By MAIMBOLWA MULIKELELA –
THE World Bank has committed more than US$569 million to Zambia for 11 active projects.
World Bank country director Kundahvi Kadiresani said there are 11 active projects with net commitment of more than $569 million as of September 2014.
The largest support currently is for the development of the agriculture sector followed by energy and infrastructure.
The World Bank supported the development of the Kariba dam in 1955 and since then, it has financed around 300 credit and grants for about $5.5 billion.
In an interview in Lusaka, Dr Kadiresani explained that since the support of the Kariba dam in 1955, the bank also played a major role in the rehabilitation and upgrading of major hydro power facilities at Victoria Falls, Kafue George and Kariba North Bank.
She said the bank was providing more than $200 million through several interventions in the sector.
“The bank is supporting the upgrading and rehabilitation of 780 networks and rural electrification.
“Support is also being provided for upgrading of transmission lines to facilitate regional power trade and for strengthening existing transmission and distribution networks in Lusaka area to reduce power cut,” she said.
Dr Kadiresan said a connection fee subsides programme was helping increase access to electricity for 50,000 low income household.
She said the bank was also helping Zambia and Zimbabwe with the rehabilitation of the Kariba dam and advance preparation of the Batoka Gorge hydro electric scheme.
Further support was being provided in strengthening cooperative development within the Zambezi River basin to help bridge the shortage of energy in the two countries and the region.
She said it was important to highlight that from 1968, the bank’s focus moved to interventions that contributed to meeting the basic needs of the people.
The size and number of loans to borrowers was greatly increased as loan targets expanded from infrastructure into social services like health and education.
The bank has supported projects in the education, agriculture and mining sector.
Under agriculture, Dr Kadiresan said the bank’s focus was to help support a programme that makes growth pro-poor.