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The Republic of Zambia is a landlocked country in South-central Africa with a mild tropical climate. It is sparsely populated compared to some of the neighbouring countries. The population is young and predominantly rural. Zambia is severely affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic, which compromises social and economic gains the country is striving to attain. Mostly as a result of pandemic, life expectancy at birth has dropped sharply.
Zambia's economy has been traditionally dominated by the copper mining industry. However, following a sharp decline in copper earnings, the contribution of the agricultural sector to GDP has increased. Zambia has a huge agricultural potential, still largely untapped. The majority of the population is engaged in rain-fed subsistence farming. Reduced state support in the 1990s has led to a shift in crop production from maize, the staple food crop, to other crops (cassava and cash crops), but maize is still largely predominant. Livestock production remains far below its potential, notably due to recurrent drought and outbreaks of diseases.

 


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