Large and landlocked Zambia is found in the center of southern Africa and shares several of its key geographical and economic features with neighboring Zimbabwe—the Victoria Falls, Lake Kariba (and its hydroelectric capacity), and a stretch of the Zambezi River. It also borders the southern tip of Lake Tanganyika and Tanzania, as well as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, and Malawi.

Zambia also has one of the world's fastest growing populations with the UN projecting that its population will triple by 2050.

But economic growth and massive Chinese investment have failed to improve the lives of most Zambians, with two-thirds still living in poverty.

Facts

Population: 16.5 million

Capital: Lusaka

Area: 752,614 sq km (290,586 sq miles)

Major languages: English (official), Bemba, Lozi, Nyanja, Tonga

Major religions: Christianity, indigenous beliefs, Hinduism, Islam

Life expectancy: 59 years (men), 64 years (women)

Currency: Kwacha

UN, World Bank