2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: African Countries; Countries

Republic of Zambia
Flag of Zambia Coat of arms of Zambia
Flag Coat of arms
Motto: "One Zambia, One Nation"
Anthem: Stand and Sing of Zambia, Proud and Free
Location of Zambia
(and largest city)
15°25′S 28°17′E
Official languages English
Government Republic
 - President Levy Mwanawasa
Independence from the United Kingdom 
 - Date October 24, 1964 
 - Total 752,618 km² ( 39th)
290,586 sq mi 
 - Water (%) 1
 - July 2005 estimate 11,668,0001 ( 71st)
 - 2003 census 9,582,418
 - Density 16/km² ( 191st)
40/sq mi
GDP ( PPP) 2005 estimate
 - Total $10.792 billion ( 133rd)
 - Per capita $931 ( 168th)
HDI  (2004) 0.407 (low) ( 165th)
Currency Zambian kwacha ( ZMK)
Time zone CAT ( UTC+2)
 - Summer ( DST) not observed ( UTC+2)
Internet TLD .zm
Calling code +260
1 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 and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected.

Zambia, officially the Republic of Zambia, is a landlocked country in southern Africa. It borders the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania on the north-east, Malawi on the east, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia to the south, and Angola on the west. Formerly Northern Rhodesia, the country is named after the Zambezi river.


The indigenous Khoisan hunter-gatherer occupants of Zambia began to be displaced or absorbed by more technologically-advanced migrating tribes around two thousand years ago. The major waves of Bantu-speaking immigrants – the Bantu expansion – began in the twelfth century.

Among them, the Tonga people (also called Batonga) were first to settle in Zambia and are believed to have come from the far east near the "big sea." The Nkoya people had also come much earlier with some suggesting that they came first into what is today called Zambia from the Luba-Lunda kingdoms in the north. Other groups followed with the greatest influx coming between the late seventeenth and early nineteenth centuries. These later migrants came primarily from the Luba and Lunda tribes of southern Democratic Republic of Congo and northern Angola but were joined in the nineteenth century by Ngoni peoples from the south. By the later part of the nineteenth century, the various peoples of Zambia were largely established in the areas they currently occupy.

Except for the occasional Portuguese explorer, the area lay untouched by Europeans for centuries. After the mid-nineteenth century, it was penetrated by Western explorers, missionaries, and traders. In 1855, missionary and explorer David Livingstone, became the first European to see the magnificent waterfalls on the Zambezi River. He named them Victoria Falls after Queen Victoria. The falls are known in Zambia as Mosi-O-Tunya (in the Lozi or Kololo dialect), "the smoke that thunders." The Zambian town, Livingstone, near the falls is named after him.

In 1888, Cecil Rhodes, spearheading British commercial and political interests in Central Africa, obtained a mineral rights concession from local chiefs. In the west of the country, which came to be known as North Western Rhodesia, the British South African Company, Cecil Rhodes’ company, obtained mineral rights for the area from The Litunga, the king of the Lozi . In the east, King Mpezeni of the Ngoni resisted but he 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 joined to form Northern Rhodesia. In 1924, the Company ceded control to the British Government Colonial Office under the Devonshire Agreement In the same year, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) was proclaimed to be within the British sphere of influence. Southern Rhodesia was annexed formally and granted self-government in 1923, and the administration of Northern Rhodesia was by a Governor appointed by the crown. Mining began in the Copperbelt in 1934.

In 1953, both Northern and Southern Rhodesia (now Zambia and Zimbabwe, respectively) were joined with Nyasaland (now Malawi) to form the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. The Federation was established despite overwhelming opposition from Africans, who demonstrated against it in 1960-61 and campaigned for its disbandment. Northern Rhodesia was the centre of much of the turmoil and crisis that characterized the federation in its last years. The campaign was led initially by Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula's African National Congress (ANC) and later by Kenneth Kaunda's United National Independence Party (UNIP). 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. Led by Kenneth Kaunda, on 31 December 1963, the federation was dissolved, and Northern Rhodesia became the Republic of Zambia on 24 October 1964. At that time, Kaunda became the country's 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. Abroad, three of its neighbors – Southern Rhodesia and the Portuguese colonies of Mozambique and Angola – remained under white-dominated rule. Southern Rhodesia's white-ruled government unilaterally declared independence in November, 1965. In addition, Zambia shared a border with South African-controlled South-West Africa (now Namibia). Zambia's sympathies lay with forces opposing colonial or white-dominated rule, particularly in Southern Rhodesia. During the next decade, it actively supported movements such as the National Union for Total Independence of Angola (UNITA); the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU); the African National Congress of South Africa (ANC); and the South-West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO).

Conflicts with Rhodesia (so renamed from Southern Rhodesia) resulted in the closing of Zambia's borders with that country and severe problems with international transport and power supply. However, the Kariba hydroelectric station on the Zambezi River provided sufficient capacity to satisfy the country's requirements for electricity (despite the fact that the hydro control centre was on the Rhodesian side of the border). A railroad to the Tanzanian port of Dar es Salaam, built with Chinese assistance, reduced Zambian dependence on railroad lines south to South Africa and west through an increasingly troubled Angola. Until the completion of the railroad, however, Zambia's major artery for imports and the critical export of copper was along the TanZam Road, running from Zambia to the port cities in Tanzania. Also a pipeline for oil was built from Dar-es-Salaam to Ndola in Zambia.

By the late 1970s, Mozambique and Angola had attained independence from Portugal. Zimbabwe achieved independence in accordance with the 1979 Lancaster House Agreement, but Zambia's problems were not solved. Civil war in the former Portuguese colonies generated an influx of refugees and caused continuing transportation problems. The Benguela railway, which extended west through Angola, was essentially closed to traffic from Zambia by the late 1970s. Zambia's strong support for the ANC, which had its external headquarters in Lusaka, created security problems as South Africa raided ANC targets in Zambia.

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.


Zambia's politics takes 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. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and parliament. Zambia (formerly Northern Rhodesia) became a republic immediately upon attaining independence in October 1964.

Administrative divisions

Map showing Zambia's provinces.
Map showing Zambia's provinces.

Zambia is divided into nine provinces, each administered by an appointed deputy minister (essentially performing the duties of a governor). Each province are subdivided into four to twelve districts to make a total of seventy-two districts. The provinces are:

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

There is also popular demand for a tenth province, Kafue Province.


Lower Education

Schooling usually falls into three levels: Primary (Years 1 to 7), Junior Secondary (Years 8 to 9) and Upper Secondary (Years 10 to 12). So-called "Basic" schools teach Years 1 to 9, as Year 9 is considered to be a decent level of schooling for the majority of children; however, schooling is only free up to Year 7 and most children drop out then.

Both government and private schools exist in Zambia. The private school system began largely as a result of Christian mission efforts during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. One of the most famous private schools is Catholic run St. Mary's Seminary located in the Msupadzi area, south of Chipata, Eastern Province. A popular public high school is Chama Secondary School located on the northern tip of the eastern province. Private schools operate under either the British or American way of schooling.

Higher Education

Educational opportunities beyond high school are very limited in Zambia. There are few schools offering higher education and most Zambians cannot afford the fees. The University of Zambia is the primary institution of higher learning.

Several teacher training colleges offer two-year programs beyond high school, and there are several Christian schools which offer seminary-level training.

  • University of Zambia (in Lusaka)
  • Copperbelt University (in Kitwe)
  • Northrise University (in Ndola)


Map of Zambia
Map of Zambia
Satellite image of Zambia, generated from raster graphics data supplied by The Map Library
Satellite image of Zambia, generated from raster graphics data supplied by The Map Library

Zambia is a landlocked country in southern Africa, with a tropical climate and consists mostly of high plateau with some hills and mountains. At 290,566 sq. mi. (752,614 sq. km) it is the 39th-largest country in the world (after Chile) and is slightly larger than the US state of Texas.

Zambia is drained by two major river basins: the Zambezi River basin, in the south; and the Congo River basin, in the north. Of the two basins, the part of Zambia drained by the Zambezi River basin is about three-quarters of the country's total area. The part drained by the Congo River basin is about a quarter of the country's total area.

Zambezi River basin

In the Zambezi River basin, there are four major rivers that either run through Zambia or form the country's borders with its neighbours: the Kafue, the Luangwa, the Kwando and the Zambezi. The last three form part of Zambia's southern borders. The Kwando River forms Zambia's southwestern border with Angola, then it runs eastwards along the northern boundary of Namibia's Caprivi Strip before spreading into the Linyanti Marshes, which finally drain eastwards into the Zambezi. From its confluence with the Kwando, the Zambezi flows eastwards, forming the whole of Zambia's border with Zimbabwe. The other two rivers, Kafue and Luangwa, lie entirely within Zambia and are major tributaries of the Zambezi. Their confluences with the Zambezi are on Zambia's Zimbabwean border at Chirundu (for the Kafue) and Luangwa town (for the Luangwa River). Before its confluence, the Luangwa River forms part of Zambia's border with Mozambique. From Luangwa town, the Zambezi leaves Zambia and flows into Mozambique, and eventually spills its waters into the Indian Ocean's Mozambique Channel.

The Zambezi falls 360  feet (100  m) over the one- mile wide (1.6 km) Victoria Falls, located in the southwest corner of the country, subsequently filling Lake Kariba.

The Zambezi Valley, running along the southern border, is both deep and wide. Moving northwards the terrain shifts into a high plateau ranging from three to four thousand feet (900–1,200 m) to over six thousand feet (1,800 m) in the northern area of the Copperbelt. In the east, the Luangwa valley curves its way south with hills on either side until it enters the Zambezi.In the west, large plains are a key geographic feature, flooding the western plains during the annual rainy season (typically October though April).

Congo River basin

Zambia hosts two major rivers from the Congo River basin: the Chambeshi and the Luapula. The latter forms part of Zambia's border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Chambeshi lies entirely within Zambia and is the furthest headstream of the Congo River. It flows into the Bangweulu Wetlands, which provide the waters that form the Luapula River. The Luapula flows southward then westward before it turns northward until it enters Lake Mweru. The lake's other major tributary is the Kalungwishi River, which flows into it from the east. The Luvua River drains Lake Mweru, flowing out of the northern end.

Lake Tanganyika is the other major hydrographic feature that belongs to the Congo River basin. The lake's southeastern end receives water from the Kalambo River, which forms part of Zambia's border with Tanzania. This river has Africa's second highest uninterrupted waterfall, the Kalambo Falls. (The continent's highest waterfalls is the Tugela Falls of South Africa.)


Over 70% percent of Zambians live in poverty. 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 thirty-seven years) and maternal mortality (729 per 100,000 pregnancies). The country's rate of economic growth cannot support rapid population growth or the strain which HIV/AIDS related issues (i.e. rising medical costs, decline in worker productivity) place on government resources. Zambia is also one of sub-Saharan Africa's most highly urbanized countries. Almost one-half of the country's eleven million people are concentrated in a few urban zones strung along the major transportation corridors, while rural areas are sparsely populated. Unemployment and underemployment are serious problems.

HIV/AIDS is the nation's greatest problem, with 17% prevalence among the adult population. HIV/AIDS will continue to ravage Zambian economic, political, cultural, and social development for the foreseeable future.

Once a middle-income country, Zambia began to slide into poverty in the 1970s when copper prices declined on world markets. The socialist government made up for falling revenue with several abortive attempts at International Monetary Fund structural adjustment programmes (SAPs), which ended after popular outcries from the people. After democratic multi-party elections, the Chiluba government (1991-2001) came to power in November 1991 committed to an economic reform program. The government privatized most of the parastatals (state-owned corporations), maintained positive real interest rates, eliminated exchange controls, and endorsed free market principles. Corruption grew dramatically under the Chiluba government. It remains to be seen whether the Mwanawasa government will be aggressive in continuing economic reform. Zambia is still dealing with economic reform issues such as the size of the public sector and improving Zambia's social sector delivery systems. NGOs and other groups have contended that the SAPs, in Zambia and other countries, have had very detrimental effects on the poor. Zambia's total foreign debt exceeded $6 billion when the country qualified for Highly Indebted Poor Country Initiative (HIPC) debt relief in 2000, contingent upon meeting certain performance criteria. Initially, Zambia hoped to reach the HIPC completion point, and benefit from substantial debt forgiveness, in late 2003. In January 2003, the Zambian Government informed the IMF and World Bank that it wished to renegotiate some of the agreed performance criteria calling for privatization of the Zambia National Commercial Bank and the national telephone and electricity utilities. Although agreements were reached on these issues, subsequent overspending on civil service wages delayed Zambia's final HIPC debt forgiveness from late 2003 to early 2005, at the earliest. In an effort to reach HIPC completion in 2004, the government drafted an austerity budget for 2004, freezing civil service salaries and increasing a number of taxes. The labor movement and other components of civil society have objected to the sacrifices called for in the budget, and, in some cases, the role of the international financial institutions in demanding austerity.

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 thirty-year decline in output due to lack of investment, low copper prices, and uncertainty over privatization. In 2002, following privatization 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 metals giant acquired Konkola Copper Mines (KCM)and have completely transformed the company allowing it to develop to its full potential and maximise the benefits for the employees. They are also investing a lot in the Zambian economy by undertaking the largest single investment into the country earlier in 2006.

The Zambian Government is pursuing an economic diversification program 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, nonmetal exports 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 and uranium.

Demographics and ethnicity

Thatched-roof church in a Zambian village.
Thatched-roof church in a Zambian village.
A Zambian field.
A Zambian field.

Zambia's population is comprised of about seventy-two Bantu-speaking ethnic groups but almost 90% of Zambians belong to the nine main ethnolinguistic groups: the Bemba, Nyanja-Chewa, Tonga, Tumbuka (spoken in the Eastern Province and eastern part Nothern Province), Lunda, Luvale, Kaonde, Nkoya and Lozi. In the rural areas, each ethnic group is concentrated in a particular geographic region of the country and many groups are very small and not as well known. However, in Lusaka and the Copperbelt, all the ethinic groups can be found in good proportions.

The country is 44% urban. Most rural Zambians are subsistence farmers. The predominant religion is Christianity which is also the official national religion. Expatriates, mostly British (about 15,000) or South African, live mainly in Lusaka and in the Copperbelt in northern Zambia, where they are employed in mines and related activities. Zambia also has a small but economically important Asian population, most of whom are Indians. In recent years over three hundred dispossesed white farmers left Zimbabwe at the invitation of the Zambian government and have taken up farming in the southern region.

The HIV/AIDS epidemic is ravaging Zambia. Nearly one million Zambians are HIV positive or have AIDS. An estimated 100,000 died of the epidemic in 2004. Over a half-million Zambian children have been orphaned. Life expectancy at birth is just under forty.


Zambia's constitution identifies the country as a Christian nation, but a variety of religious traditions exist. Traditional religious thought blends easily with Christian beliefs in many of the country's syncretic churches. Islam also has a visible presence especially in urban settings.

Within the Christian community, a variety of denominations can be found: Roman Catholic, Anglican, Pentecostal, Lutheran, Seventh-day Adventist: 4.0%, and a variety of Evangelical denominations. These grew, adjusted and prospered from the original missionary settlements ( Portuguese and Catholicism in the east from Mozambique) and Anglican (English and Scottish influences) from the south. Except for some technical positions (e.g. physicians), western missionary roles have been assumed by native believers. After Frederick Chiluba (a pentecostal Christian) became President in 1991, Pentecostal congregations sprouted around the country.

Zambian-born Archibishop Emmanuel Milingo was a high-ranking Bishop at the Vatican until he left to marry Maria Sung, a 43-year-old Korean acupuncturist, at a ceremony officiated by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon in New York (May, 2001). He was ex-communicated by the Catholic Church in September, 2006 for conducting a consecration of 4 married men as bishops.

Zambia also has a very small Jewish community, mostly of Ashkenazi members of the White community. However, there have been notable members such as Simon Zukas, retired Minister, MP and a member of Forum for Democracy and Development and earlier on the MMD and United National Independence Party. Additionally, the economist Stanley Fischer, currently the governor of the Bank of Israel and formerly head of the IMF also was born and partially raised in Zambia's Jewish community.


Zambia's present-day culture exhibits a blend of historical and cultural features from the past as well as the present. Traditional African practices and understandings continue to influence many aspects of Zambian culture. The impact of the colonial era can also be seen in the lives of the people. Finally, present-day global expressions and forces contribute to the cultural landscape.

traditional, popular, Christian
Traditional ceremonies and rituals 
Kathanga (Kafue Province), Ncwala (Eastern Province), Umutomboko (Luapula Province), Kuomboka (Western Province), Cing'ande (Southern Province)
Traditional arts 
Tonga baskets, stools, fabrics
Chibemba, Nkoya, Chichewa (Chinyanja, Chilunda) or Lunda, Chitonga or Tonga, Ila, Mambwe, Namwanga, Kaonde, Lozi, Luvale, Shona, Goba, Tumbuka, Yauma, Aushi, Lenje, Lamba, Lala*, Fanagalo (a pidgin language used mainly used in the South African mines) and others making a total of seventy-eight
Nshima, Ibwatu, Inswa (termites), Vinkubala (caterpillars), Dobe (fresh maize), chikwangwa (the crust from the bottom of a Nshima pot), vimbombo va nkhuku ( a delicacy made from chicken's feet), chiwaya cho kazinga (roasted maize)

Geographic locale

Flag of Democratic Republic of the Congo Democratic Republic of the Congo Flag of Tanzania Tanzania
Flag of Angola Angola North Flag of Malawi Malawi
West   Flag of Zambia Zambia    East
Flag of Namibia Namibia Flag of Botswana Botswana Flag of Zimbabwe Zimbabwe  Flag of Mozambique Mozambique

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