The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) and the Government of Zambia, on March 29 2016, signed three loan agreements totalling about USD 123 million to develop cashew infrastructure, Lusaka sanitation, skills and entrepreneurship, and to support women and youths.
USD 44.2 million will go to Cashew Infrastructure Development Project, USD 50 million will be injected the Lusaka Sanitation Program and USD 29 million will address Skills Development and Entrepreneurship Project – Supporting Women and Youth.
At the signing ceremony, Zambia’s Finance Minister Alexander B. Chikwanda emphasised that the three projects would help Zambia diversify its economy from copper and improve Zambia’s economic growth rate required to reduce poverty.
From AfDB’s side, Resident Representative in Zambia Damoni Kitabire underscored that the roll out of the three projects marked the beginning of the translation of the AfDB’s “High Fives”, an enhanced pathway towards the implementation of the Bank’s Ten Year Strategy to accelerate Zambia’s development.
Kitabire also appealed to Government to accelerate the process of meeting conditions precedent to effectiveness and first disbursement for the three projects, so that project implementation can begin in earnest.
AfDB historical cooperation with Zambia dates back to 1965, and has witnessed the financing of over 130 projects worth almost USD 2 billion.
Zambia will host the upcoming AfDB Annual General Meetings in May 2016.
The Zambia Development Agency (ZDA), in charge of trade development and investment promotion in the country, has recently launched Zambia’s Strategic Plan for the period 2016-2020, to support economic diversification and increasing private sector participation in the economy and reduce the country’s dependency on its copper industry.
The Zambian economy has historically been based on the copper-mining industry.
Zambia is Africa’s second-biggest copper producer with a production of 711,515 metric tons 2015.