Zambia Country Facts

By | April 21, 2024
Capital city Lusaka
Surface 752.618 km²
Population 16,591,000
Road network length 20,117 km
Length of highway network 0 km
First highway N/A
Motorway name N/A
Traffic drives Left
License plate code RNR

Zambia, formally the Republic of Zambia is a large country in southern Africa. The country is approximately 19 times the size of the Netherlands and has 16 million inhabitants. The capital is Lusaka.


Zambia is located on the transition from Central to Southern Africa and is bordered to the north by the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania, to the east by Malawi and Mozambique, to the south by Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia and to the west by Angola.. The capital Lusaka is centrally located in the country. A protrusion of the DRC almost divides the country in two. The country measures a maximum of 1,250 kilometers east-west and 820 kilometers north-south. However, the narrowest part is a maximum of 180 kilometers wide between the DRC and Mozambique. The country mainly consists of a plateau with few major differences in height. Only along the border with Zimbabwe and in the central north are mountain ridges. The Kongera is the highest point at 2,187 meters. By far the most important river is the Zambezi, which forms the border with Zimbabwe.

The country has a tropical climate, which is tempered by the altitude. A large part of the country is at an altitude of 1,100 to 1,500 meters, which means that the temperatures are less extreme. The average maximum temperature in the capital Lusaka ranges from 24°C in winter to 30°C in summer. Precipitation mainly falls in the summer from November to March, outside of that there is virtually no precipitation. In Lusaka, almost 900 mm of precipitation falls per year, comparable to the Netherlands but differently distributed.


The population of Zambia grew from approximately 4 million in 1960 to 13 million in 2010. The capital Lusaka is by far the largest city in the country with 1.7 million inhabitants. Outside the capital Lusaka there are a number of large cities in the north, the so-called Copperbelt, with Chingola, Kitwe, Ndola and Luanshya. In the south is the city of Livingstone, in the east there are no large cities. There are a total of 10 cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants.

Zambia has approximately 73 ethnic groups, most of which are Bantu tribes. Several languages ​​are spoken, with English being the official language and acting more or less as the lingua franca. Other languages ​​are mainly regionally bound, Bemba is the most widely spoken indigenous language.


Zambia is a developing country where a large part of the population works in agriculture, often for their own food supply. The main industry is mining, Zambia is one of the largest copper producers in the world, which also accounts for a large part of the country’s exports. Copper is mainly mined in the so-called Copperbelt in the central north of the country, near the border with Congo. This is also where most of Zambia’s major cities are located, except for the capital Lusaka. Zambia’s economy is heavily dependent on copper revenues. The main economic regions of the country are Lusaka in the south and the Copperbelt in the north. The west and east of Zambia are mostly sparsely populated and rural areas without many industrial assets.


The area was originally settled by the Khoisan, but from the 13th century onwards it was dominated by the expansion of Bantu tribes, as happened in much of the interior of Africa. The first European in the area was a Portuguese explorer in the late 18th century, who came from Mozambique. In the mid-19th century, more British explorers came to the area, including the famous David Livingstone. At the end of the 19th century, three British protectorates arose in the area, also known as the three Rhodesias. In 1911, two protectorates were merged into Northern Rhodesia, or Northern Rhodesia, named after the Briton Cecil Rhodes who made a name for himself mining in this part of Africa in the late 1800s.

In 1953 three British colonies were merged, these were Northern Rhodesia (Zambia), Southern Rhodesa (Zimbabwe) and Nyasaland (Malawi), which was called the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. This area had a certain degree of self-government. Northern Rhodesia became independent from the United Kingdom in 1964. The independent country had formidable problems, with almost no people capable of forming the government. Zambia’s first president was Kenneth Kaunda, who served as president from 1964 to 1991. Under Kaunda, relations with neighboring Zimbabwe deteriorated. In 1975 a railway was completed to Dar es Salaam, making Zambia less dependent on South Africa. However, in the mid-1970s the price of copper dropped significantly, quickly depreciating Zambia’s main source of income and sending the country into an economic depression.

Kaunda resigned in 1991 and since then Zambia has been a relatively stable country with a growing economy, still heavily based on copper. The country was militarily involved in the war in Congo and also had to deal with refugees from the conflicts in neighboring Angola and Mozambique.

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