Zambia

About Zambia

Geography
History
Economy
Culture
Policy
Guide
History
Geography
Economy
Culture
Political system, law and government
Institutions
Science
Competent Institutions and Networks in Zambia
Reformed Church in Zambia
Zambia -- Geography --

Official Name: Republic of Zambia
Capital City: Lusaka
Official Currency: The kwacha of 100 ngwee replaced the Zambian pound on 15 January 1968.
Religions: Roman Catholic, Anglican, Pentecostal, New Apostolic Church, Lutheran, Seventh-day Adventist, Jehovah's Witnesses, variety of Evangelical denominations, mostly represented on syncretic basis, Baha'i religion
Population: 10 812 000 (2003), 12 670 000 (estimated for 2015)
Land Area: 752 614 sq km
Landforms: Zambia is a landlocked country in southern Africa, with a tropical climate and consists mostly of high plateau, with some hills and mountains, dissected by river valleys.
Major Cities: Lusaka, Ndola, Kitwe, Kabwe, Chingola, Luanshya, Livingstone


Zambia -- History --

The area of modern Zambia was inhabited by Khoisan hunter-gatherers until around AD 300. In the 12th century, major waves of Bantu-speaking immigrants arrived during the Bantu expansion. Among them, the Tonga people (also called Batonga) were the first to settle in Zambia and are believed to have come from the east near the "big sea". The Nkoya people also arrived early in the expansion, coming from the LubaLunda kingdoms located in the southern parts of the modern Democratic Republic of the Congo and northern Angola. In the early 18th century, the Nsokolo people settled in the Mbala district of Northern province. During the 19th century, the Ngoni and Sotho peoples arrived from the south. By the late 19th century, most of the various peoples of Zambia were established in the areas they currently occupy.
The earliest account of a European visiting the area was Francisco de Lacerda in the late 18th century, followed by other explorers in the 19th century. The most prominent of these was David Livingstone, who was the first European to see the magnificent waterfalls on the Zambezi River in 1855, naming them Victoria Falls after Queen Victoria. Locally the falls are known "Mosi-oa-Tunya" or "(the) thundering smoke" (in the Lozi or Kololo dialect). The town of Livingstone, near the falls, is named after him. Highly publicised accounts of his journeys motivated a wave of explorers, missionaries and traders after his death in 1873.
In 1888, the British South Africa Company, (BSA Company) led by Cecil Rhodes, obtained mineral rights from the Litunga, the king of the Lozi for the area which later became North-Western Rhodesia. To the east, King Mpezeni of the Ngoni resisted but was defeated in battle and that part of the country came to be known as North-Eastern Rhodesia. The two were administered as separate units until 1911 when they were merged to form Northern Rhodesia. In 1923, the Company ceded control of Northern Rhodesia to the British Government after the government decided not to renew the Company's charter.
That same year, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), which was also administered by the BSA Company, became self-governing. In 1924, after negotiations, administration of Northern Rhodesia transferred to the British Colonial Office. In 1953, the creation of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland grouped together Northern Rhodesia, Southern Rhodesia and Nyasaland (now Malawi) as a single semi-autonomous region. This was undertaken despite opposition from a sizeable minority of Africans, who demonstrated against it in 196061. Northern Rhodesia was the centre of much of the turmoil and crisis characterizing the federation in its last years. Initially, Harry Nkumbula's African National Congress (ANC) led the campaign that Kenneth Kaunda's United National Independence Party (UNIP) subsequently took up.
A two-stage election held in October and December 1962 resulted in an African majority in the legislative council and an uneasy coalition between the two African nationalist parties. The council passed resolutions calling for Northern Rhodesia's secession from the federation and demanding full internal self-government under a new constitution and a new National Assembly based on a broader, more democratic franchise. The federation was dissolved on 31 December 1963, and in January 1964, Kaunda won the first and only election for Prime Minister of Northern Rhodesia.
Northern Rhodesia became the Republic of Zambia on 24 October 1964, with Kaunda as the first president.
At independence, despite its considerable mineral wealth, Zambia faced major challenges. Domestically, there were few trained and educated Zambians capable of running the government, and the economy was largely dependent on foreign expertise.There were 70,000 Europeans in Zambia in 1964, who were of great economic importance.
Kaunda developed his regime along the lines of Stalin, promoting a cult of personality. There was no free press.
In the mid-1970s, the price of copper, Zambia's principal export, suffered a severe decline worldwide. In Zambia's situation, the cost of transporting the copper great distances to market was an additional strain. Zambia turned to foreign and international lenders for relief, but, as copper prices remained depressed, it became increasingly difficult to service its growing debt. By the mid-1990s, despite limited debt relief, Zambia's per capita foreign debt remained among the highest in the world. In June 1990 riots against Kaunda accelerated. Many protesters were killed by the regime in breakthrough June 1990 protests. Kaunda faced one coup attempt in 1990. In 1991, Kaunda's dictatorship fell and was replaced by multiparty elections. In the 2000s, the economy has stabilized, attaining single-digit inflation in 20062007, real GDP growth, decreasing interest rates, and increasing levels of trade. Much of its growth is due to foreign investment in Zambia's mining sector and higher copper prices on the world market.

Zambia -- Economy --

About 68% of Zambians live below the recognised national poverty line. Per capita annual incomes are currently at about one-half their levels at independence and, at $395, place the country among the world's poorest nations. Social indicators continue to decline, particularly in measurements of life expectancy at birth (about 40.9 years). The country's rate of economic growth cannot support rapid population growth or the strain which HIV/AIDS related issues place on the economy.
During the decades of Kaunda's socialist policies, Zambia fell into poverty, especially after international copper prices declined in the 1970s. After the dictatorship ended, successive governments have begun limited reforms. The economy stagnated until late 1990s. In 2007 Zambia recorded ninth consecutive year of economic growth. Inflation was 8.9%, down from 30% in 2000.
Zambia is still dealing with economic reform issues such as the size of the public sector and improving Zambia's social sector delivery systems.
The Zambian economy has historically been based on the copper mining industry. Output of copper had fallen, however, to a low of 228,000 metric tons in 1998, after a 30 year decline in output due to lack of investment, low copper prices, and uncertainty over privatisation. In 2002, following privatisation of the industry, copper production rebounded to 337,000 metric tons. Improvements in the world copper market have magnified the effect of this volume increase on revenues and foreign exchange earnings. Recently, firms like Vedanta Resources, a London-based miner acquired Konkola Copper Mines (KCM). Vedanta transformed the company and continues investing in the Zambian economy.
The Zambian government is pursuing an economic diversification programme to reduce the economy's reliance on the copper industry. This initiative seeks to exploit other components of Zambia's rich resource base by promoting agriculture, tourism, gemstone mining, and hydro-power. In 2003, exports of nonmetals increased by 25% and accounted for 38% of all export earnings, previously 35%. The Zambian government has recently been granting licenses to international resource companies to prospect for minerals such as nickel, tin, copper and uranium. It is hoped that nickel will take over from copper as the country's top metallic export. In 2009, Zambia has been badly hit by the world economic crisis.


Zambia -- Culture --

The culture of Zambia is mainly indigenous Bantu culture mixed with European influences. Prior to the establishment of modern Zambia, the indigenous people lived in independent tribes, each with their own ways of life. One of the results of the colonial era was the growth of urbanization. Different ethnic groups started living together in towns and cities, influencing each other as well as adopting a lot of the European culture. The original cultures have largely survived in the rural areas. In the urban setting there is a continuous integration and evolution of these cultures to produce what is now called "Zambian culture".
Traditional culture is very visible through colourful annual Zambian traditional ceremonies. Some of the more prominent are:


Ceremony Region of Zambia
Kuomboka, KathangaWestern province
MutombokoLuapula Province
NcwalaEastern Province
Lwiindi, Shimunenga Southern Province
Likumbi Lyamize North Western
Chibwela Kumushi Central Province
Ukusefya Pa Ngwena Northern Province

Popular traditional arts are mainly in pottery, basketry (such as Tonga baskets), fabrics, mats, wooden carvings, ivory carvings and copper crafts.
Most Zambian traditional music is based on drums (and other percussion instruments) with a lot of singing and dancing. In the urban areas foreign genres of music are popular, in particular Congolese rumba, African-American music and Jamaican reggae.
The Zambian staple diet is based on maize. It is normally eaten as a thick porridge, called Nshima (Nyanja Word), prepared from maize flour commonly known as mealie meal. This may be eaten with a variety of vegetables, beans, meat, fish or sour milk depending on geographical location.


Zambia -- Political system, law and government --

Zambian politics take place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Zambia is both head of state and head of government in a pluriform multi-party system. The government exercises executive power, while legislative power is vested in both the government and parliament. Zambia became a republic immediately upon attaining independence in October 1964. Zambia is divided into nine provinces each administered by an appointed deputy minister. Each province is subdivided into several districts with a grand total of 72 districts. The provinces are:

  • Central
  • Copperbelt
  • Eastern
  • Luapula
  • Lusaka
  • Northern
  • North-Western
  • Southern
  • Western

Contacts
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Languages
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Useful links
The National Homepage of Zambia
Central Statistical Office: Zambia allAfrica.com
Guides
Travel Information and Travel Guide
Zambia Information
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