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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, economic mismanagement 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 anticorruption investigation in 2002 to probe high-level corruption during the previous... See More



 Southern Africa, east of Angola, south of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Geographic Coordinates:

 15 00 S, 30 00 E


 Total: 752,618 sq km
Land: 743,398 sq km
Water: 9,220 sq km

Area - Comparative:

 Slightly larger than Texas

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) (Rank: 246)

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 elevation 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 (2008)

Total Renewable Water Resources:

 105.2 cu km (2001)

Freshwater Withdrawal:

 Total: 1.74 cu km/yr (17%/7%/76%)
Per capita: 149 cu m/yr (2000)

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

Environment - International Agreements:

 Party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands

Signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - Note:

 Landlocked; the Zambezi forms a natural riverine boundary with Zimbabwe

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 Noun: Zambian(s)
Adjective: Zambian

Ethnic Groups:

 African 99.5% (includes Bemba, Tonga, Chewa, Lozi, Nsenga, Tumbuka, Ngoni, Lala, Kaonde, Lunda, and other African groups), other 0.5% (includes Europeans, Asians, and Americans) (2000 Census)


 Bemba (official) 30.1%, Nyanja (official) 10.7%, Tonga (official) 10.6%, Lozi (official) 5.7%, Chewa 4.9%, Nsenga 3.4%, Tumbuka 2.5%, Lunda (official) 2.2%, Kaonde (official) 2%, Lala 2%, Luvale (official) 1.7%, English (official) 1.7%, other 22.5% (2000 Census)


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


 13,881,336 (July 2011 est.)

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, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected

Age Structure:

 0-14 years: 46.7% (male 3,253,125/female 3,228,844)
15-64 years: 50.8% (male 3,544,640/female 3,508,344)
65 years and over: 2.5% (male 148,531/female 197,852) (2011 est.)

Median Age:

 Total: 16.5 years
Male: 16.5 years
Female: 16.6 years (2011 est.)

Population Growth Rate:

 3.062% (2011 est.)

Birth Rate:

 44.08 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)

Death Rate:

 12.61 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)

Net Migration Rate:

 -0.84 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)


 Urban population: 36% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization: 3.2% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major Cities - Population:

 LUSAKA (capital) 1.413 million (2009)

Sex Ratio:

 At birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.68 male(s)/female
Total population: 1 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Maternal Mortality Rate:

 470 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)

Infant Mortality Rate:

 Total: 66.6 deaths/1,000 live births
Male: 71.27 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 61.78 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)

Life Expectancy At Birth:

 Total population: 52.36 years
Male: 51.13 years
Female: 53.63 years (2011 est.)

Total Fertility Rate:

 5.98 children born/woman (2011 est.)

Health Expenditures:

 4.8% of GDP (2009)

Physicians Density:

 0.055 physicians/1,000 population (2006)

Hospital Bed Density:

 1.9 beds/1,000 population (2008)

Drinking Water Source:

 Urban: 87% of population
Rural: 46% of population
Total: 60% of population
Urban: 13% of population
Rural: 54% of population
Total: 40% of population (2008)

Sanitation Facility Access:

 Urban: 59% of population
Rural: 43% of population
Total: 49% of population
Urban: 41% of population
Rural: 47% of population
Total: 51% of population (2008)

HIV/AIDS - Adult Prevalence Rate:

 13.5% (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - People Living With HIV/AIDS:

 980,000 (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - Deaths:

 45,000 (2009 est.)

Major Infectious Diseases:

 Degree of risk: very high
Food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
Vectorborne diseases: malaria and plague are high risks in some locations
Water contact disease: schistosomiasis
Animal contact disease: rabies (2009)

Children Under 5 - Underweight:

 14.9% (2007)

Education Expenditures:

 1.3% of GDP (2008)


 Definition: age 15 and over can read and write English
Total population: 80.6%
Male: 86.8%
Female: 74.8% (2003 est.)

Average Years of Schooling:

 Total: 7 years
Male: 8 years
Female: 7 years (2000)

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Country Name:

 Conventional long form: Republic of Zambia
Conventional short form: Zambia
Former: Northern Rhodesia

Government Type:



 Name: Lusaka
Geographic coordinates: 15 25 S, 28 17 E
Time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative Divisions:

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


 24 October 1964 (from the UK)

National Holiday:

 Independence Day, 24 October (1964)


 24 August 1991; amended in 1996 to establish presidential term limits

Legal System:

 Mixed legal system of English common law and customary law; judicial review of legislative acts in an ad hoc constitutional council

International Law Organization Participation:

 Has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


 18 years of age; universal

Executive Branch:

 Chief of state: President Michael Chilufya SATA (since 23 September 2011); Vice President Guy SCOTT (since 30 September 2011); the president is both the chief of state and head of government

Head of government: President Michael Chilufya SATA (since 23 September 2011); Vice President Guy SCOTT (since 30 September 2011)

Cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president from among the members of the National Assembly

Elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 20 September 2011 (next to be held in 2016); vice president appointed by the president

Election results: Michael Chilufya SATA elected president; percent of vote - Michael SATA 43.3%, Rupiah BANDA 36.2%, Hakainde HICHILEMA 18.5%, other 2.0%

Legislative Branch:

 Unicameral National Assembly (158 seats; 150 members are elected by popular vote, 8 members appointed by the president, to serve five-year terms)

Elections: last held on 20 September 2011 (next to be held in 2016)

Election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PF 60, MMD 55, UPND 28, ADD 1, FDD 1, independents 3; 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)

Political Parties and Leaders:

 Alliance for Democracy and Development or ADD [Charles MILUPI]; Forum for Democracy and Development or FDD [Edith NAWAKWI]; Heritage Party or HP [Godfrey MIYANDA]; Movement for Multiparty Democracy or MMD [Rupiah BANDA]; National Restoration Party or NAREP [Elias CHIPIMO]; Party of Unity for Democracy and Development or PUDD [Dan PULE]; Patriotic Front or PF [Michael SATA]; Reform Party [Nevers MUMBA]; United Democratic Alliance or UDA (a coalition of RP, ZADECO, PUDD, and ZRP); United Liberal Party or ULP [Sakwiba SIKOTA]; United National Independence Party or UNIP [Tilyenji KAUNDA]; United Party for National Development or UPND [Hakainde HICHILEMA]; Zambia Democratic Congress or ZADECO [Langton SICHONE]; Zambian Republican Party or ZRP [Benjamin MWILA]

International Organization Participation:


Diplomatic Representation in the US:

 Chief of mission: Ambassador Sheila Z. SIWELA
Chancery: 2419 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
Telephone: [1] (202) 265-9717 through 9719
FAX: [1] (202) 332-0826

Diplomatic Representation From the US:

 Chief of mission: Ambassador Mark C. STORELLA
Embassy: corner of Independence and United Nations Avenues, Lusaka
Mailing address: P. O. Box 31617, Lusaka
Telephone: [260] (211) 357-000
FAX: [260] (211) 357-224

Flag Description:

 Green field with a panel of three vertical bands of red (hoist side), black, and orange below a soaring orange eagle, on the outer edge of the flag; green stands for the country's natural resources and vegetation, red symbolizes the struggle for freedom, black the people of Zambia, and orange the country's mineral wealth; the eagle represents the people's ability to rise above the nation's problems

National Symbols:

 African fish eagle

National Anthem:

 Name: "Lumbanyeni Zambia" (Stand and Sing of Zambia, Proud and Free)
Lyrics/music: multiple/Enoch Mankayi SONTONGA

Note: adopted 1964; the melody, from the popular song "God Bless Africa," is the same as that of Tanzania but with different lyrics; the melody is also incorporated into South Africa's anthem

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Economy - Overview:

 Zambia's economy has experienced strong growth in recent years, with real GDP growth in 2005-10 about 6% per year. Privatization of government-owned copper mines in the 1990s relieved the government from covering mammoth losses generated by the industry and greatly increased copper mining output and profitability to spur economic growth. Copper output has increased steadily since 2004, due to higher copper prices and foreign investment. In 2005, Zambia qualified for debt relief under the Highly Indebted Poor Country Initiative, consisting of approximately USD 6 billion in debt relief. Poverty remains a significant problem in Zambia, despite a stronger economy. Zambia's dependency on copper makes it vulnerable to depressed commodity prices, but record high copper prices and a bumper maize crop in 2010 helped Zambia rebound quickly from the world economic slowdown that began in 2008. A high birth rate, relatively high HIV/AIDS burden, and market distorting agricultural policies have meant that Zambia's economic growth has not dramatically decreased the stubbornly high poverty rates.

GDP (Purchasing Power Parity):

 $20.04 billion (2010 est.)
$18.63 billion (2009 est.)
$17.5 billion (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (Official Exchange Rate):

 $16.19 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - Real Growth Rate:

 7.6% (2010 est.)
6.4% (2009 est.)
5.7% (2008 est.)

GDP - Per Capita (PPP):

 $1,500 (2010 est.)
$1,400 (2009 est.)
$1,400 (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - Composition By Sector:

 Agriculture: 21.5%
Industry: 34.5%
Services: 44.1% (2010 est.)

Labor Force:

 5.46 million (2010 est.)

Labor Force - By Occupation:

 Agriculture: 85%
Industry: 6%
Services: 9% (2004)

Unemployment Rate:

 14% (2006 est.)
50% (2000 est.)

Population Below Poverty Line:

 64% (2006)

Household Income / Consumption By Share:

 Lowest 10%: 1.2%
Highest 10%: 38.8% (2004)

Distribution of Family Income - Gini Index:

 50.8 (2004)
52.6 (1998)

Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons:

 Refugees (country of origin): 42,565 (Angola); 60,874 (Democratic Republic of the Congo); 4,100 (Rwanda) (2007)

Investment (Gross Fixed):

 20.7% of GDP (2010 est.)


 Revenues: $3.217 billion
Expenditures: $3.76 billion (2010 est.)

Taxes and Other Revenues:

 19.9% of GDP (2010 est.)

Budget Surplus / Deficit:

 -3.3% of GDP (2010 est.)

Public Debt:

 26.7% of GDP (2010 est.)
26% of GDP (2009 est.)

Inflation Rate (Consumer Prices):

 8.5% (2010 est.)
13.4% (2009 est.)

Central Bank Discount Rate:

 8.39% (31 December 2009)
14.49% (31 December 2008)

Commercial Bank Prime Lending Rate:

 20.92% (31 December 2010 est.)
22.06% (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Money:

 $1.034 billion (31 December 2008)
$995.8 million (31 December 2007)

Stock of Quasi Money:

 $1.618 billion (31 December 2008)
$1.709 billion (31 December 2007)

Stock of Narrow Money:

 $1.455 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$1.069 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Broad Money:

 $3.77 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$2.983 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Domestic Credit:

 $3.061 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$2.581 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Market Value of Publicly Traded Shares:

 $2.817 billion (31 December 2010)
$2.346 billion (31 December 2007)
$1.186 billion (31 December 2006)

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:

 11.2% (2010 est.)

Electricity - Production:

 9.597 billion kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - Production By Source:

 Fossil fuel: 0.5%
Hydro: 99.5%
Nuclear: 0%
Other: 0% (2001)

Electricity - Consumption:

 7.614 billion kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - Exports:

 96 million kWh (2008)

Electricity - Imports:

 279 million kWh (2008 est.)

Oil - Production:

 190 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Consumption:

 16,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Exports:

 360 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Imports:

 17,570 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Proven Reserves:

 0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

Natural Gas - Production:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Consumption:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Exports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Imports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Proven Reserves:

 0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Current Account Balance:

 $464.6 million (2010 est.)
-$404 million (2009 est.)


 $7.251 billion (2010 est.)
$4.319 billion (2009 est.)

Exports - Commodities:

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

Exports - Partners:

 Switzerland 51.3%, China 20.3%, South Africa 9.2%, Democratic Republic of the Congo 4.6% (2010)


 $4.71 billion (2010 est.)
$3.413 billion (2009 est.)

Imports - Commodities:

 Machinery, transportation equipment, petroleum products, electricity, fertilizer, foodstuffs, clothing

Imports - Partners:

 South Africa 35%, Democratic Republic of the Congo 23.5%, Kuwait 8.9%, China 5.6% (2010)

Reserves of Foreign Exchange and Gold:

 $2.094 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$1.892 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Debt - External:

 $3.461 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$3.049 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Exchange Rates:

 Convert Zambian Kwacha to Any Currency

Zambian kwacha (ZMK) per US dollar -
4,823.6 (2010)
5,046.1 (2009)
3,512.9 (2008)
3,990.2 (2007)
3,601.5 (2006)

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Telephones - Main Lines In Use:

 90,100 (2010)

Telephones - Cellular:

 4.947 million (2010)

Telephone System:

 General assessment: 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 and network coverage is improving; domestic satellite system being installed to improve telephone service in rural areas; 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), 3 owned by Zamtel

Broadcast Media:

 State-owned Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) operates 1 TV station and is the principal local-content provider; several private TV stations are available; multi-channel subscription TV services are obtainable; ZNBC operates 3 radio networks; about 2 dozen private radio stations also broadcasting; relays of at least 2 international broadcasters are accessible in Lusaka and Kitwe (2007)

Radio Broadcast Stations:

 AM 19, FM 5, shortwave 4 (2001)

Television Broadcast Stations:

 9 (2001)

Internet Country Code:


Internet Hosts:

 14,771 (2010)

Internet Users:

 816,200 (2009)

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 94 (2010)

Airports - With Paved Runways:

 Total: 8
Over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2010)

Airports - With Unpaved Runways:

 Total: 86
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 63
Under 914 m: 18 (2010)


 Oil 771 km (2010)


 Total: 2,157 km
Narrow gauge: 2,157 km 1.067-m gauge

Note: includes 891 km of the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) (2010)


 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) (2010)

Ports and Terminals:


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Military Branches:

 Zambian National Defense Force (ZNDF): Zambia Army, Zambia Air Force, National Service (paramilitary youth organization) (2011)

Military Service Age and Obligation:

 18-27 years of age for male and female voluntary military service (16 years of age with parental consent); no conscription; Zambian citizenship required; mandatory HIV testing upon enlistment; mandatory retirement for officers at age 65 (Army, Air Force) (2011)

Manpower Available For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 3,041,069
Females age 16-49: 2,948,291 (2010 est.)

Manpower Fit For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 1,745,656
Females age 16-49: 1,688,670 (2010 est.)

Manpower Reaching Militarily Significant Age Annually:

 Male: 158,592
Female: 158,805 (2010 est.)

Military Expenditures:

 1.8% of GDP (2005 est.)

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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

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; major consumer of cannabis

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Last Updated: December 2011

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