The currency of Zambia. Currency code (ZMW). Currency code was formally ZMK, until December 12, 2012.  2013 marked the start of the redenomination of the older Kwacha currency unit, approved the year before.

The Zambian Kwacha is the currency of Zambia, issued by the Bank of Zambia. The name Kwacha derives from the Nyanja and Bemba word for "dawn", alluding to the Zambian nationalist slogan of a "new dawn of freedom".

The Kwacha was divided into 100 ngwee, but rampant inflation has made the ngwee (and lower denominations of kwacha) unnecessary. Banknotes issued include denominations of 50, 100, 500, 1,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, and 50,000 Kwacha.

Economy

  • Zambia's economy has experienced strong growth in recent years, with real GDP growth more than 6% per year since 2005.
  • Copper output has increased, thanks to copper mine privatization, higher copper prices and more foreign investment.
  • Record high copper prices and a bumper maize crop in 2010 helped Zambia rebound quickly from the world economic slowdown that began in 2008.
  • Poverty remains a significant problem in Zambia, despite its stronger economy. Almost 70% of Zambians live below the national poverty line (almost 80% in rural areas).
  • Zambia ranks among the world's poorest nations in a variety of economic and social statistics and surveys: GDP per capita, competitiveness, life expectancy, infant mortality, and so on. A high birth rate and relatively high rate of HIV/AIDS put further strain on the economy.

History

  • Zambia gained independence from Great Britain in 1964. In 1968, the Zambian Kwacha replaced the Pound at a rate of two Kwacha = 1 Pound.
  • Kenneth Kaunda was the first president of Zambia in 1964, and stayed in office until 1991. During his regime, the value of the currency was fixed at a rate of approximately 1.2 Kwacha to 1 US Dollar. Until 1991, all Zambian banknotes featured a portrait of Kaunda on the obverse side (his image was later replaced by an African fish eagle).
  • A severe economic crisis stemming from poor government oversight and overspending contributed to high inflation throughout the 1990s and 2000s. By 2006, it took 4,800 Kwacha to buy one US Dollar. The currency has more recently stabilized.