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« Ozodi Osuji Weekly Lectures on African Countries #53 of 54: Western Sahara | Main | Ozodi Osuji Weekly Lectures on African Countries #54+ of 54+: Zimbabwe »

August 13, 2006

Ozodi Osuji Weekly Lectures on African Countries #54 of 54: Zambia

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) ---
Flag of Zambia

Formal Name: Republic of Zambia.

Term for Citizens: Zambians.

Capital: Lusaka. Population: 1, 717, 000.

Independence Achieved: October 24, 1964.

Major Cities: Lusaka.


Zambia is located in South Africa. It is bordered by Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique, Tanzania, Congo-Kinshasa and Angola. The total land area of Zambia is 290,586 square miles. The country is mainly plateau, flat, undulating, ranging between 900 and 1500. There are some mountains along the border with Tanzania and Malawi. The climate is two seasons, wet and dry. Cool and dry from April to August and rainy from October through March. Lowest rainfall in Southern and low-lying eastern areas, droughts often occur here.


The population is estimated at 10, 812,000. Zambia’s population is over 40 percent urban; this is due primarily to high mining activities.

Ethnic Groups: Over 73 different groups but mainly speaking different dialects of Bemba.

Language: English is the official language. Seven African languages are recognized and the main ones are: Bemba, Nyanja, Lozi, and Tonga.

Religion: Most Zambians are Christians, although some mix it with African religious beliefs.

Education: Universal free primary education. Very few go to secondary school and even fewer to University. Literacy rate is estimated at 80.6%.

Economy: Mining plays a critical role in Zambia’s economy, particularly copper mining. Subsistence agriculture is the means of survival by the rural population. GDP estimated: $8.9 billion; Per Capita: $890. Monetary Unit: Kwacha.

History and Government:

Called Northern Rhodesia, the country was ruled by the South African Company from 1889 to 1924. Then the British took over. Upon gaining independence from Britain in 1964, Zambia initially had a British parliamentary system of government. It has a unicameral national Assembly. However, it moved to presidential system. It has successfully transferred power from one party to another party and from one president, Kaunda, to another. Zambia is divided into nine provinces, and further subdivided into districts and towns.


The original people that lived in the area now called Zambia were Khoisan/Bushmen. The Bantus came along during the great Bantus expansion and absorbed the Bushmen.

In 1888 Cecil Rhodes obtained concession to explore trading in the area now called Zambia and Zimbabwe and thus they came under the British sphere of influence.

Britain ruled Zambia (then called Northern Rhodesia) and gave it independence in 1963. Kenneth Kaunda became the prime minister and the next year when Republican status was attained became the president.

Like other African politicians of his era, Kaunda played the game of single party leadership and was reelected on several occasions. By the 1990s, the movement for multiple party democracies had gathered steam and changes were made to the constitution and MMD candidate for the president, Frederick Chiluba won the 1991 presidential race. He was reelected in 1996 and like his predecessor, tried to toy with the constitution to enable him run for a third term but met vigorous opposition and gave that ambition up. Mr. Mwanawasa was elected the president.

Zambia has a fledgling democracy. It has a presidential system, with a legislature that knows that it is supposed to make laws, and an independent judiciary.

The country is divided into nine provinces and the provinces are further divided into 56 districts.

The economy of Zambia is based on copper mining and agriculture. However, the impact of HIV AIDS appears to be taking its toll on the population and economy, for a healthy labor force is needed to have a healthy economy.

Posted by Administrator at August 13, 2006 12:58 PM


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