STEVEN MVULA, Lusaka
ZAMBIA and Germany yesterday signed a 107.5 million euros grant agreement for poverty reduction within the context of the Seventh National Development Plan.
Minister of Finance Felix Mutati signed on behalf of Zambia while German Ambassador to Zambia Achim Burkart did so on the part of his country.
“Your government continues to play a critical role in development co-operation for Zambia. The signing of this grant agreement is also a sign of investor confidence and that the economy is on the positive path,” Mr Mutati said.
Under this agreement, the funds will go to supporting the decentralisation process, urban and rural water and sanitation, sustainable electricity supply in the southern division and strengthening of local governance under phase three.
“This gesture today fits in well with our government’s development agenda, which has prioritised agriculture, infrastructure development, tourism, manufacturing and value addition.
“Decentralisation of local government remains at the pinnacle of this government and your support in this area is unquestionable and unparalleled,” Mr Mutati said.
And Mr Burkart said a systematic improvement of the domestic revenue base is key for Zambia’s future.
Mr Burkart said the current portfolio of the German development co-operation aligns well with the development needs of Zambia’s Vision 2030.
“Please, be assured that Germany stands ready to support you and your government in this important endeavour – as a true friend that will not shy away from critical comments, if indeed necessary,” Mr Burkart said.
On the political front, Mr Burkart described the release of United Party for National Development president Hakainde Hichilema from incarceration as a positive sign.
He said his government is looking forward to a reconciliation process that will leave behind the past.