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The territory of Northern Rhodesia was administered by the [British] South Africa Company from 1891 until it was taken over by the UK in 1923. During the 1920s and 1930s, advances in mining spurred development and immigration. The name was changed to Zambia upon independence in 1964. In the 1980s and 1990s, declining copper prices and a prolonged drought hurt the economy. Elections in 1991 brought an end to one-party rule, but the subsequent vote in 1996 saw blatant harassment of opposition parties. The election in 2001 was marked by administrative problems with three parties filing a legal petition challenging the election of ruling party candidate Levy MWANAWASA. The new president launched an anti-corruption campaign in 2002, which resulted in the prosecution of former President Frederick CHILUBA and some officials of his administration.


Southern Africa, east of Angola

Geographic coordinates:

15 00 S, 30 00 E


total: 752,614 sq km
land: 740,724 sq km
water: 11,890 sq km

Land boundaries:

total: 5,664 km
border countries: Angola 1,110 km, Democratic Republic of the Congo 1,930 km, Malawi 837 km, Mozambique 419 km, Namibia 233 km, Tanzania 338 km, Zimbabwe 797 km


0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims:

none (landlocked)


tropical; modified by altitude; rainy season (October to April)


mostly high plateau with some hills and mountains

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Zambezi river 329 m
highest point: unnamed location in Mafinga Hills 2,301 m

Natural resources:

copper, cobalt, zinc, lead, coal, emeralds, gold, silver, uranium, hydropower

Land use:

arable land: 6.99%
permanent crops: 0.04%
other: 92.97% (2005)

Irrigated land:

1,560 sq km (2003)

Natural hazards:

periodic drought, tropical storms (November to April)

Environment - current issues:

air pollution and resulting acid rain in the mineral extraction and refining region; chemical runoff into watersheds; poaching seriously threatens rhinoceros, elephant, antelope, and large cat populations; deforestation; soil erosion; desertification; lack of adequate water treatment presents human health risks

Geography - note:

landlocked; the Zambezi forms a natural riverine boundary with Zimbabwe


note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2006 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 46.3% (male 2,673,891/female 2,656,268)
15-64 years: 51.3% (male 2,925,910/female 2,969,324)
65 years and over: 2.4% (male 117,877/female 158,740) (2006 est.)

Median age:

total: 16.5 years
male: 16.3 years
female: 16.7 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate:

2.11% (2006 est.)

Birth rate:

41 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate:

19.93 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate:

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.74 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 86.84 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 94.08 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 79.37 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 40.03 years
male: 39.76 years
female: 40.31 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate:

5.39 children born/woman (2006 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

16.5% (2003 est.)

people living with HIV/AIDS:

920,000 (2003 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

89,000 (2003 est.)

Major infectious diseases:

degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria and plague are high risks in some locations
water contact disease: schistosomiasis (2005)


noun: Zambian(s)
adjective: Zambian

Ethnic groups:

African 98.7%, European 1.1%, other 0.2%


Christian 50%-75%, Muslim and Hindu 24%-49%, indigenous beliefs 1%


English (official), major vernaculars - Bemba, Kaonda, Lozi, Lunda, Luvale, Nyanja, Tonga, and about 70 other indigenous languages


definition: age 15 and over can read and write English
total population: 80.6%
male: 86.8%
female: 74.8% (2003 est.)

Country name:

conventional long form: Republic of Zambia
conventional short form: Zambia
former: Northern Rhodesia

Government type:




Administrative divisions:

9 provinces; Central, Copperbelt, Eastern, Luapula, Lusaka, Northern, North-Western, Southern, Western


24 October 1964 (from UK)

National holiday:

Independence Day, 24 October (1964)


24 August 1991

Legal system:

based on English common law and customary law; judicial review of legislative acts in an ad hoc constitutional council; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction


18 years of age; universal

Legislative branch:

unicameral National Assembly (150 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 27 December 2001 (next to be held December 2006)
election results: percent of vote by party - MMD 45.9%, UPND 32.4%, UNIP 8.8%, FDD 8.1%, HP 2.7%, PF 0.7%, ZRP 0.7%, independents 0.7%; seats by party - MMD 68, UPND 48, UNIP 13, FDD 12, HP 4, PF 1, ZRP 1, independents 1; seats not determined 2

Judicial branch:

Supreme Court (the final court of appeal; justices are appointed by the president); High Court (has unlimited jurisdiction to hear civil and criminal cases)

Economy - overview:

Despite progress in privatization and budgetary reform, Zambia's economic growth remains somewhat below the 6%-7% needed to reduce poverty significantly. Privatization of government-owned copper mines relieved the government from covering mammoth losses generated by the industry and greatly improved the chances for copper mining to return to profitability and spur economic growth. Copper output has increased steadily since 2004, due to higher copper prices and the opening of new mines. The maize harvest was again good in 2005, helping boost GDP and agricultural exports. Cooperation continues with international bodies on programs to reduce poverty, including a new lending arrangement with the IMF in the second quarter of 2004. A tighter monetary policy will help cut inflation, but Zambia still has a serious problem with high public debt.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$10.23 billion (2005 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):

$5.521 billion (2005 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

5% (2005 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$900 (2005 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 21.7%
industry: 29.5%
services: 48.8% (2005 est.)

Labor force:

4.8 million (2005 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 85%
industry: 6%
services: 9%

Unemployment rate:

50% (2000 est.)

Population below poverty line:

86% (1993)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 1.1%
highest 10%: 41% (1998)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:

52.6 (1998)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

19% (2005 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):

25.9% of GDP (2005 est.)


revenues: $1.688 billion
expenditures: $1.866 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2005 est.)

Public debt:

104.2% of GDP (2005 est.)

Agriculture - products:

corn, sorghum, rice, peanuts, sunflower seed, vegetables, flowers, tobacco, cotton, sugarcane, cassava (tapioca), coffee; cattle, goats, pigs, poultry, milk, eggs, hides


copper mining and processing, construction, foodstuffs, beverages, chemicals, textiles, fertilizer, horticulture

Industrial production growth rate:

9.8% (2005 est.)

Electricity - production:

8.347 billion kWh (2003)

Electricity - consumption:

5.345 billion kWh (2003)

Electricity - exports:

2 billion kWh (2003)

Oil - production:

130.2 bbl/day (2003 est.)

Oil - consumption:

12,250 bbl/day (2003 est.)

Current account balance:

-$327 million (2005 est.)


$1.947 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Exports - commodities:

copper/cobalt 64%, cobalt, electricity; tobacco, flowers, cotton

Exports - partners:

South Africa 25.6%, UK 17%, Switzerland 16%, Tanzania 7.4%, Democratic Republic of the Congo 7%, Zimbabwe 5.8% (2004)


$1.934 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Imports - commodities:

machinery, transportation equipment, petroleum products, electricity, fertilizer; foodstuffs, clothing

Imports - partners:

South Africa 46.2%, UK 14.2%, UAE 7.1%, Zimbabwe 6% (2004)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$500 million (2005 est.)

Debt - external:

$5.866 billion (2005 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:

$640.6 million (2002)

Currency (code):

Zambian kwacha (ZMK)

Fiscal year:

calendar year

Telephones - main lines in use:

88,400 (2003)

Telephones - mobile cellular:

300,000 (2004)

Telephone system:

general assessment: facilities are aging but still among the best in Sub-Saharan Africa
domestic: high-capacity microwave radio relay connects most larger towns and cities; several cellular telephone services in operation; Internet service is widely available; very small aperture terminal (VSAT) networks are operated by private firms
international: country code - 260; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean and 1 Atlantic Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations:

AM 19, FM 5, shortwave 4 (2001)

Television broadcast stations:

9 (2002)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

2,789 (2005)

Internet users:

231,000 (2005)


109 (2005)

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 10
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2005)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 99
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 62
under 914 m: 32 (2005)


oil 771 km (2004)


total: 2,173 km
narrow gauge: 2,173 km 1.067-m gauge
note: includes 891 km of the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) (2004)


total: 91,440 km
paved: 20,117 km
unpaved: 71,323 km (2001)


2,250 km (includes Lake Tanganyika and the Zambezi and Luapula rivers) (2005)

Ports and terminals:


Military branches:

Zambian National Defense Force (ZNDF): Army, Air Force, Police, National Service

Disputes - international:

in 2004 Zimbabwe dropped objections to plans between Botswana and Zambia to build a bridge over the Zambezi River, thereby de facto recognizing a short, but not clearly delimited, Botswana-Zambia boundary in the river

Refugees and internally displaced persons:

refugees (country of origin): 88,842 (Angola) 66,248 (Democratic Republic of the Congo) 5,791 (Rwanda) (2005)

Illicit drugs:

transshipment point for moderate amounts of methaqualone, small amounts of heroin, and cocaine bound for Southern Africa and possibly Europe; a poorly developed financial infrastructure coupled with a government commitment to combating money laundering make it an unattractive venue for money launderers