Zambia: Overview. Sep 20, 2007 Zambia (pop. 12,158,000; GDP/cap US$551), to the east of Angola, was one of the richest countries in Africa in the 1960s. Now, it is one of the poorest. Its poverty can be ascribed largely to the legacy of the profoundly misguided, though not corrupt, President who led Zambia to independence in 1964, Kenneth Kaunda.