The Republic of Zambia is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. The neighbouring countries are the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania to the north-east, Malawi to the east, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia to the south, and Angola to the west. The capital city is Lusaka, located in the south-central part of the country. The population is concentrated mainly around the Lusaka in the south and the Copperbelt to the northwest.
On 24 October 1964, the protectorate was granted independence by the United Kingdom and became a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations. The new name of Zambia was derived from the Zambezi river which flows through the country.
About 68% of Zambians live below the recognised national poverty line, with rural poverty rates standing at about 78% and urban rates of 53%. Zambia ranked 117th out of 128 countries on the 2007 Global Competitiveness Index, which looks at factors that affect economic growth. Per capita annual incomes are currently at about one-half their levels at independence and, at $395, place the country among the world's poorest nations. Social indicators continue to decline, particularly in measurements of life expectancy at birth (about 40.9 years) and maternal mortality (830 per 100,000 pregnancies).