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Facts & Figures

President: Michael Chilufya Sata (2011)

Land area: 285,994 sq mi (740,724 sq km); total area: 290,586 sq mi (sq km)

Population (2012 est.): 13,817,479 (growth rate: 2.89%); birth rate: 43.1/1000; infant mortality rate: 70.6/1000; life expectancy: 52.57.

Capital and largest city (2010 est.): Lusaka(capital) 1.742 million

Monetary unit: Kwacha

Republic of Zambia

Current government officials

Languages: 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)

Ethnicity/race: 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)

Religions: Christian 50%–75%, Islam and Hindu 24%–49%, indigenous beliefs 1%

Literacy rate: 81% (2003 est.)

Economic summary: GDP/PPP (2011 est.): $21.88 billion; per capita $1,600. Real growth rate: 6.6%. Inflation: 8.7%. Unemployment: 14% (2006 est.). Arable land: 7%. Agriculture: corn, sorghum, rice, peanuts, sunflower seed, vegetables, flowers, tobacco, cotton, sugarcane, cassava (tapioca), coffee; cattle, goats, pigs, poultry, milk, eggs, hides. Labor force: 5.72 million (2011); agriculture 85%, industry 6%, services 9% (2004). Industries: copper mining and processing, construction, foodstuffs, beverages, chemicals, textiles, fertilizer, horticulture. Natural resources: copper, cobalt, zinc, lead, coal, emeralds, gold, silver, uranium, hydropower. Exports: $8.672 billion (2011 est.): copper/cobalt 64%, cobalt, electricity, tobacco, flowers, cotton. Imports: $6.454 billion (2011 est.): machinery, transportation equipment, petroleum products, electricity, fertilizer; foodstuffs, clothing. Major trading partners: South Africa, China, Switzerland, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kuwait, South Korea (2011).

Communications: Telephones: main lines in use: 85,700 (2011); mobile cellular: 8.165 million (2011). 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). Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 16,571 (2012). Internet users: 816,200 (2009).

Transportation: Railways: total: 2,157 km (2006). Highways: total: 91,440 km; paved: 20,117 km ; unpaved: 71,323 km (2001 est.). Waterways: 2,250 km, including Zambezi and Luapula rivers, Lake Tanganyika. Ports and harbors: Mpulungu. Airports: 88 (2012).

International conflicts: 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.

Major sources and definitions

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Republic of Zambia

Major sources and definitions


Zambia, a landlocked country in south-central Africa, is about one-tenth larger than Texas. 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.




Early humans inhabited present-day Zambia between one and two million years ago. Today the country is made up almost entirely of Bantu-speaking peoples. Empire builder Cecil Rhodes obtained mining concessions in 1889 from King Lewanika of the Barotse and sent settlers to the area soon thereafter. The region was ruled by the British South Africa Company, which Rhodes established, until 1924, when the British government took over the administration.

From 1953 to 1964, Northern Rhodesia was federated with Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and Nyasaland (now Malawi) in the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. On Oct. 24, 1964, Northern Rhodesia became the independent nation of Zambia.

Kenneth Kaunda, the first president, kept Zambia within the Commonwealth of Nations. The country's economy, dependent on copper exports, was threatened when Rhodesia declared its independence from British rule in 1965 and defied UN sanctions, which Zambia supported, an action that deprived Zambia of its trade route through Rhodesia. The U.S., Britain, and Canada organized an airlift in 1966 to ship gasoline into Zambia.

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