WASHINGTON, December 16, 2016 – The World Bank's Board of Executive Directors has today approved two International Development Association (IDA)* credits for Zambia. The first credit of $65.6 million will support environmental remediation in selected critically polluted mining areas while the second credit of $40 million will help increase market linkages and firm growth in agribusiness.
The Mining and Environment Remediation and Improvement project will support the strengthening of financial mechanism for scientific closure of mines, remediation of contaminated hotspots and improved enforcement of regulations and monitoring of environmental quality. This is a follow up project to the Copperbelt Environmental Project (CEP), which ran from 2003 to 2011. 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.
“The Mining and Environment Remediation and Improvement project is very important for Zambia because it will contribute to clean up some parts of the old mining town of Kabwe which still has unacceptably high levels of lead in the soil and high blood lead level among children, resulting from past lead mining in the area,” said Sanjay Srivastava, World Bank Task Team Leader for the project.
The Agribusiness and Trade 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,” saidBrian 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.”
“Both operations approved today 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,” saidIna Ruthenberg, World Bank Country Manager for Zambia.
*The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans 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 77 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.3 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 112 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $19 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent going to Africa.