THE World Bank is to provide $150 million as budget support to Zambia’s agriculture sector, a senior government official said.
Ministry of Finance Permanent Secretary Mukuli Chikuba said the funds will be provided over a three-year period, adding that the government has requested the World Bank to front-load the funding of the budget support in order to address immediate challenges the country was facing.
Speaking on arrival in Washington DC for the World Bank/IMF Annual October Meetings, the official said the IMF has also pledged $1.3bn as balance of payment support to Zambia, according to a statement released by the Zambia Embassy in Washington DC.
Zambia, he said, has a new country partnership with the World Bank and will use the meetings to have discussions on areas of co-operation especially in the agriculture sector where funding was anticipated.
According to him, the government was also expected to hold discussions with the World Bank regarding the energy sector to find ways of addressing the country’s power deficit following the Bank’s support of the Batoka Gorge Hydro Power project, a joint project with Zimbabwe which was estimated to cost $6bn, to produce 2,400 megawatts of electricity for the two countries.
The official however said the Zambia’s economy was performing well and that the government will have discussions with the investor community during the meetings to explain how they could support the country’s development process.
He further said it was important for the country to start engaging with the investor community in order to find instruments to refinance Eurobonds the country got, which is expected to mature in 2022.