The World Bank (WB) recently approved USD105.6m in credits for environmental remediation and agribusiness development in Zambia.
Out of the USD105.6m, USD40m will help increase market linkages and firm growth in agribusiness.
The project will support the country’s diversification program. It is expected to reach 4,000 farmer households and 300 small and medium entrepreneurs with an estimated over 30,000 people benefiting directly from the project activities.
“This project comes at a time when Zambia needs to diversify out of copper into other key economic sectors such as agriculture, tourism and services,” said Brian Mtonya and Tugba Gurcanlar, World Bank Senior Private Sector Specialists World Bank.
“Agriculture employs the majority of people in Zambia, and most of these are women. Therefore more effective policies in agribusiness and trade would be instrumental in achieving broad-based growth and economic diversification in Zambia.”
The remaining USD65.6m will support environmental remediation in selected critically polluted mining areas.
Remediation activities and management of contaminated hotspots will benefit an estimated 70,000 people living in hotspots and an estimated 30,000 children.
The beneficiaries will access direct health interventions such as Blood Lead Levels (BLL) testing, treatment and nutritional supplementation, as well as education and awareness about the lead poisoning.
“The project will support localized interventions, in the selected municipalities to undertake income generation opportunities that will enhance community involvement in addressing environmental health risks, with specific attention to women and other vulnerable people in the community,” said Magda Lovei, Practice Manager for Environment Practice in Africa.
“Both operations approved today [December 16th, 2016] are in line with government’s national development plans and will also contribute to tackle poverty through improved job opportunities for affected people, particularly women and the youth,” said Ina Ruthenberg, World Bank Country Manager for Zambia.
Zambia Economy Diversification
The Zambian economy has historically been based on the copper-mining industry, which contributes around 10% to Zambia’s GDP and accounts for 60% of the country’s total exports.
During the electoral campaign earlier this year, President Lungu pledged on attracting agricultural investments to the country to decrease its dependency on mining and copper.