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Republic of Zambezi
Jamhuri ya Zambezi

Motto: Diverse Unity
Mbalimbali Unity
Anthem: For we are one
Maana sisi ni moja
Location of Zambezi (dark blue) in Africa
African Union members in light blue
and largest city
Official languages
Recognised regional languages Portuguese
Ethnic groups (2017)
Demonym Zambezian
Government Unitary Presidential Constitutional Republic
 -  President Donovan Dovutwa
 -  Vice-President Anna Ujamaa
 -  Prime Minister Mzuzi Hamidi
Legislature National Assembly
 -  German East Africa 27 February 1891 
 -  Treaty of Versailles 28 June 1919 
 -  Independence 9 October 1962 
 -  Democracy restored 12 May 1987 
 -  Current Constitution 24 May 1998 
 -  485,819 km2
187,576 sq mi
 -  Water (%) 2.05%
 -  2017 estimate 28,162,039 (11)
 -  2015 census 25,456,915
 -  Density 52.4/km2
135.7/sq mi
GDP (PPP) estimate
 -  Total $77.95 billion (27)
 -  Per capita $3,062 (31)
HDI (2016).502
low · 31
Currency Zambezi Shilling (ZBS)
Time zone EAT (TUC+3)
Date format dd-mm-yyyy, AD
Drives on the left
Calling code +259
Internet TLD .zz

Zambezi, officially the Republic of Zambezi (Swahili: Jamhuri ya Zambezi) is a country in Eastern Africa within the African Great Lakes region. It is considered to be part of Southern Africa. It is bordered by Tanzania to the North, Malawi and Lake Niassa to the West, and Mozambique to the South; and by the Indian Ocean to the East.

Zambezi's population of 25.5 million (2015) is is diverse, composed of several ethnic, linguistic and religious groups. Zambezi is a presidential constitutional republic, and since 1988, the official capital city has been Nacala, which became the capital city after democracy was restored after a brutal, decades-long civil war, lasting from 1964 to 1987. The President's Office, the National Assembly, and all other government ministries are located in Nacala. It is also the the largest city, principal port, and leading commercial centre.

European colonialism began in mainland Zambezi during the late 19th century when Germany formed German East Africa, which gave way to British rule following World War I. The mainland was governed as a separate entity from Tanganyika and the Zanzibar Archipelago, remaining a separate colonial jurisdiction. Zambezi was offered to join in the union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar to form the United Republic of Tanzania, but declined to do so.

Over 100 different languages are spoken in Tanzania, making it the most linguistically diverse countries in East Africa. Among the languages spoken in Tanzania are all four of Africa's language families: Bantu, Languages|Cushitic, Nilotic, and Khoisan. Swahili and English are Zambezi's official languages. A highly multilingual country, English is used in parliamentary debate, in the high and lower courts, as a medium of instruction in primary school, foreign trade, diplomacy, and as a medium of instruction in secondary and higher education. Although the Zambezian government plans to discontinue English as a language of instruction altogether, in favor of Swahili, as the language is used by approximately 90% of Zambezians as a first language and second language. Most Zambezians thus speak both Swahili and a local language; many educated Zambezians are trilingual; also speaking English. The widespread use and promotion of Swahili is contributing to the decline of smaller languages in the country. Young children increasingly speak Swahili as a first language, mostly in urban areas. On the contrary, Portuguese is frequently used in the border regions of Zambezi Sahihi and Kusini Zambezi, where it is used as a majority-language in urban areas, especially the capital cities, Legula and Qualimane respectively.


Zambezi is named after the Zambezi River, which forms the southern border with Mozambique. Zambezi originates from numerous European contacts in the region, as by 1552, Portuguese chronicler João de Barros notes that the Cuama river was called Zembere by the inland people of Monomatapa. The Portuguese Dominican friar João dos Santos, visiting Monomatapa in 1597, reported it as Zambeze (Bantu languages frequently shifts between z and r) and inquired into the origins of the name; he was told it was named after a people.

Map by Willem Janszoon Blaeu, dated 1635, showing the course of the Zambezi, and its source in a great lake.
"The River Cuama is by them called Zambeze; the head whereof is so farre within Land that none of them know it, but by tradition of their Progenitors say it comes from a Lake in the midst of the continent which yeelds also other great Rivers, divers ways visiting the Sea. They call it Zambeze, of a Nation of Cafres dwelling neere that Lake which are so called." —J. Santos Ethiopia Oriental, 1609

Thus the term "Zambezi" is after a people who live by a great lake to the north. The most likely candidates are the "M'biza", or Bisa people, a Bantu people who live in what is now central-eastern Zambia, between the Zambezi River and Lake Bangweolo.

However, the Bisa-derived etymology is not without dispute. In 1845, W.D. Cooley, examining Pereira's notes, concluded the term "Zambezi" derives not from the Bisa people, but rather from the Bantu term "mbege"/"mbeze" ("fish"), and consequently it probably means merely "river of fish". David Livingstone, who reached the upper Zambezi in 1853, refers to it as "Zambesi" but also makes note of the local name "Leeambye" used by the Lozi people, which he says means "large river or river par excellence".

In early German records, the old "Cuama River" term disappeared and gave way to the term "Zambesi". In 1752, the Zambezi delta, under the name "Rivers of Sena" (Rios de Sena) formed a colonial administrative district under German East Africa. Eventually, "Zambezi" had become known as the name for the entire district, even after German and British rule.



The indigenous populations of eastern Africa are thought to be the click speaking Hadza and Sandawe hunter-gatherers of Zambezi.

he first wave of migration was by Southern Cushitic speakers, who are ancestral to the Iraqw, Gorowa, and Burunge and who moved south from Tanzania into Zambezi. Based on linguistic evidence, there may also have been two movements into Zambezi of western Bantu people at about 4,000 and 2,000 years ago, originating from north of Lake Niassa.

Between 2,900 and 2,400 years ago, large-scale settlements of the iron-making Mashariki Bantu from West Africa in the Lake Victoria and Lake Tanganyika areas migrrated and settled into much of the current territory of Zambezi. They brought with them the west African planting tradition and the primary staple of yams. They subsequently migrated out of these regions across the rest of Zambezi between 2,300 and 1,700 years ago.

Travellers and merchants from the Persian Gulf and India have visited the east African coast since early in the first millennium A.D. Islam was practised by some on the Swahili Coast as early as the eighth or ninth century A.D.


In 1498, the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama visited the Zambezian coast. Later, in 1506, the Portuguese succeeded in controlling most of the Southeast African littoral.

In the late 19th century, Imperial Germany conquered the regions of Mozambique north of the Zambezi River from Portugal and incorporated them into German East Africa. This lasted just 28 years as the post–World War I accords and the League of Nations charter designated the area a British Mandate, becoming a British territory until it's independence in 1962.

During World War II, about 50,000 people from Zambezi joined the Allied forces and were among the 425,000 Africans who fought with those forces. Zambezians fought in units of the King's African Rifles during the East African Campaign in Somalia and Abyssinia against the Italians, in Madagascar against the Vichy French during the Madagascar Campaign, and in Burma against the Japanese during the Burma Campaign. Zambezi was home to a large quanities of food sources during these wars, and in turn, greatly increasing their export income compared to the pre-war years of the Great Depression. Wartime demand, however, caused increased commodity prices and massive inflation within the colony.


By the early 1950s, the people of the colony were growing increasingly frustrated with British rule, and so the politically oriented Zambezi National Union (ZNU) was formed under the guidance of Rashidi Kawawa, and within a year became the leading political party within the country. Kawawa became Minister of British-administered Zambezi in 1960 and continued as prime minister when Zambezi became independent in 1962.

British rule came to an end on 9 October 1962, but for the first year of independence, Zambezi had a governor general who represented the British monarch. On 16 May 1962, Zambezi became a democratic republic under an executive president.

In 1968, Kawawa's first presidency took a turn to the left after the Arusha Declaration, which codified a commitment to socialism as well-as Pan-Africanism. After the declaration, banks, and many large industries were nationalised.

Zambezi followed a strict guideline through the late 1970s to keep all developments and activity within Zambezi Zamezian owned and controlled. This proved disastrous as the economy took a turn for the worse after it's economic policies ended up suffocating the economy when it could not keep up with the rest of the world.

From the mid-1980s, the government financed itself by borrowing from the International Monetary Fund and underwent some reforms. Since then, Zambezi's gross domestic product per capita has grown and poverty has been reduced, according to a report by the World Bank. Although it still remains as one of the most underdeveloped nations in the world.

In 1987, the Constitution of Zambezi was amended to allow multiple political parties. In Zambezi 's first multi-party elections, held in 1990, the ruling Abeid Karume won 119 of the 156 elected seats in the National Assembly, and Aboud Jumbe was elected as president.

The five colours of the Zambezian flag (green, red, yellow, black and white), have certain meanings. The yellow means the sun, the red is for all those that have fought for the nation, the green is for the bush and grass and rainforest, and the black is for the colour of the people's skin. The three white stars each represent Peace, the People and the Country itself.

Recent History

Zambezi, like other Sub-Saharan nations, is currently going through a large HIV/AIDS epidemic. Approximately 8.5% of the population lives with the disease, adding up to over two million people. Although current treatments and awareness campaigns have reduced the risk of the virus by over 50%, as more and more Zambezians are being put on a government-funded free HIV/AIDS treatments.

Zambezi's population is one of the fastest growing in the world, growing by an estimated 2 1/2 million people in just two years. This is contributed to the high birth rate, which can be as high as 8 children per women in some regions. Although the birth rates are lower in urban areas, although this hasn't slowed growth, as more people are moving into these regions (Nacala and Pemba specifically) than ever before, with Nacala expected to have as many as 10 million inhabitants by 2030.


Satellite view of Zambezi.


Zambezi map of Köppen climate classification.







Administrative subdivisions

Regions of Zambezi.

Foreign relations

Bilateral relations

Multilateral relations


Economy and infrastructure



Industry and construction



Water supply


According to the 2015 census, the total population was 25,456,915 . The under 15 age group represented 47.3% of the population.

The population distribution in Zambezi is extremely uneven. Most people live on the eastern coastline or along the shores of Lake Niassa, with much of the remainder of the country being sparsely populated. Density varies from 10 per square kilometre (3.8/sq mi) in the Niassa Region to 5,827 per square kilometre (2249.817/sq mi) in the Nacala Region.

Approximately 60% of the population is rural, although this percentage has been declining since at least 1967. Nacala (population 5,203,827) is the capital, largest city and commercial capital.

The population consists of over 100 ethnic groups. The Sukuma, Nyamwezi, Chagga, and Haya peoples have more than 1 million members each. Approximately 99% of Zambezians are of African descent, with small numbers of Arab, European, and Asian descent. The majority of Zambezians, including the Sukuma and the Nyamwezi, are Bantu.

As of 1994, the Asian community numbered 20,000 in total, with an estimated 30,000 Arabs and 20,000 Europeans living in Zambezi.

Some albinos in Zambezi have been the victims of violence in recent years. Attacks are often to hack off the limbs of albinos in the perverse superstitious belief that possessing the bones of albinos will bring wealth. The country has banned witch doctors to try to prevent the practice, but it has continued and albinos remain targets.

According to 2015 Zambezi government statistics, the total fertility rate in Tanzania was 5.7 children born per woman, with 4.0 in urban areas, and 6.5 in rural areas. For all women aged 45–49, 38.2% had given birth to eight or more children, and for currently married women in that age group, 45.0% had given birth to that many children.

Largest cities or towns in Zambezi
National Statistics of Zambezi
Rank Name Region Pop. Rank Name Region Pop.


1 Nacala Nacala 5,203,827 11 Songea Ruvuma 222,837 Lumbo


2 Pemba Delgado 1,225,928 12 Lichinga Msawise 202,287
3 Lumbo Pemcama 676,928 13 Morrua Nampula 165,827
4 Mtwara Mtwara 487,928 14 Palma Mtwara 143,728
5 Pebane Nampula 420,716 15 Cuamba Niassa 137,827
6 Legula Zambezi Sahihi 387,209 16 Manda Njombe 110,279
7 Qualimane Kusini Zambezi 375,826 17 Namialo Pemcama 101,726
8 Montepuez Delgado 315,726 18 Mocuba Zambezi Sahihi 92,736
9 Njombe Njombe 254,029 19 Marrupa Msawise 87,726
10 Mbamba Ludewa 227,837 20 Tunduru Ruvuma 81,726