Located in southern Africa, Zambia is a landlocked country located between Namibia, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Plenty of neighbours!
Zambia comprises mostly high plateau with some hills and mountains. The country has a population of 10.3 million people, a democratically elected government, based in Lusaka the capital, headed by President Levy Mwanawasa who has made the reduction of corruption a priority. The country has a reasonably stable legislature. 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 anticorruption task force in 2002, but the government has yet to make a prosecution. The Zambian leader was reelected in 2006 in an election that was deemed free and fair.
The last election held in September 2011 election voted Michael Sata into the Presidency. President Sata died in October 2014. Following a short period of time when the Vice-President GUY SCOTT assumed responsibility for governance, Edgar LUNGU won the special election in January 2015 and completed SATA's term, which expired in August 2016. New elections have seen re-election of LUNGU.
The economy has largely depended on copper deposits and other minerals in Central parts of the country. A developing service sector, including tourism continues to develop.
Daily Mail Newspaper - Zambia's daily newspaper
Zambian tourist website - Find out what you need to know about Zambia
Approximately 22% of trade focuses on agriculture with 26% on industry and 52% on services including the tourism sector.
Despite progress in privatization and budgetary reform, Zambia's economic growth remains below the 5% to 7% necessary to reduce poverty significantly. Privatization of government-owned copper mines has improved the chances for copper mining to return to profitability and spur economic growth. However, low mineral prices have slowed the benefits of privatizing the mines and have reduced incentives for further private investment in the sector.
Purchasing power parity in 2002 was estimated to be $1,600 per capita. Other trends include:
- Life expectancy, currently estimated at 52 years.
- Unemployment is estimated at 50% (2000).
- An estimated 86% of the population lives below the poverty line.
The service sector is growing with tourism now well established. Zambia has benefitted from the mistakes and errors made by other African countries in the earlier days of tourism. The sector now provides a more discerning experience for tourists who wish to enjoy game viewing, adventure holidays and alternative safari locations. Political and economic upheaval in Zimbabwe have helped fuel growth of this sector in Zambia; a classic example of this being at Livingstone close to Victoria Falls, one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
I recommend a visit to Zambia for excellent game viewing, fishing on the mighty Zambezi and action packed thrills at Victoria Falls. A great favourite of mine is South Luangwa National Park where animals are varied (with plenty of elephants in the dry season).
Although in the tropics, Zambia's climate is tempered by altitude, with much of it being between 1000 and 1500 metres above sea level. This helps take the edge off extreme heat and humidity that other parts of Africa experience.
Nevertheless, be prepared for hot and humid conditions in the lower areas of the Zambezi and Luangwa valleys. There are three defined seasons in Zambia; May to August when it is cool and dry, September to November when it is hot and dry and December to April when it is warm and wet.
Zambian weather station - The weather in Zambia.