Lusaka is the capital and largest city of Zambia. It is one of the fastest developing cities in southern Africa. Lusaka is in the southern part of the central plateau. Lusaka is the centre of both commerce and government in Zambia and connects to the country's four main highways heading north, south, east and west. English is the official language of the city administration, while Nyanja and Bemba are the commonly spoken street languages
The earliest evidence of settlement in the area dates to the 6th century AD, with the first known settlement in the 11th century. It was then home to the Lenje and Soli peoples from the 17th or 18th century. The founding of the modern city occurred in 1905 when it lay in the British protectorate of Northern Rhodesia, which was controlled by the British South African Company (BSAC). The BSAC built a railway linking their mines in the Copperbelt to Cape Town and Lusaka was designated as a water stop on that line, named after a local Lenje chief called Lusaaka. White Afrikaner farmers then settled in the area and expanded Lusaka into a regional trading centre, taking over its administration. In 1929, five years after taking over control of Northern Rhodesia from the BSAC, the British colonial administration decided to move their capital to Lusaka was chosen. Town planners including Stanley Adshead worked on the project, and the city was built out over the subsequent decades.
Lusaka was named as the capital of newly independent Zambia in 1964. A large-scale building programme in the city followed, including government buildings, the University of Zambia and a new airport. Wealthy suburbs in Lusaka include Woodlands, Ibex Hill and Rhodes Park. Large-scale migration of people from other areas of Zambia occurred both before and after independence, and a lack of sufficient formal housing led to the emergence of numerous unplanned shanty towns on the city's western and southern fringes.
Lusaka is the economic and financial hub of Zambia, serving as the country's main gateway to the rest of the world and largest business centre. Although district-level GDP figures are not recorded in Zambia, on a provincial level Lusaka Province had the second-highest gross domestic product in Zambia in 2014, contributing 27.2 per cent of the national output, a figure narrowly below that of the resource-rich Copperbelt Province.
Lusaka's economy is dominated by the service sector, as well as wholesale and retail trade. Major employment areas in the city include finance, insurance, real estate, transport, communications, energy, construction and manufacturing. The headquarters of Zambian banks are located in the city, as is the Lusaka Stock Exchange, which launched in 1993.
Retail Lusaka is home to the largest and most numerous shopping centres in the country, including Manda Hill, Levy Junction, EastPark, Cosmopolitan, and the smaller but well-known Arcade Shopping Centre. It also has newly built shopping malls such as Lewanika shopping mall, Centro mall, Novare Pinnacle malls in woodlands and along the Great North Road.
Lusaka is rated High Sufficiency by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network (GaWC) which evaluates and ranks the relationships between world cities in the context of globalisation. High Sufficiency level cities are cities that have a sufficient degree of services so as not to be overly dependent on world cities.
Lusaka was ranked #1119 by the Nomad List which evaluates and ranks remote work hubs by cost, internet, fun and safety. Lusaka has a population of over 1,747,152 people. Lusaka also forms part of the wider Lusaka metropolitan area which has a population of over 2,906,000 people.
Lusaka is twinned with: Dushanbe, Tajikistan, • Beirut, Lebanon, • Udon Thani, Thailand, • Los Angeles, United States, • Izhevsk, Russia.