By Nawa Mutumweno – The International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank has approved $15 million additional financing to go towards investment in road infrastructure and institutional reforms.
It is envisaged that this intervention will contribute effectively to the stimulation of economic growth and poverty reduction.
The IDA credit has a 40-year maturity period with a 10-year grace period with the objective of preserving roads in target transport corridor areas and improve transport safety and connectivity in target areas.
The advancement of the country’s road and rail sub-sectors has been the major thrust of IDA’s support to Zambia.
In the road sub-sector, IDA has since 1998, supported the government’s Road Sector Investment Programme (ROADSIP), which has seen paved roads in good and fair condition rise from 27% to 80%.
The unpaved road network has also improved from below 10% of roads in good and fair condition to 27%. Total IDA financing from 1998 to date is pegged at over $275 million.
The second phase of ROADSIP (ROADSIP II) started in 2004 and will end in 2013. IDA support to the ROADSIP II from then stands at $170 million.
Projects undertaken include the construction or rehabilitation of the following arteries: Chingola-Kasumbalesa road, Kafulafuta-Luanshya by-pass, Lusaka-Chirundu mountain road, Chiawa Bridge in the Lower Zambezi area (to be constructed).
In the rail sub-sector, the World Bank has assisted the Zambian government in securing a grant from the Private Sector Infrastructure Advisory Fund (PSIAF) to undertake the ‘Zambia Railways Concession Study’.
This study will determine rail infrastructure investment requirements and how best these investments can be funded. CPSC Transcom of Canada will conduct the study which is expected to be completed this year.
It envisaged that the study will create a robust policy for the improvement of the railway industry in the country.
As of September 2010, the World Bank has invested about $3.58 billion in Zambia to support development projects encompassing mining, infrastructure and health.
The World Bank has financed 250 projects in the country since 1995 through concessional credits and grants.