In January 2003, the Zambian government informed the International Monetary Fund and World Bank that it wished to renegotiate some of the agreed performance criteria calling for privatization of the Zambia National Commercial Bank and the national telephone and electricity utilities. Although agreements were reached on these issues, subsequent overspending on civil service wages delayed Zambia’s final HIPC debt forgiveness from late 2003 to early 2005, at the earliest. In an effort to reach HIPC completion in 2004, the government drafted an austerity budget for 2004, freezing civil service salaries and increasing the number of taxes. The tax hike and public sector wage freeze prohibited salary increases and new hires. This sparked a nationwide strike in February 2004.
The Zambian government is pursuing an economic diversification program to reduce the economy’s reliance on the copper industry. This initiative seeks to exploit other components of Zambia’s rich resource base by promoting agriculture, tourism, gemstone mining, and hydro-power.
Zambia has a fairly well developed railway network that includes connections to four neighboring countries (DRC, Malawi, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe).
In the 1970s, Zambia had one of the best roadway systems in Africa but in more recent years it has heavily deteriorated due to delayed maintenance.
Zambia has 8 airports with paved runways as well as 80 more airports that do not have paving. The national carrier, Zambia Airways failed and since 2009 small regional airlines provide charter and some scheduled services. International services reach at least 8 countries, 3 in the Middle East, and are concentrated at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport outside Lusaka.
Flag of Zambia:
The flag of Zambia is the national flag of Zambia. It was adopted upon independence on 24 October 1964, by the first Republican President Dr. Kenneth David Kaunda. Before that, Zambia was the British protectorate of Northern Rhodesia and used a defaced Blue Ensign as its flag.
The current flag is used as both national flag and ensign. It is green with an orange-colored African fish eagle in flight over a rectangular block of three vertical stripes, colored, from left to right: red, black and orange. The placement of the eagle and block of stripes at the flag’s fly is notable as most emblems and devices on flags are placed at center or at the hoist. Green stands for the nation’s lush flora, red for the nation’s struggle for freedom, black for the Zambian people, and orange for the land’s natural resources and mineral wealth. Additionally, the eagle flying above the colored stripes is intended to represent the people’s ability to rise above the nation’s problems.
The Zambian flag was slightly modified in 1996. The shade of green used in the 1964 flag was replaced with brighter and lighter green and the eagle was slightly altered so as to be more like the one used in the Zambian coat of arms.