NANCY SIAME, STEVEN MVULA, Lusaka
THE World Bank has given Zambia US$600 million for implementing various development programmes in the country over a period of three years.
World Bank Africa region vice-president Mkhtar Diop disclosed this at State House yesterday when he met President Lungu. The funds have been available under the bank’s International Development Association.
Special assistant to the President for press and public relations Amos Chanda told journalists after the closed door meeting that the US$600 million represents a 74 percent increase from what the bank previously gave Zambia.
“Some key components of this facility include the US$200 million already given to Government to connect rural areas by working on feeder roads,” he said.
Mr Chanda said of the US$600 million, US$150 million is for direct support to this year’s national budget.
The World Bank has also pledged full support to the economic stabilisation programme Government is undertaking.
Mr Chanda said the global financial institution is confident of the measures Government is taking to stabilise the economy, including the strides being made in the energy and agricultural sectors.
He said the financial institution has also pledged to give technical support to Zambia to ensure that the maize from this year’s bumper harvest does not go to waste.
And Mr Chanda said President Lungu thanked the bank for supporting Zambia and asked it to fully support the construction of the Batoka Gorge power station.
“The President also asked that support towards social protection be increased,” he said.
President Lungu further asked the World Bank to reconsider the loan it was advancing to Zambia for the refugee support programme.
Mr Chanda said the President would rather have grants or direct support to such programmes than loans.
Earlier, the bank’s vice-president said the institution will increase resource allocation to Zambia by 75 percent.
Mr Diop said this increase is an indication that the bank is fully behind Zambia in its implementation of the economic recovery programme.
He was speaking when he paid a courtesy call on Minister of Finance Felix Mutati.
And Mr Diop urged Zambia to quit programmes that are not working and concentrate on those yielding positive results for the country, especially in the agriculture and energy sectors.
Mr Diop said it is also important for Zambia to include academic institutions in the implementation of programmes as a way of encouraging home-grown solutions.
And Mr Mutati said Mr Diop’s remarks will remind Zambians that the partnership the country has with the World Bank is firm and well-founded.
“President Lungu will meet you later today [yesterday] just to underpin the co-operation we have had in the past,” he said.