Zambia is a country of vast beauty and vast need. It is home to Victoria Falls, one of the seven wonders of the world, as well as several large and wonderfully wild animal preserves. Unfortunately corruption, large world bank debts, and AIDS have combined to keep 86% of Zambians below the poverty threshold. The UN has ranked Zambia 23rd from the bottom (164th out of 187 countries) on the HDI (Human Development Index), this ranking takes into consideration life expectancy, schooling, income etc. Obviously Zambia is in need of much prayer and help. While many Zambians consider themselves christians, “Superficiality and lack of biblical understanding and teaching. Too few know the Word of God or how to live a Christian life. Good teachers and trained pastors are greatly needed.” And with the poverty rate so high, “Between 33% and 50% of children are malnourished; 40% of the people do not have access to clean water or adequate sanitation. Illiteracy in rural areas is 90%. Current economic growth cannot offset the high birthrate or AIDS prevalence.” (Operation World)
Location: Zambia is located in Southern Africa, east of Angola and north of Botswana and Zimbabwe; see map
Area: Zambia covers 752,614 sq km of land, slightly larger than the state of Texas.
Capital City: Lusaka
Population: Almost 12 million people live in Zambia.
Language: English (official); major vernaculars include Bemba, Kaonda, Lozi, Lunda, Luvale, Nyanja, Tonga, and about 70 other indigenous languages.
Religion: Christian 50%-75%, Muslim and Hindu 24%-49%, indigenous beliefs 1%.
Climate: Zambia has a tropical climate which is modified by altitude. There’s one rainy season which lasts from October to April. It’s hottest from September – November.
When to Go to Zambia: The best time to view the magnificent Victoria Falls is from March to May (when the falls are at their fullest) and July – October is best for viewing wildlife. Twitchers should head to Zambia from November – March.
Currency: Zambian Kwacha, click here for currency converter.
Economy: Zambia’s economy has experienced strong growth in recent years, with real GDP growth in 2005-08 about 6% per year. Privatization of government-owned copper mines in the 1990s relieved the government from covering mammoth losses generated by the industry and greatly improved the chances for copper mining to return to profitability and spur economic growth. Zambia experienced a bumper harvest in 2007, which helped to boost GDP and agricultural exports and contain inflation. Although poverty continues to be significant problem in Zambia, its economy has strengthened, featuring single-digit inflation, a relatively stable currency, decreasing interest rates, and increasing levels of trade. The decline in world commodity prices and demand will hurt GDP growth in 2009, and elections and campaign promises are likely to weaken Zambia’s improved fiscal stance.
Brief History and Politics: The territory of Northern Rhodesia was administered by the [British] South Africa Company from 1891 until it was taken over by the UK in 1923. During the 1920s and 1930s, advances in mining spurred development and immigration. The name was changed to Zambia upon independence in 1964. In the 1980s and 1990s, declining copper prices and a prolonged drought hurt the economy. Elections in 1991 brought an end to one-party rule, but the subsequent vote in 1996 saw blatant harassment of opposition parties. The election in 2001 was marked by administrative problems with three parties filing a legal petition challenging the election of ruling party candidate Levy Mwanawasa. The new president launched an anti-corruption investigation in 2002 to probe high-level corruption during the previous administration. In 2006-07, this task force successfully prosecuted four cases, including a landmark civil case in the UK in which former President Chiluba and numerous others were found liable for USD 41 million. Mwanawasa was reelected in 2006 in an election that was deemed free and fair. Upon his abrupt death in August 2008, he was succeeded by his Vice-president Rupiah Banda, who subsequently won a special presidential election in October 2008. In September 2011, President Sata was sworn in after a very successful and peaceful election.