Maputo — The World Bank has announced that it will provide Mozambique with 700 million US dollars in soft loans over the next two years.
The Bank’s Vice-President for Africa, Makhdar Diop, announced this funding on Wednesday, after an audience with President Armando Guebuza.
The money takes the form of soft loans from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank affiliate set up to provide money on easy terms to poor countries. The money is to be repaid over 50 years, and no interest is charged.
“The government can use these resources for various types of activity, including support for the state budget”, said Diop.
He added that during the hour long audience, Guebuza had expressed in interest in receiving support from the World Bank for dams, rural roads, and for investment in agriculture.
Diop expressed his solidarity with the victims of the current floods in Mozambique, and announced a donation of 50 million dollars to support the flood victims.
In an overall assessment of the country’s situation, Diop stressed the macro-economic successes achieved, but pointed to challenges that require the attention of the authorities including poverty reduction and job creation.
“We agreed that the challenge for the future is to create jobs and to speed up the reduction of poverty”, he said. “To achieve this, it is important that there should be greater development of agriculture, to increase production and productivity and generate more employment”.
Diop said he had also told Guebuza of the World Bank’s concern at the quality of education in Mozambique. He said reforms were needed to bring the Mozambican education system into line with the needs of the productive sector, and to expand technical training, thus giving young people more employment opportunities.
“It’s very important to go to school”, he said, “but it’s still better to leave school with qualifications that will be useful for the productive sector”.