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You are in:  Nations > Africa > Zambia
Zambia*Zambia flag
Basic facts
The country 
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Capital: Lusaka
Area: 752,614 sq km; 290,586 sq miles
Population: 9,872,007 (2000 Estimate)
Urbanisation: Urban 44 per cent (1998 Estimate); Rural 56 per cent (1998 Estimate)


Exports: Copper, zinc, cobalt, lead, tobacco

Industry: Copper mining and processing, petroleum refining, vehicle assembly, food processing, fertilizers, explosives, textiles, bricks, batteries, copper wire

Agriculture:  Crops: maize, cassava, millet, beans, sorghum, wheat, rice, peanuts, sunflower seeds, tobacco, cotton, sugar cane; cattle, goats, beef, dairy, eggs

Currency: 1 Zambian kwacha (K), consisting of 100 ngwee

Natural resources: Copper, cobalt, zinc, lead, coal, emeralds, gold, amethyst, limestone, selenium, phosphates, fluorspar, iron ore, hydroelectric power potential


The people

Ethnic: African (more than 70 ethnic groups) 98.7 per cent, European 1.1 per cent, Other 0.2 per cent

Language: English (official), Bemba, Luapula, Nyanja, Tonga, Lozi, Kikaonde, Lunda, and Luvale NOTE: There are about 70 indigenous languages. English is the official language, but it is more commonly spoken in urban than rural areas. More than 70 indigenous languages are spoken in Zambia, of which the most important are Bemba in the Copperbelt, Luapula and the Northern and Central provinces; Nyanja in the Lusaka and Eastern provinces; Tonga in the Southern Province and Kabwe Rural District; Lozi in the Western Province and urban areas of Livingstone; and Kikaonde, Lunda and Luvale in the North-Western Province. Most Zambians speak one of these seven languages as their second language, if not their first. Swahili is spoken to a limited extent in the Copperbelt and Northern Zambia.

Religion: Christian 72 per cent, Indigenous beliefs 27 per cent, Muslim and Hindu 1 per cent. Many Zambians embrace a combination of two or more religions or belief systems. The proportion of Christians is estimated to be above 50 per cent. Estimates of the number of Muslims, Hindus and adherents of other religions are uncertain. Only a small number of people embrace exclusively indigenous beliefs. The extended family is important in Zambia, although the family structure is somewhat different from those in Western societies. For example, a father's brothers are also considered to be "fathers" to his children and a mother's sisters are also regarded as "mothers". Similarly, cousins are considered to be "brothers" and "sisters". Other members of the same clan who are not actually blood relations may also be considered siblings. Some families are matrilineal, but most are patriarchal. In patriarchal families, the father is the head of the family. In matrilineal families, the mother's brother has the greatest authority. An infant is constantly with its mother, usually tied on her back with a piece of cloth and public breastfeeding is normal. After weaning, childcare becomes a community responsibility.


The history


Government: A new constitution adopted in 1991 officially established Zambia as a multi-party democracy. Both the executive President and members of the national assembly are directly elected for five-year terms. There are nine provinces, each of which is administered by a central Government official. The voting age is 18.

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