Quick Facts about Zambia

zambia-map

Introduction

Population: 15,066,266 (July, 2015 est.)
Language: English, indigenous languages
Religion: Christian, Muslim, Hindu
Currency: Zambian Kwacha

Zambia (zămˈbēə), officially Republic of Zambia, 290,584 square miles (752,614 square kms), 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. Zambia is rated as one of the safest destinations to visit in the world.

A landlocked country in central Africa, Zambia occupies an elevated plateau, flanked in the south by the Zambezi River and Victoria Falls. There are more than 70 ethnic groups, and most of them live in Lusaka, the capital, or in the cities of the Copperbelt – the two largest, Ndola and Kitwe. It is one of sub-Saharan Africa’s most highly urbanised countries.

Economy

Zambia has had one of the world’s fastest growing economies for the past ten years, with real GDP growth averaging roughly 6.7% per annum. Privatisation 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, spurring economic growth. Copper output increased steadily from 2004, due to higher copper prices and foreign investment, but weakened in 2014 when Zambia was overtaken by the Democratic Republic of Congo as Africa’s largest copper producer. 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. Zambia has raised $1.75 billion from international investors by issuing separate sovereign bonds in September 2012 and April 2014, significantly increasing the country’s public debt as a share of GDP. On 1st January, 2015, a new mineral royalty tax regime dramatically increased mining taxes, and has led to an economic impasse between the government and the mines.

Major trading partners: China – 38.7%, South Africa – 11.6%, Democratic Republic of the Congo – 10.5%, Zimbabwe – 6.2% (2013)

Exports: $8.547 billion (2013 est.): copper/cobalt, cobalt, electricity, tobacco, flowers and cotton

Imports: $8.081 billion (2014 est.): machinery, transportation equipment, petroleum products, electricity, fertilizer; foodstuffs and clothing

The flag of Zambia was hoisted for the first time at midnight on the 23rd October 1964, symbolising patriotism and the nation’s natural resources. An eagle in flight over three stripes of red black and orange on a green background. Red represents the struggle for freedom, black, the people of Zambia, orange the country’s mineral wealth and green the wildlife and environment. The eagle in flight symbolises the freedom in Zambia and the ability to rise above national problems.

Zambia is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), one hour ahead of Central European Time (CET), seven hours ahead of Eastern USA time and ten hours ahead of Western USA time.

Regional & International economic grouping/alliances

  • The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)
  • The EU-ACP Convention
  • African Union
  • Southern African Development Community (SADC)

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.

Zambia, a landlocked country in south-central Africa. It is surrounded by Angola, Zaire, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia. The country is mostly a plateau that rises to 8,000 ft (2,434 m) in the east.

Getting around in Zambia

Travel by air

TProflight flies from Lusaka to Mfuwe (South Luangwa), to Livingstone and the Copperbelt and also does charters. Various air charter companies will fly to any of the many airstrips around the country and most of the areas worth visiting are accessible by air. Domestic departure tax from airports is $8 per person.

Please click on image to enlarge:

Distance-Chart

There is freedom of worship in Zambia with over 15 different churches. Christianity is followed by over 60% of the population.

Religions: Protestant 75.3%, Roman Catholic 20.2%, other 2.7% (includes Muslim Buddhist, Hindu, and Baha’i), none 1.8% (2010 est.)

The government has done its best to promote foreign investment, overhauling the system of approval to facilitate this. Priority is given to investors in import-substitution, the agro-industry, tourism and exporters of non-traditional products using local raw materials. Nevertheless the privatisation of ZCCM was badly handled, with the government overplaying its hand in negotiations, resulting ultimately in a lower selling price in 2000.

Foreign Aid and Donors

In December 2000 Zambia qualified for US$3,8bn of debt relief under the enhanced initiative for Highly Indebted Poor Countries. This is equivalent to about 63% of net present value of debt outstanding at end-1999, and 45% of debt service obligations. The HIPC will help Zambia to advance its poverty reduction programme and stimulate economic growth.