AfDB to fund US$10,5m projects
Oliver Kazunga Bulawayo Bureau
THE African Development Bank (AfDB) will avail US$10,5 million to finance three projects in Zimbabwe over 30 to 48 months to support socio-economic development.
The three initiatives are Energy Sector Reform Support Technical Assistance, Institutional Support to Governance and Public Finance Management project and Sustainable Enterprise Development for Women and Youth.
Speaking during a joint virtual launch of the three initiatives yesterday, AfDB country manager Ms Moono Mupotola said the projects were approved by the institution towards the end of last year.
“The three projects (the Energy Sector Reform Support technical Assistance Programme, Institutional Support to Governance and Public Finance Management Project, and Sustainable Enterprise Development for Women and Youth) are critical to improving the socio-economic development of the people of Zimbabwe, including youth and women. Each one of the three projects has a funding allocation of US$3,5 million bringing the total value to US$10,5 million over a period ranging from 30 to 48 months,” she said.
The Energy Sector Reform Support Technical Assistance Programme aims to improve the availability of reliable electricity supply through facilitating the creation of an enabling environment for promoting independent power producers and to support further integration of renewable energy power generation capacity.
“On the other hand, the Institutional Support for Governance and Public Finance Management Project aims at promoting macro-stability by strengthening public sector effectiveness and accountability.
“The specific objectives are to improve public debt management and support Zimbabwe’s strategy for arrears clearance; enhance public sector effectiveness through strengthening the public procurement system; and enhance inclusive governance and accountability by enhancing the oversight role of Parliament,” said Ms Mupotola.
On its part, she said the Sustainable Enterprise Development for Women and Youth Project aims to economically empower youth and women in agricultural and small-scale mining sectors from situations of economic vulnerability. This would be achieved by addressing capacity gaps and creating enabling environment to stimulate value addition and beneficiation along the target value chains as well as to improve decent job creation for the skilled and semi-skilled youth and women in Hauna (Manicaland), Mutoko (Mashonaland East), Karoi (Mashonaland West), Masvingo, Bulawayo, and Matabeleland North provinces.
“The projects being launched today were developed in line with the AfDB Country Brief for Zimbabwe 2021-2023 that was approved by the board in May 2021, which focuses on the two pillars namely: enhancing the productive capacity and resilience of the private sector including in mining and agriculture value chains, and improving good governance and enhancing accountability.
“The bank’s country brief’s priority areas are aligned with Zimbabwe’s National Development Strategy 1: 2021–2025 (NDS1) and the bank’s 10-Year Strategy 2013–2022 whose focus is on inclusive green growth and overarching issues of gender, women and youth employment opportunities, and a private sector driven economic growth,” said Ms Mupotola.
The projects are further aligned with AfDB’s strategy for “Addressing Fragility and Building Resilience in Africa” as well as the Southern Africa Regional Integration Strategy for 2020–2026.
“All these policies are premised on improving the environment for economic development and to build resilience as well as opening the space for private sector participation in growing the country’s economy mainly in the mining and agricultural value chains and increasing the country’s opportunities to penetrate regional markets for goods and services,” she said.
Ms Mupotola said the project launch was an important step in AfDB’s project cycle process as it enables all stakeholders to understand and prepare them to play their rightful roles throughout the project implementation period.
“During this week, we will share in more detail the projects’ implementation approach/arrangements, financial management, procurement and disbursement management arrangements, progress monitoring, evaluation and reporting arrangements, and social and environmental safeguard arrangements to ensure that the development objectives of the projects are achieved efficiently and timely.
“Most of the procedures with regard to all the fiduciary and safeguard requirements are the same, and that is why we considered it necessary to have a joint launch,” she said.
Ms Mupotola said the regional financier has remained a key partner to Zimbabwe’s national development agenda. The country joined the AfDB on the 10th of October 1980 and the bank’s lending operations to Zimbabwe started in 1981.
Since then, a total of 94 operations have been supported to the tune of US$1,22 billion.
“I would therefore like to express the bank’s continued commitment in supporting the people of Zimbabwe in their efforts to improve and diversify the economy and to reduce poverty. In this regard, the bank would like to renew its commitment to support the socio-economic development agenda of the country,” she said.