Some Facts About Zambia (February 7, 2008)

Taken from Timothy and Zara Woos’ presentation of 22 November 2007.

Map of Africa

Zambia is a land-locked country towards the south of the African continent.  It has borders with the Congo, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Angola.  To the north of Zambia is the area known as the Copperbelt renowned for its mining activity.  Ndola, the city in which Timothy and Zara will live and work, is one of the urban areas that service the Copperbelt.

Map of Zambia

Zambia is more than 750,000 square kilometres in area—almost three times the area of New Zealand.  Its climate varies between hot and dry (August to November), hot and wet (November to April) and cool and dry (May to August).  October is the hottest month (15–32°C) while June is the coldest month (5–24°C).  January is the wettest month (351 mm rainfall, 22 wet days).

The capital of Zambia is Lusaka with a population of 1.8 million; other large cities include Kitwe (400,000) and Ndola (395,000).

Zambia’s total population is 11.9 million; 46% are under the age of 15; 3% are over 65.  It is one of the most urbanised countries in Africa with city dwellers making up 35% of the population.  English is the national language and there are seven major dialects, including Bemba which is spoken in the Copperbelt (including the cities of Ndola, Kitwe and Chingola).

AIDS is widespread: about 100,000 died of the disease in 2004.  There are more than 750,000 orphans; 17% (about 700,000) of the 15–49 age group has AIDS.  Life expectancy is 40.5 years, one of the lowest in the world.

According to the Human Development Index, Zambia ranks 165th out of 177 countries.  68% live in poverty, 87% earns less than US$2 per day, there are very serious unemployment problems.  46% are undernourished.

Zambia’s main industry is copper mining.  Half of the population are engaged in agricultural activities with maize being the principal cash crop as well as the staple food.  GDP (gross domestic product) per capita in 2005 was US$1,023 compared to New Zealand $24,996 and USA $41,890.

Religions comprise Christian 85% (Catholic 34%, Protestant 52% [about 25% evangelical]), traditional ethnic 12.5% and Muslim 1.5%.

There are many challenges facing the church and Christians in Zambia.  Many Zambians have become nominal Christians, due to a lack of Biblical teaching, and are turning to traditional cultural practices and beliefs that are contrary to God’s way.

There is a great need for a compassionate response by the church to the impending crisis of AIDS.  Young people face a bleak future, there is high unemployment, and many turn to crime.

There are many peoples who are hardly reached.  They include smaller tribes especially in the southwest, the shanty settlements at the outskirts of Lusaka and the cities of the Copperbelt.  The Indian community (largely Gujarati) has no church.  Muslims are active in propagating their religion.  Please pray for effective outreach to Muslims.

Leadership training is a priority in a land where many Christians are influenced by nominalism and syncretism (blending the Christian faith with paganism).  Zambia needs many spiritually and educationally qualified, mature leaders.

Theological institutes must play a greatly important part in supporting a Church that is to be pure and strong, bringing glory to God in everything that is said and done.

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