HARARE, February 3, 2016 – With support from the World Bank-managed Zimbabwe Reconstruction Fund (ZIMREF), the Government of Zimbabwe announced grant financing of $32 million for projects in public procurement, water and sanitation, public financial management (PFM) and maternal and child health.
ZIMREF has received funding from Denmark, European Union, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and the World Bank’s State and Peace Building Fund. All of these projects will be implemented directly by government institutions, among the first in many years, in line with the findings of the Assessment of the Zimbabwe PFM System for Investment Lending Projects.
Priority areas and projects include:
Modernizing public procurement
The Public Procurement Modernization Project will receive a $1.3 million grant and a $0.6 million technical assistance program from ZIMREF to support the reform of the public procurement system and prepare for the introduction of e-Procurement in government. The project is supporting the alignment of the Public Procurement Law with the 2013 Constitution which will help to deconcentrate procurement to line ministries, department and agencies and build capacity in those entities. It is being implemented by the Office of the President and Cabinet in collaboration with the State Procurement Board. A second phase of $2.0 million is programmed to support the roll-out of an e-Procurement pilot in key ministries and agencies.
“The reform of public procurement is a key mandate of the 2013 Constitution and will help to increase the efficiency in public serve delivery and reduce the misuse of public resources,” said Chief Secretary of the President and Cabinet, Dr. Mischek Sibanda. “In addition, the introduction of e-procurement is a cornerstone of the government’s efforts to modernize service delivery by introducing new technologies.”
Improving water and sanitation services in seven small towns
The Zimbabwe National Water Project will receive a $10 million grant from ZIMREF and a complementary technical assistance grant from the Water and Sanitation Program. This grant is the first phase of a planned $20 million project which aims to improve access and efficiency in water services in selected growth centers. The project, which is to be implemented by the Ministry of Water, Environment and Climate Change and the Zimbabwe National Water Authority, will rehabilitate the water systems in Lupane, Madziwa, Zimunya, Gutu, Nembudziya, Guruve and Mataga. It will also support the preparation of National Water Resources Master Plan for Zimbabwe, the commercialization of Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) and the establishment of a Water Supply and Sanitation regulator.
“An estimated 52,000 Zimbabweans will benefit from the rehabilitation and expansion of the water systems in these seven small towns, while the project will help us to mitigate the effects of climate change through a more coordinated and strategic management of our finite water resources,” said Dr. Jefter Sakupwanya, CEO of Zimbabwe National Water Authority.
Strengthening transparency and accountability in Zimbabwe’s public financial management
A $10 million grant will help finance the first phase of the new Public Financial Management Enhancement Project. The project will support improvements in financial reporting, internal controls, fiscal transparency and accountability in government finances building on earlier work that helped to resuscitate Zimbabwe’s Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) and accounting functions. The project will also extend the IFMIS to some district offices, strengthen the regulatory framework for internal controls and strengthen demand side accountability in Parliament and civil society.
“The project will help to improve transparency and accountability for public funds,” said Daniel Muchemwa, accountant general for Zimbabwe. “It will be easier to provide oversight for financial management at all levels of government but most importantly, it will help ensure fiscal discipline. We want our schools and hospitals to operate as effectively as they used to.”
Expanding innovations in maternal and child health care financing
An additional financing grant of $10 million from the Health Results Innovation Trust Fund (HRITF) will complement Zimbabwe’s ongoing Health Sector Development Project that supports the introduction of Results-Based Financing (RBF) in rural and low-income clinics. The project is increasing the coverage of key maternal and child health interventions in 18 targeted rural districts serving over 4.5 million people and expanding community involvement in health care management at the local level. This additional financing will bring HRITF’s contribution to $35 million, and the Government of Zimbabwe’s financing to $10 million. The new resources will help to expanding the coverage of the RBF to new health care services, deepen the focus on quality of care, and extend the project through February 2017.
“By eliminating user fees and rewarding service delivery, the RBF clinics have seen more rapid improvements in in-facility delivery rates, in the uptake of post-natal care and even in the availability of drugs,” said Ronald Mutasa, World Bank senior health specialist. “These benefits are also reaching more vulnerable households, who were previously not accessing care in part due to the costs.”
The Zimbabwe Reconstruction Fund (ZIMREF) has received contributions of $39 million from the Denmark, European Union, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and the World Bank’s State and Peace Building Fund. ZIMREF aims to support the strengthening of Zimbabwe’s systems for reconstruction and development.
The World Bank Group assistance to Zimbabwe totaled $1.6 billion between 1980 and 2000. Since 2000, when direct lending was suspended on account of payment of arrears, the World Bank has maintained support for Zimbabwe through a variety of non-lending instruments and trust funds. This support has been governed by three successive Interim Strategy Notes (ISNs) presented to the Board in in August 2005, April 2007, and April 2013.