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, economic mismanagement 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. 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 byelection in October 2008. Michael SATA was elected president in September 2011.
air pollution and resulting acid rain in the mineral extraction and refining region; chemical runoff into watersheds; poaching seriously threatens rhinoceros, elephant, antelope, and large cat populations; deforestation; soil erosion; desertification; lack of adequate water treatment presents human health risks
note: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, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected
president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 20 September 2011 (next to be held in 2016); vice president appointed by the president
Michael Chilufya SATA elected president; percent of vote - Michael SATA 43.3%, Rupiah BANDA 36.2%, Hakainde HICHILEMA 18.5%, other 2.0%
green field with a panel of three vertical bands of red (hoist side), black, and orange below a soaring orange eagle, on the outer edge of the flag; green stands for the country's natural resources and vegetation, red symbolizes the struggle for freedom, black the people of Zambia, and orange the country's mineral wealth; the eagle represents the people's ability to rise above the nation's problems
Zambia's economy has experienced strong growth in recent years, with real GDP growth in 2005-12 more than 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 increased copper mining output and profitability to spur economic growth. Copper output has increased steadily since 2004, due to higher copper prices and foreign investment. In 2005, Zambia qualified for debt relief under the Highly Indebted Poor Country Initiative, consisting of approximately US$6 billion in debt relief. Poverty remains a significant problem in Zambia, despite a stronger economy. Zambia's dependency on copper makes it vulnerable to depressed commodity prices, but record high copper prices and a bumper maize crop in 2010 helped Zambia rebound quickly from the world economic slowdown that began in 2008. Zambia has made some strides to improve the ease of doing business. A high birth rate, relatively high HIV/AIDS burden, and market distorting agricultural policies have meant that Zambia''s economic growth has not dramatically decreased the stubbornly high poverty rate.
general assessment: among the best in sub-Saharan Africa
high-capacity microwave radio relay connects most larger towns and cities; several cellular telephone services in operation and network coverage is improving; domestic satellite system being installed to improve telephone service in rural areas; Internet service is widely available; very small aperture terminal (VSAT) networks are operated by private firms
country code - 260; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean and 1 Atlantic Ocean), 3 owned by Zamtel (2010)
state-owned Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) operates 1 TV station and is the principal local-content provider; several private TV stations; multi-channel subscription TV services are available; ZNBC operates 3 radio networks; about 2 dozen private radio stations; relays of at least 2 international broadcasters are accessible in Lusaka and Kitwe (2007)
national registration required at age 16; 18-25 years of age for male and female voluntary military service (16 years of age with parental consent); no conscription; Zambian citizenship required; grade 12 certification required; mandatory HIV testing on enlistment; mandatory retirement for officers at age 65 (Army, Air Force) (2012)
in 2004, Zimbabwe dropped objections to plans between Botswana and Zambia to build a bridge over the Zambezi River, thereby de facto recognizing a short, but not clearly delimited, Botswana-Zambia boundary in the river
transshipment point for moderate amounts of methaqualone, small amounts of heroin, and cocaine bound for southern Africa and possibly Europe; a poorly developed financial infrastructure coupled with a government commitment to combating money laundering make it an unattractive venue for money launderers; major consumer of cannabis