- The name Zambia stems from that of the Zambezi river, the fourth-longest river in Africa and with a river basin covering about 1.3 km² across eight countries.
- Lusaka is the capital and has about 2.2 million inhabitants (2015).
- A fascinating country, but relatively unknown to tourists.
History and politics
- History: After independence was gained on October 24, 1964, Northern Rhodesia, which until then was a colony of Great Britain, was renamed in the Republic of Zambia. A one-party rule followed through the subsequent years, ending with the first elections among several registered parties being held in 1990. The current president, Edgar Chagwa Lungu, was elected to office in 2015.
- Form of government: Presidential republic
- Subdivision of Zambia: Divided into 10 provinces: Central Province, Copperbelt, Eastern Province, Luapula, Lusaka, Muchinga, Northern Province, Northwest Province, Southern Province, Western Province (see picture on the right).
- Area: Zambia is located in southern Africa and covers an area of about 752,618 km² – which is almost twice the area of Germany. Taking a look at the map, it is easy to see that Zambia lacks access to the sea, making it what is called a ‘landlocked country’. This condition, which has often been considered a disadvantage in the past, may prove beneficial in the future, as it makes the country a central transportation hub in southern Africa.
- Borders: As can be seen in the drawing on the right, Zambia borders eight countries: The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Angola. Lake Kariba, the world’s second largest artificial lake by volume and fifth largest by surface, was created by the damming of the Zambezi river, and runs along the Zambia-Zimbabwe border.
- Landscape: Zambia consists to a large extent of plateaus, located at between 1,000 and 1,400 meters above sea level. The landscape varies from region to region, but savannah is the predominant vegetation in many parts of the country. About one third of the land area is used for agricultural activities (especially permanent grassland) and almost two thirds are forested.
- Natural resources: The natural resources of Zambia include primarily copper, cobalt, zinc, lead, coal, gold, emerald, silver, uranium.
- Natural attractions: African wilderness in Zambia is breathtaking, and among its highlights is the perhaps most famous tourist attraction in the country, the Victoria Falls. They have been declared UNESCO World Heritage Site, and they extend over more than 1,700 meters to neighbouring Zimbabwe. Beside these famous waterfalls many other smaller waterfalls can be found scattered through Zambia’s landscape. Additionally, national parks of different sizes host an enormous variety of fauna, offering the opportunity to admire hundreds of bird species, large antelope, crocodile, wild dog, hippopotamus and other animals of all kinds.
- Inhabitants: Approximately 15.9 million inhabitants, with the largest part being the about 70 Bantu tribes. The estimated population growth rate is almost 3%, the average age of the population is just under 17 years and the average life expectancy is around 52.5 years.
- Population density: 21 inhabitants per km² (Germany: 230 / km²)
- Urbanization rate: 4.35%. The nation has one of the highest annual urbanization rates in Africa, with a particularly high population density in the center of the country. The urban population accounts for about 42% of the total population.
- Amtssprache: Englisch; zudem gelten sieben Stammessprachen als offiziell anerkannt, von denen die meistgesprochene Bemba ist, gefolgt von Nyanja. Zusätzlich existieren ungefähr 72 Dialekte.
- Human Development Index (HDI): 0.579. This ranked Zambia in the 139th place out of 188 and thus in the lower field of the development category “middle human development”.
- Religion: Christianity is the most prevalent religion (Catholics make up about 25%, Protestants from different streams add 65%). Furthermore, there are Muslims, Hindus and devotees of African religion.
- Official language: English; In addition, seven tribal languages are officially recognized, of which the most widely spoken is Bemba, followed by Nyanja. Besides, there are about 72 dialects.
- Economic sectors:
- The main economic sector of Zambia is mining and the country’s largest source of revenue are copper and cobalt exports, which are found mainly in the Copperbelt area. Until a few years ago, Zambia was one of the world’s fastest growing economies. However, there has been a decline in recent years due, inter alia, to lower copper prices and production quotas, less electricity production and devaluation of the national currency (Zambian Kwacha). Due to insufficient economic diversification and strong dependence on copper exports, the nation is very vulnerable to price fluctuations in the world market.
- The majority of the population (up to 85%) works in agriculture, often on a limited scale for their own family and local markets. Corn, sorghum, peanuts, rice, sunflowers and other flowers, tobacco, coffee, cotton, sugar cane and cassava (cassava) are often cultivated.
- The tourism sector is currently increasingly gaining importance, not only as an additional source of revenue, but also to reduce dependence on commodity exports.
- Export / Import: Mainly exported are copper, cobalt, tobacco, flowers and cotton, whereas goods such as machinery, means of transportation, petroleum products, food, clothing, electricity and fertilizer are often imported. The two largest export partners of Zambia are Switzerland, followed by China, while South Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are among the most important import partners.
- Poverty: In 2010, an estimated 60.5% of the population lived below the poverty line (at that time set at less than US $ 1.90 per day)
- Electrification: population without access to the public grid: 74%; this applies in particular to rural areas where the electrification rate is 14% (2013).
- Electricity production: Hydropower represents almost 100% of the installed power generation capacity. Thus, electricity generation is almost exclusively based on hydropower. However, poor management and droughtslead to sometimes considerable problems and power outages are the result. This also hampers industrial development and productivity.
- The region, which belongs to the so-called cold tropics because of its altitude, is characterized by a mild tropical climate. The climate in Zambia can be broadly divided into three phases:
- May – September: cooler dry season with daytime temperatures between 15 and 27° C. At night, especially in June and July, temperatures of less than 5° C are possible.
- October – November: hotter dry season with daytime temperatures between 24 and 32 °C
- December – April: hot and humid rainy season with fluctuations in the daytime temperature range of 27 to 38° C. Heavy rains and storms are possible. The closer the area to the equator, the more precipitation is expected. Therefore, there is usually more precipitation in northern Zambia than in the south.
- The main color of the flag is green. On the lower right side there are three vertical stripes in red, black and orange with an orange African fish eagle flying above.
- The green color stands for the fields and forests of the country.
- The red color reminds of the freedom struggle of the people.
- The black color for the skin color of the population.
- The orange color stands for the mineral wealth of the state, especially for the copper deposits.
- The illustrated eagle in flight symbolizes the freedom of the republic, the ability to overcome national problems and the nation’s striving for higher goals.
Environmental and health issues
- Environment: The consequences of decades of ongoing mining activity are clearly felt in Zambia, including air, soil and water pollution along with soil degradation and acid rain. Deforestation additionally damages the environment. Soil erosion and desertification can be observed. Poachers pose a threat to the wildlife of the country.
- Health: The lack of sanitary facilities and drinking water treatment often lead to health problems among the population. Moreover, Zambia has one of the highest HIV / AIDS adult prevalence rates in the world. CIA World Factbook estimates the rate at 12.40%, putting the nation in seventh place worldwide. About 36% of Zambians are illiterate, women are more likely concerned. Despite laws and improvements in recent years, child labor is still prevalent in the country, especially in mining and agriculture.