NEWLY appointed WORLD BANK COUNTRY DIRECTOR for Zambia BELLA BIRD has described her engagement with the government, as fruitful.
During a bilateral meeting at the Ministry of Finance Headquarters in Lusaka, Dr. BIRD informed the Minister of Finance Dr. BWALYA NG’ANDU that concessional financing of US$ 350 million is available for Zambia under the 18th International Development Association [IDA 18] Programme for various development initiatives. Some of the projects under IDA 18 include Transforming Landscapes for Resilience and Development (TRALARD), the Centre for Disease Control, and Governance Programmes.
Dr. BIRD is also the Country Director for Malawi, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. She operates from Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania. Until her appointment, the Country Director for Zambia was PAUL NOUMBA UM, who was based at the World Bank Country Office in Pretoria, South Africa.
During today’s bilateral meeting, Dr. BIRD offered the World Bank’s assistance in making Zambia a model of successful economic stabilization and fiscal consolidation.
Among the other issues discussed at the bilateral meeting was Zambia’s reform thrust pronounced in the Seventh National Development Plan, the Economic Stabilisation and Growth Programme and the National Budget. The meeting also looked at some of the challenges facing the country and the measures that are being implemented by the authorities to stabilize the macro-economic environment.
Apart from holding bilateral talks, the Country Director is in Zambia to visit various World Bank-funded projects, firstly, to examine their progress, and most importantly, to assess their benefits to the communities in which they are being implemented.
She was accompanied to the bilateral meeting by World Bank Country Manager Dr. SAHR KPUNDEH.
Speaking at the same meeting, Dr. NG’ANDU said Zambia is keen to enhance development cooperation not only with the World Bank but all her cooperating partners to ensure success in the implementation of the Economic Stabilisation and Growth Programme and the Budget.
“In addition to our constant engagement with the IMF through Article 4 consultations, we are also in the process of bettering the platform for smooth re-engagement with the International Monetary Fund [IMF] on programme related talks,” the Minister briefed Dr. BIRD.
He reiterated that the elevated implementation of Zambia’s Medium-Term-Debt-Strategy was also among the initiatives being pursued to create a platform for smooth engagement with the Fund.
The World Bank’s portfolio in Zambia is currently estimated at USD1.1 billion and is spread in energy (21%), transport (20%), agriculture (18%), climate change (12%) and the balance to health, education and gender/social protection.
This is according to a press statement issued by Chileshe Kandeta, Spokesperson at the Ministry of Finance.