LUSAKA. – The World Bank has set aside $600 million for Zambia to invest in agriculture, energy, rural roads and budget support over the next three years.
Minister of Finance Felix Mutati said the World Bank has committed itself to increasing its support to Zambia under the International Development Association (IDA).
Mutati said this yesterday after meeting Bank executive director for Zambia, Andrew Bvumbe, who is in the country for consultations. “I am happy that the World Bank executive director has come into Zambia at the time when the economy has begun to stabilise and macro fundamentals are cheerful.
“We have received commitment from the Bank for increased resources and about $150 million will be in the form of budget support,” he said.
Mutati said from the US$600 million, the agriculture sector will receive $255 million to support irrigation and agribusiness while US$280 million will be invested in the energy sector.
He said under the IDA programme, the bank will further dedicate an additional $200 million for improving rural roads to support agriculture. The minister said Government has agreed with the World Bank to utilise the resources to transform critical sectors to address poverty, job creation and inclusive growth.
Mutati said Zambia is ready to host the IDA meeting in November this year. And, Bvumbe welcomed Government’s focus on prioritising development in agriculture, rural road development and energy which are key to creating jobs and enhancing economic development.
He commended Government for addressing macroeconomic fundamentals as evidenced by low inflation and the local currency which is showing signs of stability. Bvumbe further applauded Government on the progressive discussions with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which are expected to be concluded soon.
“We are happy with how the discussions with the IMF are moving. On the policy level we are converging with the Fund and this is important for us to move forward. We are looking forward to the conclusion of these discussions between Zambia and the Fund.
“Broadly speaking, I am delighted to be here, happy with the updates I got from the minister on the economic front and macro fundamentals that are good. We have a good foundation to move forward and make a difference in the lives of ordinary Zambians,” he said. – Lusaka Times.