THE World Bank has pledged to support Zambia in promoting economic diversification and private sector development, which are designed to unlock potential towards poverty alleviation and women empowerment.
World Bank country director for Zambia Kundhavi Kadiresan said the move was part of the Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) the global lending institution's board of directors discussed for the period 2013-2016, which would help Zambia achieve its goal of becoming a middle-income country by the year 2030.
Ms Kadiresan said in a tatement released in Lusaka at the weekend that, the World Bank group would provide support in areas such as irrigation, rural roads, livestock development and agri-business, to help unlock the potential, especially in the agricultural sector which encompasses the majority of the poor including women.
The World Bank country chief said the new strategy draws a clear link between maintaining high growth and making a significant dent in poverty.
She said while Zambia had been one of the 10 fastest growing economies in Sub-Saharan Africa and presented unique development challenges, this had not been translated into poverty reduction and improvements in human development.
She said the strategy was grounded in the country's 2030 Vision, the Sixth National Development Plan (SNDP) and the outcome of a wide consultation process with Government officials, civil society, cooperating partners, women and youth groups.
The main objectives of the strategy would be to reduce poverty and vulnerability of the poor; improving competitiveness and infrastructure for growth and employment and improving governance and strengthening economic management.
Ms Kadiresan said the institution would in addition, support innovative programmes in health and safety nets and that, the new strategy would also support a more conducive environment for a flourishing private sector.
Projects for improving supply and access to electricity, transport infrastructure and access to finance will be implemented, as there was a strong recognition within the Zambian Government to ensure that accountability, transparency and good governance, remained the cornerstones of prudent management of public affairs.
As Zambia increasingly looks to the private market to raise resources for its development, the World Bank group would combine financial support with more evidence-based policy making, facilitating dialogue among various groups in the country and between Zambia and other emerging markets for sharing experiences.
"We are very pleased that this is a joint strategy not only among the World Bank group, but more so with the Government of Zambia and going forward, we will redouble our efforts as a trusted partner for the country and as a solutions-driven institution," Ms Kadiresan said.
In February 2013, a nine-member delegation of the World Bank group Board of Directors visited Zambia to learn first hand from Government and the people about the country's key priorities, challenges and opportunities.
The directors visited several World Bank-funded projects and interacted with senior policy makers, private sector and civil society organisations.