Zambia Factsheet


752 614 km2



13 Million



Zambia enjoys a sub-tropical climate with three distinct seasons. The hot and dry season starts in mid-August and ends in November with temperatures that range between 26oC and 38oC; the cool dry season (May to mid-August) with temperatures that range between 13oC and 26oC and the rainy season from November to April. During the rainy season the temperature ranges from 27oC to 34oC. The rainfall is unimodal and is influenced by the movement of the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). The rainfall increases from an annual average of 600 mm in the lower south to 1300 mm in the upper north of the country.

Natural Resources:

Agriculture constitutes 21.5%, industry 34.5% and services 44.1%. Copper remains the main source of foreign earnings for the country.


There are three main categories of agricultural practices in Zambian: small-scale, medium, and large scale. Small-scale are mostly subsistence producers of staple foods with an occasional surplus for sale on local markets. Medium-scale farmers produce surplus maize and other cash crops mainly for the local market, while large-scale farmers produce mainly cash crops and livestock for the domestic and international markets. Agricultural foods producing crops and industrial crops include coffee, tea, pyrethrum (insecticide made from chrysanthemums), bananas, beans, sorghum, potatoes, and livestock. Export crops mainly include coffee, tea and horticulture.

Climate Vulnerabilities:

Major climatic threats affecting this sector are excessive precipitation leading to water logging, erosion and hindrance to field operation, increased frequency of droughts in terms of seasonal, shortening of the growing season, and flash floods – all have negative impacts on food security, livelihoods and adaptive capacity of the vulnerable communities.  Increased cases of malaria and major epidemics of cholera and other water-borne diseases are associated with floods and increased temperature regimes. Drought significantly affect wildlife habitat through changes in rangelands causing desert-type conditions to occur. In addition scarcity of water undermines wildlife health. Further, the regeneration of forest resources are negatively impacted by drought and climatic changes that affect the resilience of forest vegetation types could grossly affect income and welfare of the communities.



Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone: also known as the doldrums or Intertropical Front (ITF) is the area encircling the earth near the equator where winds originating in the northern and southern hemispheres come together. It occurs near the equator, from about 5° north and 5° south, the northeast trade and southeast trade winds converge in a low pressure zone. As warm, humid air converges on this zone, it rises and cools, forming clouds and frequent, heavy showers. The location of the ITCZ varies throughout the year and while it remains near the equator, the ITCZ over land ventures farther north or south than the ITCZ over the oceans due to the variation in land temperatures. The location of the ITCZ can vary as much as 40° to 45° of latitude north or south of the equator based on the pattern of land and ocean.

Sub-tropical climate: are zones in a range of latitudes between 30/40° and 45° in both hemispheres. Data recovery and analysis in these zones will show that the hot season duration is longer, while the cold season is milder and rainy. A sub-type is the Mediterranean climate. They are zones typical of parts of the Earth immediately north and south of the tropical zone, which is bounded by the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, at latitudes 23.5°N and 23.5°S respectively. 

Unimodal rainfall pattern: a term normally used to refer to one rainy season each year.