WASHINGTON, April 25, 2013 – The World Bank Board of Executive Directors today approved a US$50 million IDA* credit to support the implementation of an integrated framework for the development and management of water resources in Zambia.
The project support the Zambia Water Resources Development Project, designed to support implementation of the country’s 2011 Water Resources Management Act. The project will finance the construction and rehabilitation of small-scale water infrastructure, such as small dams and gabions, establish flood-warning systems, and support capacity building to strengthen Zambia’s water-related geographic position in the southern African region.
“The project will support the Government's programs to build up its water infrastructure and manage its water resources in a way that will serve the country’s economic expansion,” said Jamal Saghir, the World Bank’s Director for Sustainable Development in the Africa Region. “The scale-up of water management activities to address flooding, drought, and seasonal water shortages will improve the quality of life for thousands of Zambians.”
Zambia is one of the fastest growing economies in Sub-Saharan Africa. Yet a lack of water infrastructure, a growing water demand and recurrent floods and droughts, present significant challenges to the country’s economic expansion.
Floods and droughts over the past three decades are estimated to have cost Zambia US$13.8 billion, or a 0.4 percent annual loss of economic growth that disproportionately impacts the poor.
"Zambia has made good progress in several sectors over the past decade," says Kundhavi Kadiresan, World Bank Country Director for Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. “We are happy to continue supporting Zambia’s efforts to better manage its water resources, so that poor people in rural and urban areas can have improved access to water and benefit from economic growth.”
The funds will also support the development of a pipeline of large infrastructure investments, construction and upgrading of hydro-meteorological and groundwater monitoring networks, as well as the introduction of new technologies to support water resources management and the establishment of institutions under the country’s Water Resources Management Act.
“The project will help finance an infrastructure platform through the rehabilitation of existing dams and the construction of new water infrastructure for rural communities suffering from drought, flooding, and seasonal water shortages,” said Marcus Wishart, Task Team Leader of the project. “These funds will allow the Government to implement a comprehensive strategy to manage Zambia’s water resources so they will benefit people living in all parts of the country.”
* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing loans (called “credits”) and grants for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 81 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change for 2.5 billion people living on less than $2 a day. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 108 countries. Annual commitments have increased steadily and averaged about $15 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent of commitments going to Africa.