Thursday, February 17

Maize Production

Maize, of course, is the main ingredient in the staple food in much of Southern Africa. Crop production is analyzed very carefully. Below is a list of Southern African countries and their maize production (Metric Tons) for 1999 and 2004:

Country---------1999------2004
Angola----------428,045---510,000
Botswana----------3796-----10,000
DRC----------1,199,000---1,155,030
Congo-------------6170--------6500
Kenya--------2,322,140---2,300,000
Lesotho--------124,549-----150,000
Malawi-------2,479,406----1,733,125
Mozambique--1,246,078---1,248,000
Namibia---------18,855------33,000
South Africa--7,946,000---8,311,000
Swaziland------124,057------70,000
Tanzania-----2,451,700---2,430,000
Zambia--------822,056----1,161,000
Zimbabwe---1,519,560----1,000,000
TOTAL---20,691,412---20,117,655

Changes depend on many factors. However, for Zambia at least, 2005's crop production looks good.

How Do I Apply For This Job?

According to the FAO, in 2002, the alligator/crocodile population in Zambia was 22,259. (For all of Africa, the population was 203,193.)

In 1992, Zambia's alligator/crocodile population was only 3,346. It seems the past decade has been good to them.

Get A Job!

According to Aneki.com, Zambia has the 4th highest level of unemployment in the world, at 50%. Only Liberia, Kiribati, and Zimbabwe have higher unemployment levels.

This isn't the only World Indicator in which Zambia is lagging behind.

2000 Census Reveals Widespread Goats Rearing

Goat, or mbuzi, was my favorite meat in Zambia; it's soft and flavorful. Goats were about $10/head, and could feed a small party -- or about 15 people -- easily. I don't really know why we don't eat goats in the US.

According to Zambia's Central Statistical Office:

"The 2000 Census reveals that 454,629 agricultural households are involved in raising livestock. Various types of livestock are raised with the following being raised by a significant number of households namely; cattle, goats, pigs and sheep. Most of the households raise goats, accounting for 39 percent of all livestock raising households, followed closely by cattle-raising households at 35 percent. The likely reason for households raising goats more than cattle is due to the fact that goats are less susceptible to diseases such as corridor disease, foot and mouth disease than cattle. Goats are also less costly to raise. There were very few households that raised donkeys."

Know why? You don't eat donkeys.

Electricity Creation: Shocking!

Electricity production in Zambia is almost entirely generated from the dam at Lake Kariba. In 2002, for example, Zambia generated 9109 GWh of electricity through:
Coal -- 15 GWh
Oil -- 35 GWh
Hydro -- 9059 GWh

That's it. (Of course, Zimbabwe only generated 8587 GWh, Kenya 4528, Tanzania 2994, and Namibia 1454.)

For comparison purposes, the US generated its 4,017,509 GWh of energy through:
Coal -- 2,047,247 GWh
Oil – 98546
Gas – 712444
Biomass – 45806
Waste – 24611
Nuclear – 804519
Hydro – 258366
Geothermal – 14939
Solar PV – 3
Solar thermal – 569
Other sources – 10459

Wednesday, February 16

Duly Elected

Recently, I mentioned that Mwanawasa might be in trouble due to irregularities in the 2001 election. However, the Zambian High Court just announced that, "We are satisfied that the elections, while not totally conforming to standard practice, were in line with electoral rules and practice," said Chief Justice Ernest Sakala.

CR May Not CYA!

When I lived in Zambia, the most common way for me to get from Lusaka to Eastern Province was to take public transportation. The 8-hour-ride cost about $9. At the time, the most important thing was that the bus always left on time, something that rarely happens in Zambia.

I recently learned that my "preferred transporter," CR Carriers, violated Zambia's environmental laws recently when they were caught illegally dumping oil and garbage into Lusaka's drainage system. They were subsequently fined K28 million.

Upon further investigation, I see that CR Carriers has had a number of problems lately. For example:
  1. A couple in Mpika has threatened to take CR Carriers to court over their 12-year old boy who was disabled in a traffic accident involving one of the passenger transport company buses.
  2. Police have picked up three people in connection with the shooting to death of a CR Carriers Bus Service employee in a K100 million robbery. One of the trio is a former employee of the bus company.
  3. Four people died in 2001 after a CR Carriers bus collided with a Volvo truck at Katuba bridge on the Great East Road.

I have a friend who was on the bus when it hit a cyclist. Her trip was delayed about an hour while the police filled out the report. The biker died.

Sharks Of The Sky

The Taita Falcon is "a smallish bird (about 28cm) which is a rare localized resident mainly found in Zimbabwe. Its habitat is cliffs and gorges while breeding and otherwise nearby woodlands. It is usually found singly or in pairs, hunting by swooping from the crags. The main diet is small birds."

Teita Falcon (image courtesy of mangoverde.com)

For an interesting account of tracking Africa's rarest avian raptor (plus some great photos), visit David Maritz's website.

If you want to see the Taita Falcon first-hand, maybe you'd like to stay at the Taita Falcon Lodge:

Teita Falcon Lodge (image courtesy of zambiatourism.com)

I could eat breakfast overlooking the Mighty Zambezi.

"Lumbanyeni Zambia"

In my experience, Zambians are very confident singers; even those who are bad sing loud and proud. It's a good thing, I guess, because the Zambian National Anthem is a difficult song. Nevertheless, it's very beautiful, and the lyrics are powerful.

BTW -- ("Lumbanyeni Zambia" translates as "Stand and Sing of Zambia, Proud and Free.")

Tuesday, February 15

I Got Blogged, Version 2.0!

This afternoon, I discovered Tony Sheng's blog about mobilizing students to perform community service. It's interesting, and he's clearly passionate about his work.

I was pleased and surprised that he had blogged ZAMblog! And he had had the good taste to blog one of my more insightful posts, in which I deconstructed what makes a good well. Thanks, Tony.

Tongabezi Lodge

I've never stayed at the Tongabezi Lodge, but it looks and sounds great!
"The Honeymoon House has a private balcony for romantic dinners. The Tree House is hewn into a cliff face and has awesome views. Each house has a huge open-air sunken baths in each room. There are five River Cottages situated along the river bank."
Only 20 kilometers upstream from Vic Falls, this might be one of the coolest places anywhere.

Tongabezi (image courtesy of zambia.za.net)

Depending on the season you visit, the rates are $360-500 per person. Gulp.

Duh.

If you are interested in "safari etiquette," Zambia's online travel resource offers several tips. Among them is: "Never tease or corner wild animals." Hmm. Interesting.

Chiluba Trial Suspended

As earlier blogged, former President Chiluba has been charged with 169 counts of corruption, abuse of power and theft totalling $43-million. However, a Lusaka magistrate has suspended the trial, pending a constitutional matter being decided in the High Court. And so, we wait . . .

Do Over?

Three years after Mwanawasa was elected President, the Zambian Supreme Court will rule tomorrow whether Zambia's 2001 election was valid. If they rule the election null, Zambia may be forced to organize "emergency elections."

Decentralization = Devil?

The Danish government announced it would infuse $35 million into the ministries of local government and housing, and energy and water development. The four-year water sector support program aims to improve access to safe water and sanitation, food security, and health of low-income rural and urban residents. Obviously, this is great news for hundreds of thousands of Zambians with poor water and sanitation, and I applaud the Danish government for their contribution.

Every few years some international agency undertakes a similar project: decentralize the power, resources, and decision-making, and allow local officials to decide what's best for the local communities. In theory, this works great. In practice, however, what sometimes happens is that the local officials are corrupt and run off with the cash and/or the materials. In countries with poor records of local governance, decentralization can be a devil.

Be Art Smart

Zambia doesn't really nurture young artists; therefore, there isn't an overabundance of art in the country. However, if you are interested in seeing some of these fabulous paintings (by artists such as Enock Ilunga), there are many are on display in the Lusaka National Museum.

Further, you can find traditional carvings (masks, tables, chairs, etc.) on many streetcorners throughout Lusaka and in the more "touristy" rural areas. Be sure to check out the hand-carved backgammon boards; the three-legged tables; and the "Chief's Chairs"!

Monday, February 14

Carjacking

Although I never experienced a car-jacking in Zambia, I know several people who did.

The American Embassy in Zambia provides tips on how to avoid a carjacking in Lusaka. Tip #4 includes the invaluable advice: "If the robbers are carrying firearms, you should not flee. Your vehicle cannot escape a bullet."

Happy Valentine's Day!

I've blogged before about Zambia's poor roads. Well, it looks as though someone was listening! Today, the EU agreed to give nearly $91 million to refurbish Zambia's roads for "the economic upliftment of rural areas" (read: to get crops to market).

Interestingly, according to IRIN, "Zambia has 8,500 km of gravel road, 21,680 km of dirt road and about 30,000 km of community road networks, comprising tracks, trails and footpaths."

ARVs For Free

Not to be outdone by UNZA, new funds from The Global Fund To Fight AIDS have enabled the government to extend its free treatment program to all Zambian citizens.

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