles), the Zambezi River is the longest river in Zambia. The upper Zambezi, running roughly from north to south, passes through floodplains and swamps. After turning eastward, the Zambezi flows over Victoria Falls and through the middle Zambezi Valley. The flow of all watercourses in Zambia is affected by the clear demarcation between rainy and dry seasons.

The world-famous, majestic Victoria Falls, straddling the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia, cascade from a height of 106 meters (350 feet) at their maximum and span a width of nearly 1.5 kilometers (1 mile). Two other significant waterfalls are found in Zambia. Just 300 kilometers (185 miles) from Victoria Falls, Ngonye, or Sioma, Falls, features horseshoe-shaped drops that carry over 300 cubic meters (10,000 cubic feet) of water per second. East of the Nsumbu National Park are the Kalambo Falls, which flow from the Kalambo River into Lake Tanganyika. These falls are the second-highest continuous waterfalls on the continent, plunging 221 meters (725 feet).


There are no deserts in Zambia.


The significant areas of lower land are the two rift valleys, one in the east (the Luangwa River Valley) and one in the south (the middle Zambezi River Valley), both of which are bounded by escarpments.


The highest points in Zambia are found in the northeast corner of the country, along the borders with Tanzania and Malawi. Most significant are the Mbala Highlands near Tanzania, the Mafingi Mountains and the Copperbelt Highlands near Malawi, and the Muchinga Mountains. The highest point in Zambia, an unnamed location at an elevation of 2,301 meters (7,549 feet), is located in the Mafinga Hills.


Scenic gorges that are more than 300 meters (984 feet) deep mark the meeting point of the Lunsemfwa and Mkushi Rivers, and a gorge cut by the Kafue River is the site of one of the country's largest hydroelectric plants.

Zambia's rugged terrain also features numerous caves. Some of these contain prehistoric rock paintings, such as the Nachikufu Cave in the northern town of Mpika.


Most of Zambia lies on the great plateau that dominates central and southern Africa's land-mass. Although some parts of this plateau are undulating and some are relatively flat, most sections have elevations that range between 900 and 1,500 meters (2,952 and 4,921 feet). The higher areas in Zambia, namely those above 1,200 meters (3,937 feet), are situated mostly in the north.


Lake Kariba, on Zambia's southern border, is one of the largest artificial lakes in the world. It is shared by Zambia and Zimbabwe. The North Bank power station at the Kariba Dam is one of three major hydroelectric plants in Zambia (the other two are located at Victoria Falls and at Kafue Gorge). The country also has six smaller hydroelectric stations.



Burdette, Marcia. Zambia: Between Two Worlds. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1988.

Holmes, Timothy. Zambia. New York: Benchmark Books, 1998.

McIntyre, Chris. Guide to Zambia. Chalfont St. Peter: Bradt, 1999.

Naipal, Shiva. North of South: An African Journey. New York: Penguin Books, 1996.

Web Sites

Lonely Planet: Destination Zambia. (accessed April 17, 2003).

Zambia National Tourist Board. (accessed April 17, 2003).

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752,614sq km (290,586 sq mi)



capital (population):

Lusaka (1,218,200)


Multiparty republic

ethnic groups:

Bemba 36%, Maravi (Nyanja) 18%, Tonga 15%


English (official)


Christianity (Protestant 34%, Roman Catholic 26%, African Christians 8%), traditional beliefs 27%


Kwacha = 100 ngwee

Landlocked republic in s central Africa. Zambia is a landlocked country in s Africa. Most of the country consists of a highland plateau between 900m and 1500m (2950ft and 4920ft) high. The Zambezi and Luangwa river valleys are the only low-lying areas. In the ne, the Muchinga Mountains rise above the flat plateau. The highest peak, 2067m (6781ft), lies close to the Lake Tanganyika border with Tanzania. Lake Mweru lies on the border with Congo. Lake Bangweulu lies in the marshlands of Northern Province. The Zambezi forms Zambia's entire s border with Botswana and Zimbabwe. The spectacular Victoria Falls and the man-made Lake Kariba lie on its banks.

Climate and Vegetation

Although Zambia lies in the tropics, its altitude greatly moderates temperatures and humidity. The rainy season lasts from November to March. Rainfall is greatest in the n. Grassland and wooded savanna cover much of Zambia. There are also swamps. Evergreen forests exist in the drier sw.

History and Politics

In 800, Bantu-speakers migrated to the area. By the late 18th century, Zambia was part of the copper and slave trade. The Scottish explorer David Livingstone made the first European discovery of Victoria Falls in 1855. In 1890, the British South Africa Company, managed by Cecil Rhodes, made treaties with local chiefs. The area divided into nw and ne Rhodesia. Local rebellions were crushed. Intensive mining of copper and lead saw the development of the railroad in the early 1900s. In 1911, the two regions joined to form Northern Rhodesia. In 1924, Northern Rhodesia became a British Crown Colony. The discovery of more copper deposits increased European settlement and the migration of African labour. In 1946, mineworkers formed the first national mass movement. In 1953, Britain formed the federation of Rhodesia (including present-day Zambia and Zimbabwe) and Nyasaland (now Malawi). In 1963, after a nationwide campaign of civil disobedience, the federation was dissolved.

In 1964, Northern Rhodesia gainned independence within the Commonwealth of Nations as the Republic of Zambia. Kenneth Kaunda, leader of the United Nationalist Independence Party (UNIP), became Zambia's first president. Zambia faced problems of national unity, European economic dominance, and tension with the white-minority government in Rhodesia. After his re-election in 1968, Kaunda established state majority-holdings in Zambian companies. Zambia supported the imposition of sanctions on Rhodesia. In 1972, Kaunda banned all opposition parties, and won the uncontested 1973 elections. In 1990, a multiparty constitution was adopted. The Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) won a landslide victory in 1991 elections and its leader, Frederick Chiluba, became president. In 1993, Chiluba declared a state of emergency. Kaunda was exlcuded from the 1996 presidential elections, and Chiluba was resoundingly re-elected after a UNIP boycott. The government faced charges of electoral fraud. In 1997, a military coup was crushed: Kaunda was arrested and a state of emergency proclaimed. In 1998, Kaunda was freed and the state of emergency lifted. In 2001, Chiluba's attempts to change the constitution to enable him to serve a third term led to protests and a split within the MMD. In 2002, Levy Mwanawasa replaced Chiluba as president.


Zambia is the world's fifth largest producer of copper ore, which accounts for 80% of exports (2000 GDP per capita, US$880). It is also the world's second largest producer of cobalt ore. The MMD's introduction of free-market reforms led to more foreign aid and reduced the national debt. Agriculture employs 38% of the workforce. Maize is the chief food crop. Cash crops include cassava, coffee, sugar cane, and tobacco.

Political map

Physical map


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ZAMBIA. A country of southern Africa and member of the COMMONWEALTH. Languages: English (official); seven indigenous languages recognized, including Bemba, Nyanja, and Tonga. The British colony of Northern Rhodesia gained its independence as Zambia in 1964. It is one of the most urbanized of East African countries, and the mix of languages in urban areas emphasizes the need for a link language. English is used exclusively in education from the first year and is important in the media. Zambian English is one of the most divergent forms of AFRICAN ENGLISH, with a good deal of borrowing from local languages, even to the extent of adding BANTU affixes to English roots: maolanges oranges (where ma- is a plural prefix and l replaces r); cipoto a pot (where ci- is a Bemba nominal prefix); awashes he or she washes, adriver he or she drives (where a- is a subject prefix). Examples of local innovations in the use of adverbial particles are illustrated by the omission of up in I'll come to pick you at half eight, its addition in cope up with, and a reassignment in its use in I'm fed up (I'm full). Lexical innovation includes movious always on the move. Cultural influences are evidenced in the questions: How have you stayed the day? How have things gone since this morning?; How are you suffering? as a greeting to one who has suffered a misfortune. See EAST AFRICAN ENGLISH.

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Culture Name


Alternative Names

Republic of Zambia


Identification. Zambia derives its name from the Zambezi River. The river runs across the western and southern border and then forms Victoria Falls and flows into Lake Kariba and on to the Indian Ocean.

Location and Geography. In size, the country is roughly equivalent to the state of Texas, about 290,585 square miles (752,615 square kilometers). The unique butterfly-shaped boundaries are the result of the European scramble for Africa's natural resources in the early 1900s. The capital is Lusaka. Bordering neighbors are the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, and Angola.

It is a landlocked country with several large freshwater lakes, including Lake Tanganyika, Lake Mweru, Lake Bangweulu, and the largest man-made lake in Africa, Lake Kariba. The terrain consists of high plateaus, large savannas, and hilly areas; the highest altitude is in the Muchinga Mountains, at 6,000 feet (1,828 meters). The Great Rift Valley cuts through the southwest and Victoria Falls, the most visited site in Zambia, is in the South.

There are several game parks in the country; some consider Southern Luangwa to be the best game park on the continent.

Demography. The population in 2000 was estimated at 9.87 million. There exists a strong migration to urban areas where families go looking for employment. With 43 percent of the population living in cities, Zambia has the highest ratio of urban population in Africa. Those living in the rural areas face a life of mainly low-yielding subsistence farming, which contributes to the high migration.

The population is comprised primarily (97 percent) of seven main tribes and a collection of seventy-five minor tribes. There is also a small percentage of citizens from other African nations. The remaining population is of Asian, Indian, and European descent. Because of conflicts in the border countries of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Angola, there has been a large influx of refugees in recent years.

Linguistic Affiliation. English is the official language as the country was once an English colony (19241964). While many people speak English, in rural areas tribal languages are spoken, in addition to a few other vernacular languages. Each of the seventy-five tribes living in the country has its own dialects and language. The main vernacular languages are Bemba, Lozi, Luanda, Luvale, Nyanja, Tonga, and Tumbuka.

Symbolism. The background of the national flag is green, symbolic of the country's natural beauty, with three vertical stripes in the lower right corner. The three stripes are: red, symbolic of the country's struggle for freedom; black, representing the racial makeup of the majority population; and orange, symbolic of the country's copper riches and other mineral wealth. A copper-colored eagle in the upper right corner symbolizes the country's ability to rise above its problems.

Zambia is noted for its rich wildlife and landscapes, using those resources to promote tourism with the slogan, "the Real Africa." The most notable landmark is Victoria Falls, known locally as Mosi-oa-Tunya, which means "the smoke that thunders." It is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and even though it is shared with Zimbabwe, it is a source of great pride for Zambians.

For many years, the saying "Copper is king" was symbolic of the country because copper was the main contributor to the economy.

History and Ethnic Relations

Emergence of the Nation. One of the cradles of the human race is in the northern African Rift Valley, which includes modern-day Zambia. This area traces human settlement back almost three million years. In Zambia, sites in the north and south record back to sixty thousand years ago.

Tribal migrations in only the past three hundred years have determined the makeup of present-day Zambia. Between 1500 and 1800 the Lunda and Luba people traveled from the Congo and became a powerful group. The Ngoni, originally from South Africa, escaped from the Boers and Zulus and settled in Eastern Zambia around 18501870. Another powerful tribe, the Lozi, dominated western Zambia and also originated from the Congo in the late seventeenth century. By the beginning of the twentieth century, these tribal migrations had transformed the area into a complex society tied together by conflicts and trade.

In the late 1800s, Portuguese and Muslim traders moved further inland and established trade with tribes. The main items were gold, ivory, and slaves. It was also at this time that missionaries established themselves, the most famous probably being David Livingstone. He worked hard to stop the slave trade and opened the door for the British who wanted to prevent the Portuguese from occupying the land and connecting Angola to Mozambique. Livingstone died in the Bangweulu Swamps in 1873 after exploring much of the area that is now Zambia.

Livingstone's exploring was tied directly into British colonial history and "the scramble for Africa." Cecil Rhodes founded the British South Africa Company (BSAC), which wanted to connect the "Cape to Cairo." Rhodes quickly became one of the wealthiest men in southern Africa. In 1898 he was granted a charter by Queen Victoria to govern the territory then under British control. Under the belief that there were gold and minerals along the Zambezi River, he financed British expansion into these areas. The BSAC established its headquarters in the town of Livingstone.

In 1929 the British government took back control and made the area a protectorate named Northern Rhodesia. The capital was moved to Lusaka in 1935. At this time large copper and other mineral deposits (including gold) were found in the Copperbelt, a province in the north central region. The mines became the driving force for the settlement and expansion of the country as a whole. To fill jobs in the mines, Zambians came from all over the country and settled in urban areas.

In 1953 the British Colonial Office decided to unite Nyasaland (Malawi), Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), and Northern Rhodesia into the Central African Federation. There was strong opposition to the federation because a substantial amount of money was funneled out of Northern Rhodesia to support Southern Rhodesia. The struggle against the federation soon turned into one for freedom as the independence fever swept across Africa. Strikes by mine workers turned into a power base that formed the United National Independence Party (UNIP), led by Kenneth Kaunda. Civil disobedience organized by the UNIP led the British government to allow elections. The republic of Zambia gained its independence on 24 October 1964 with Kaunda as the first president.

National Identity. The people retain strong ties to their tribe or clan, but there is also a strong national identity. Zambia became a settling ground for many migrating tribes around 1500 to 1700, and those immigrants helped create a crossroads of culture in the country. These tribes have lived in harmony with each other for decades. When the first president, Kenneth Kaunda, introduced the slogan "One Zambia, One Nation," it was considered a strong symbol of the country's unified national identity.

Ethnic Relations. The seventy-five tribes that make up Zambia coexist relatively well in comparison to tribes in neighboring countries who were purposefully pitted against each other as part of the colonial governing policies. In these calculated cases, the minority tribe would usually develop primary power; this would only fuel tribal hatred. In some countries, that animosity still exists and creates major social problems.

The main tribes in Zambia are Bemba, Nagoni, Lozi, Chewa, Chokwe, Lunda, Luvale, Tonga, and Tumbuka. Most Zambians have joking relations with other tribes; the relationships go back many years. For example, a Bemba may throw verbal abuses to a Nyanja, but this is done in jest for the most part. This is an important distinction from other countries, where greater animosity exists. Zambians may consider their tribe superior to another, but there is an overall sense of unity across all groups.

Another factor in these good relations is the large urban population. The vast bush regions provide for a great deal of open land and tribes generally do not infringe on one another. In the cities, there is a strong interaction between the tribes. Some members choose to marry out of their own tribes, which strengthens the ties between the different groups. The flip side is that Zambian society has become more homogenized.

Urbanism, Architecture, and the Use of Space

There is a trend to move away from vernacular building styles and techniques to more modern or Western ways of construction. Traditionally, the type of building depended on the availability of materials. For example, basket-weaving construction can be found in homes of the eastern province, while construction using mud-covered small branches can be found in the rest of the country. Construction also depends on the tribe's customs. The Lozi in the southwest build rectangular houses, while the Chewa favor circular structures. Most of the roofs are made of poles and thatch.

A great change occurred with the influence of missionaries and European colonists. The settlers built using Western standards. The missionaries introduced the burnt brick, used to build into square structures, while the colonists built wood-frame structures with metal roofs. These proved to be quite hot, and adaptations were made, incorporating large roofs to allow for ventilation, and spacious verandas to capitalize on the breezes. Examples of colonial architecture can still be seen in Livingstone as well as some examples of Cape Dutch influence from South Africa.

When the British reigned over the countryside, they established British Overseas Management Areas (BOMAs), or small towns that were seats of government and business. Towns were laid out using a grid system. Villages were different, varying from tribe to tribe. The Chewa would form a village in a crescent-moon shape with the chief's lodging in the center. The Lozi developed large homesteads enclosed in a fence. This was for protection from warring tribes, as well as safety for the tribe's cattle.

A homestead usually consists of a main house, other houses, a social insaka, a cooking insaka, and other functional structures such as latrines or granaries. An insaka is a small roofed structure that is similar to a gazebo.

Food and Economy

Food in Daily Life. The availability of food supplies depends on season and location. The main staple is nshima, which is made of maize (corn). "Mealie meal" is dried and pounded corn to which boiling water is added. It is cooked to a consistency of thickened mashed potatoes and is served in large bowls. The diner scoops out a handful, rolls it into a ball and dips it into a relish. The preferred relish is usually a meatgoat, fish, or chickenand a vegetable, usually rape (collard greens) and tomatoes, onions, or cabbage. In rural areas, where meat is not an option on a regular basis, nshima is served with beans, vegetables, or dried fish. Mealie meal is eaten three times a day, at breakfast as a porridge and as nshima for lunch and dinner. Buns are also popular at breakfast, taken with tea.

Other foods, such as groundnuts (peanuts), sweet potatoes, and cassava, are more seasonal. Fruits are plentiful, including bananas, mangoes, paw paws, and pineapples, which come from the hilly regions.

In the cities, there are plenty of fast-food establishments or "take-aways" that serve quick Western food such as sausages, samoosas (savory-filled pastries), burgers, and chips with a Coca-Cola. There are also an increasing number of formal Western-style restaurants that are largely accessible only to the wealthy.

Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions. Food customs vary among tribes. For example, in the Bemba culture it is taboo for a bride to eat eggs because it may affect her fertility. Another Bemba tradition is to serve the newlyweds a pot of chicken whose bones are then replaced in the pot and given to the bride's mother. A Lozi tradition is to eat porridge off of a stone to bless the couple. Most ceremonies, including weddings, funerals, and initiation ceremonies, involve lots of food and traditionally brewed beer.

Basic Economy. Starting with the rural community, life is supported primarily by subsistence farming. Most villagers have a small plot of land on which they farm maize, groundnuts, cassava, millet, sweet potatoes, and other products. Some villagers organize larger fields to support the community and groups of women may grow their own crops for sale.

The eastern part of the country has a climate suitable for the growing of cotton; coffee is grown in the north. Communities near lakes focus on fishing as a major industry, selling their catch all over the country. Zambia is host to a variety of freshwater fish species, including kapenta and bream. In areas where water is scarce, cattle and other domestic animals are raised.

While industrial manufacturing is limited, many everyday products are produced in the country, such as candles, cooking oil, and matches. People in the smaller urban areas may have small shops or a stand in the local marketplace, selling produce or providing a service such as watch repair. The market is a place not only of trade but of socialization. But while some may be able to support themselves and their families on the farm or in the village, job opportunities in the larger urban areas continue to contribute to the urban migration taking place in the country.

Land Tenure and Property. There are many plots of land, both in cities and rural areas, that are owned by individuals after purchase from the government. In the villages, the chiefs own the land and give out parcels to their supporters. In this distribution, tribal customs and practices are honored. The government supports this form of distribution because the acreage to be distributed is vast and unpopulated. The government still owns most of the valuable land, specifically the mines and other mineral-rich areas.

In the large urban areas, there is a huge housing crisis. Shantytowns have been erected with no sewage and the majority lack electricity. The occupants of these areas are squatters who do not own the land but who have established their homes there and indeed, whole communities.

There are no laws preventing ownership of land by women. Very few women own land in practice primarily because of cultural and historical precedent.

Ten percent of all the land is demarcated by the government for private ownership and most of that is located in the cities. The corridors of development that do exist appear along railways and highways, which are also demarcated, usually by large farmers who want to be tied into the transportation system.

Commercial Activities. Some of the locally produced agricultural products are sold domestically, along with some household goods, cloth, and other food items. In the years of Kaunda, there was an attempt to locally make the goods needed by the country. Zambia also had an agreement with the government of the People's Republic of China, who built the Tarzara railway, connecting Zambia to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and the rest of the world. Because Zambia is landlocked, this link helped out with the limited trade that did occur. When democracy was ushered in, President Frederick Chiluba opened the Zambian doors to trade. Since that time, there has been a heavy influx of goods from England, Japan, the United States, and, primarily, South Africa, whose products have flooded the market and are very popular with Zambians.

Major Industries. The copper mines have traditionally provided for a major part of the economy. In 1996, copper accounted for 80 percent of all exports. A major portion of the mines were opened to privatization, but the government was still working to sell them off. Mines were sold because of years of mismanagement and financial corruption.

Zambia has great agricultural potential and many large-scale farms have been established. The infrastructure for the distribution of goods, though, is very poor and poses a major obstacle for economic advancement in this area.

The country does support some unique industries, such as a flourishing cement trade that exports primarily to Zambia's neighbors. Farms outside of Lusaka also export roses, and are a leading supplier to the European market.

In 1995, 70 percent of the labor force was in agriculture, 18 percent in services, and 12 percent in industry.

Trade. The main exports are copper, cobalt, zinc, tobacco, maize, and emeralds. The primary recipients are South Africa, Japan, and Saudi Arabia. The main imports are automobiles, farming equipment, chemicals and fuels, and food items, from South Africa, Japan, Europe, and the United States.

Division of Labor. Labor is primarily divided between rural and urban workforces. In urban areas, jobs obtained are related to an individual's educational levels. There is high unemployment in the cities, with better-paying jobs found in government work, large businesses, and with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). These jobs are held by people with higher education, especially those who had schooling overseas. The poor, lessertrained individuals who come to the cities may manage to earn a living by doing odd jobs or owning a small shop.

Social Stratification

Classes and Castes. Since independence came to Zambia, there has been an obvious gap between the rich and the poor. The elite have adopted a Western standard of living and in essence have created their own class. In both rural and urban societies, there are definite lines of wealth and poverty. In the village a man is considered wealthy by having a large, healthy family, as well as his material goods. In the cities, there is greater emphasis on material wealth.

The white and Asian populations have traditionally owned businesses and have done well over the years.

With the loosening of trade restraints, the gap between rich and poor has only widened. At the same time, the government is working to increase foreign investment in the country, while national priorities such as education and health care declined in importance.

Symbols of Social Stratification. Concrete blocks and tin roofsonce provided by the government for palace construction within the villagesbecame a symbol of wealth and prestige. If a family did well financially, they would attempt to copy this construction fashion.

In small cities where electricity is available, appliances such as refrigerators, stoves and especially televisions and video cassette recorders are an indication of wealth. In all communities, a vehicle is an obvious indicator of wealth and success. In the cities, foreign imports are frequent sights on the streets.

An individual's house is also a symbol of wealth and success. In the cities, large houses with pools and manicured gardens enclosed in a large fence can be found. In the villages, a family's homestead reflects wealth through the number of structures, particularly if those structures include granaries, which hold a family's maize harvest.

Political Life

Government. The first president, Kaunda, came to power in 1964. He soon banned all other political parties and established what he called "Zambian Humanism," which was loosely based on socialist ideas. The country faired well because of the price of copper. Because of economic hardships and pressure from foreign countries, Kaunda eventually allowed for multiparty elections. Chiluba was the second president, winning the elections under the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD). He encouraged open trade relations which led to increased economic activity. With the new elections, a declaration of independence was created that included a bill of rights for every citizen.

A president is elected for five years and cannot serve more than two terms. In 1996 the country was criticized for holding unfair elections.

The legal system is modeled after English common law and customary law. The judicial branch includes a supreme court with justices appointed by the president. The vice president is also appointed by the president.

Leadership and Political Officials. Government jobs are highly coveted because of the pay and other associated benefits that might include cars, houses, and even travel. Political power, as in other governments, is related to loyalty to the presidential administration and shifts in that power do occur.

In rural areas, political control is directed by the village chiefs or chieftainesses. Some of these rural rulers have immense power, wealth, and influence while others do not. Traditionally, the chiefs and chieftainesses ruled vast amounts of land and people. They held great power, and the British, while in control of the country, allowed for local rule in remote areas. This political structure is still in place today.

Social Problems and Control. AIDS is a major concern not only for sub-Saharan Africa but especially in Zambia, where the caseload is particularly high. The disease has led to a huge orphan crisis, creating an overburden on an already stressed medical system. Efforts to combat this disease are being made, but resources are scarce.

Refugees from warring neighboring countries also have had an impact on the government's ability to deliver human services. In 2000, government-sponsored camps held 200,000 refugees (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees figure) from the wars in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in Angola.

Crime is a growing problem for the country, with violent robberies and car-jacking incidents not uncommon. In villages and sometimes urban areas, a thief may find himself the victim of an angry crowd if he is unlucky enough to be caught before the official police show up. Government corruption is another problem that is crippling the country at all levels. From bribes to payoffs at a local roadblock, corruption exists. The misdirection of government funds affects everyday life when the money intended for social problems does not reach its intended use.

Military Activity. The military consists of an army and an air force but both branches suffer from inadequate funding and equipment shortages. In recent history, the troops have been used primarily for United Nations missions to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and to Angola.

There have been no major wars fought on Zambian soil. Kaunda supported Zimbabwe's fight for independence and Southern Rhodesia attacked camps in Zambia in 1978 and 1979.

In 1997, a minority faction of the military attempted a coup, but the result of that effort was a state of emergency which lasted six months.

President Chiluba traditionally has taken an active role in arranging peace talks for local conflicts as well as more international negotiations such as the Angolan conflict resolution. Zambian officials have also tried to help resolve the continuing political conflicts in the Congo.

Social Welfare and Change Programs

Once independence was achieved, copper prices made Zambia one of the wealthiest countries in Africa, which helped fund many of the subsidized government programs and products. But when copper prices dropped dramatically in the early 1970s, that income source of the government decreased and the subsidies were no longer available. With the government unable to assist, foreign aid was encouraged and some areas became dependent on that foreign support. Zambia became heavily indebted to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. It was pressure from these organizations that forced Kaunda to allow democratic elections.

Nongovernmental Organizations and Other Associations

Numerous nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), from various foreign countries and religious groups operate programs in Zambia. The stated goal of these organizations is to provide aid both on a large scale and at the grassroots level. One of the largest recent projects in Zambia has been a road improvement program, since transportation problems in the country are a major issue. Examples of NGOs operating in Zambia include: World Vision, Habitat for Humanity, and the International Red Cross.

Gender Roles and Statuses

Division of Labor by Gender. Both men and women work hard for basic survival. Traditionally, women have had the role of caring for the household, but in recent times, especially in cities, women work in offices, sell vegetables, and hold numerous other positions, including positions in the military. In the village, a woman's day starts out with sweeping and cleaning, followed by the collection of water, often from long distances. The washing of clothes and the preparation of meals are also done by women. The primary responsibility for children too, falls to women, although older siblings are expected to help out with these chores.

Both women and men work long hours in the fields, although the task is largely considered men's work. The men traditionally do the fishing, hunting, and raising of livestock, but also are known to socialize more with neighbors, family, and friends. Women tend to socialize when they are doing chores.

The Relative Status of Women and Men. Men have most of the power. There has been an effort to gain greater influence for women's rights, but it is difficult to incorporate programs that change traditional beliefs. Women's groups work together in sewing or farming a small vegetable plot. This gives the women some financial gain and a voice in the family's money matters. It is also a source of pride and belonging.

Marriage, Family, and Kinship

Marriage. Traditionally, people would marry within their tribe, rarely going outside that circle to find a mate, but marriage within a clan group is considered taboo. Tribal customs vary but there usually is a mediator who serves as a go-between for a man and his desired bride. The man and his negotiator will meet with a prospective bride's family and in addition to getting to know each other, start negotiations for a lobola (dowry). This lobola traditionally involves cattle or other livestock, but in modern times money settlements have been accepted. The lobola is considered a compensation to the family for the lost services of the woman.

Christian weddings are very common even in villages, although traditional religious customs are still practiced in both cities and rural areas, with variations from tribe to tribe. A Bemba custom calls for the man to live with his bride's parents for a period, to prove his ability to take care of his wife.

Domestic Unit. The main domestic structure is the extended family, common throughout Africa. The system grew out of a need to help family members in times of trouble. For example, if a family had a year of bad crops, their relatives would be expected to provide assistance. If a mother and father died, their children would be cared for by relatives.

Inheritance. The issue of inheritance is handled differently throughout the country, reflecting the different customs of the numerous tribes. Traditional methods call for disputes to be settled within the clan or at the next level, which is the chief. In disputes involving men and women, the clans traditionally favor the male's position. In urban areas, the courts resolve these disputes. The Goba tribe has what is called dihwe, a council to settle problems of succession and inheritance if a prominent member of the household dies. Many Zambians, especially in cities, now create a will and last testament.

Kin Groups. As in most areas of Africa, clans are an important factor in Zambia society. Clans provide another way to identify one's self, in addition to tribal connections. Similar to an extended family, one is expected to assist another clan member whenever needed; it is considered part of one's social duty and identity. These kin groups are traditionally named after animals or natural features, such as crocodiles, elephants, or rain.


Infant Care. Because many families have a large number of children and since many parents work, both in rural and urban communities, a number of children are raised by their siblings. It is not uncommon in the village to see a baby being carried around by children as young as five years old.

Shitangas, which are large pieces of cloth, wrapped around the baby and the mother, allow the mother to carry the baby on her back with the baby's head peering just over her shoulder. Mothers often conduct hard labor, such as carrying water or working in the fields, while carrying an infant.

Child Rearing and Education. It is difficult for families, both rural and urban, to afford fees charged for attending school. In villages, schools are often hampered by out-of-date textbooks and buildings in terrible disrepair. There is usually an inadequate number of teachers, which forces a class schedule of only a half-day. When not in school, children are expected to be at home, helping with chores or working the fields.

Most tribes have an initiation ceremony for both boys and girls to mark an individual's entry into adulthood and official acceptance into the village. These are large events, lasting for days and celebrated with dance, food, and singing. Both male and female ceremonies involve many rituals that teach them about customs, sex, and the responsibilities of being an adult. It is usually right after these ceremonies that marriage takes place.

Higher Education. After primary school (grades one to seven), some Zambians proceed to secondary school, or grades eight to twelve. Since secondary school fees are even higher than primary school fees, some children are unable to attend. In addition to the secondary schools, the country has several boarding schools with even higher fees, but the results are a better-funded educational system. Educational resources are hard to come by and many rural schools simply must do with what they have.

After secondary school, students have limited options for furthering their formal education. There are numerous trade colleges specializing in technical programs, such as machinery, plumbing, construction, and sewing. More recently, computer programs are being offered, but these, as with other programs, specialize in basic skills for the trade fields. There also are teaching colleges that supply professionals for the Zambian school system. There are two universities: the University of Zambia in Lusaka, which specializes in liberal arts degrees, including law and business, and the Copperbelt University, in Kitwe, which offers degrees in technical subjects, such as mining, engineering, and architecture.

There have been several demonstrations by students, protesting the government's cutbacks on subsidies for school and living expenses.

In years past, these universities were well funded by the government, but deterioration has increased sharply. There is limited funding for basic things such as modern textbooks, computers, and basic building maintenance. Many Zambians choose to pursue an education out of the country and while some can afford the cost, others hope for scholarships from foreign countries, especially the United Kingdom, which has been very generous in the past. There is a concern that as many of the country's smarter students seek an education outside of the country, they will not return, opting instead to work overseas for more pay and a better standard of life.


Greetings are very important. One greets another by saying "hello" and "how are you?" Then come inquiries into one's family, the crops or the weather. It is rude to come directly to the point; conversations may go on for several minutes before the point of the conversation is broached.

There is hand etiquette as well. The right hand is for eatingwhich is traditionally done without utensilsgreetings, and exchanges of money. It is impolite to use your left hand when interacting with another person. Washing of one's hands before eating is very common, with a bowl of water passed around as one sits at the table. The guests are given the honor of going first.

Proverbs are an important part of Zambian society. They are part of the oral tradition and have become catchphrases in which a lesson is taught. For example a Kaunde proverb is "Bubela bubwel," which translates to "lies return." This is a proverb used to warn against gossip and telling lies because it can make you look foolish later.

Another important aspect of Zambian culture is respect for elders. When greeting an elder, one shows respect by dropping to one knee, bowing the head, clapping three times, and saying one of the many terms that signify respect.


Religious Beliefs. The influence of Christian missionaries is evident. An estimated 53 percent of the population considers themselves Catholic. The country's official religion has been Catholicism since 1993 when President Chiluba officially declared it so. There are other religions, including a large Muslim population primarily in Eastern Province. This is a result of the immigration of Arabs from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, largely due to the slave trade. There are Hindus, Jews, and Pentecostals, who, combined, comprise only 1 percent of the population. Animism is practiced by a large amount of the population, even if they are Catholic, Seventh Day Adventists, or practitioners of another religion. Animism beliefs vary from tribe to tribe, but most are based on beliefs in the power of ancestors and in nature. Some people call this witchcraft and indeed such terms as "wizards" and "witches" are used. Many areas believe that crocodiles have strong powers.

Religious Practitioners. Missionaries have a long history in the country although for many years there have been Zambian priests, especially in cities. A mission will periodically send a priest into the bush country for services and other religious duties.

There is a recognition of witch doctors, who use traditional medicines made from roots or plants, and every rural area has access to a traditional healer.

Rituals and Holy Places. The major holy places are the many waterfalls, where people believe certain spirits live. Traditional healers will often go into the woods or bush to contact spirits.

The various tribes have many rituals. For example, the Litunga tribe performs a ceremony that is called Kuomboka. This signifies the tribe's movement in the rainy season from the floodplains to higher ground. Hundreds of canoes travel down the river with the chief leading the way. Umutomboko is performed once a year by the Kazembe Bemba and is a ceremonial reenactment of a migration that took place in the early 1800s. Much dancing culminates with the chief's dance.

Death and the Afterlife. Funerals are a major event, with family members coming from great distances to attend. A funeral may last for many days, with the men outside drinking and talking, and women inside, wailing. The delay gives people traveling from long distances time to arrive. After a period, the group will proceed to a graveyard where services, usually Christian, will be held. Unfortunately, funerals have become an everyday occurrence due to the high death rate associated with AIDS and other illnesses.

There are separate ceremonies for the burial of village chiefs, along with their ancestors. A Bemba tradition is that if a paramount chief dies, his body will not be buried for a week but is protected because a clipping of his hair or a fingernail could be a very powerful item in traditional religions.

Traditional religions also have their specific beliefs on death and afterlife.

Medicine and Health Care

Under President Kaunda, the government provided basic health coverage for everyone, including those in rural areas. That, however, was when Zambia was a wealthy country and could afford to do so. Government hospitals have deteriorated significantly in the past few years with major problems of understaffing and increasing numbers of sick patients. Because of limited funding, even hospital maintenance has suffered. Medicines, particularly those for AIDS patients, are in high demand, and funding is inadequate; the situation is worse in the rural areas. The major health problems are AIDS, TB, malaria, and malnutrition.

Much of the support from NGOs and foreign governments comes in the form of medical assistance such as medicines, equipment, and personnel. There is a strong government immunization program for children in very rural areas, with traveling clinics for those five years or younger, where routine immunization shots and basic health care are distributed.

Secular Celebrations

Holidays officially celebrated by the government include: New Year's Day (1 January), Labor Day (1 May), African Freedom Day (21 May), Unity Day (in July), Heroes Day (in July), Youth Day (9 August), and Independence Day (21 October). Government offices and banks are closed on these days and there often are planned celebrations in the larger cities, including parades or festivals. Residents of the cities traditionally return to their clans for these times of celebrations.

The Arts and Humanities

Support for the Arts. Most of the support for the country's art programs comes from tourists or NGOs. Zambians produce beautifully carved pieces for the tourist trade with a sale expected to bring in quite a bit of money for a household. Basket weaving in Zambia is generally considered the best in Africa, with many different materials and styles used. The baskets are typically made out of grass reeds and are used for containers.

Literature. There are few published Zambian authors, largely because of the high illiteracy rate. Another factor is the high cost of books. The books that are written are usually stories of independence or on topics related to life in the city or the village.

Graphic Arts. At one time, a large textile industry existed in the country, owned and operated by the government. The main product was brilliantly colored dyed fabrics in many patterns. This fabric was used for clothing, particularly chitenges, which are strips of cloth. These are worn as skirts, wrapped about the bodies of women and especially popular in villages. In the 1990s, the importance of saulas, or secondhand clothing, increased, with donations from Western countries and church organizationsthus decreasing the need for new textiles.

Performance Arts. Drum and dance troupes are popular. Many of these are for the benefit of tourists and perform in major cities, since the smaller cities do not have the facilities or money to support the arts. These dances are very lively and use the traditional instruments of drums, an instrument similar to a xylophone, and a thumb piano.

Bands are also popular in urban settings. The most popular sound is rumba music from the Congo, but there is an appreciation of the traditional tribal songs and sounds. In village settings, the basics prevail. In most cases, not even an instrument is used; instead, traditional songs are sung and clapped while sitting around a community fire. The passing on of beliefs and customs in oral performances are still practiced. This is a very important part of tribal culture and preserves a tribe's identity and beliefs.


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Jon Sojkowski

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Zambia, previously known as Northern Rhodesia, is a republic within the Commonwealth and has a population of nearly 9 million. Livingstone visited the Victoria Falls in 1855. The region subsequently came under the control of Rhodes's British South Africa Company, until in 1924 it was made a British protectorate. It has zinc, lead, and coal, but the main mineral resource is copper. In 1953 it was joined with Nyasaland and Southern Rhodesia to form the Central African Federation, but this was dissolved in 1963. It became independent in 1964 with Kenneth Kaunda as first president. The capital, Lusaka, has nearly 1 million people.

J. A. Cannon

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The people of Zambia are called Zambians. Seventy ethnic groups live in Zambia, including the Bemba (37 percent) and Tonga (19 percent). Also living in Zambia are a small number of Asians, mainly migrants from the Indian subcontinent, people of mixed race, and Europeans, mainly of English descent.

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ZambiaGambia, Zambia •Arabia, labia, SwabiaLibya, Namibia, tibia •euphorbia •agoraphobia, claustrophobia, homophobia, hydrophobia, phobia, technophobia, xenophobia, Zenobia •Nubia • rootbeer • cumbia •Colombia, Columbia •exurbia, Serbia, suburbia •Wiltshire • Flintshire •gaillardia, Nadia, tachycardia •steadier • compendia •Acadia, Arcadia, nadir, stadia •reindeer •acedia, encyclopedia, media, multimedia •Lydia, Numidia •India • belvedere • Claudia •Cambodia, odea, plasmodia, podia, roe-deer •Mafia, raffia, tafia •Philadelphia • hemisphere •planisphere • Montgolfier • Sofia •ecosphere • biosphere • atmosphere •thermosphere • ionosphere •stratosphere • headgear • switchgear •logia • nemesia • menhir

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