Washington — The World Bank's Board of Executive Directors today approved a $20 million International Development Association (IDA)* credit to help support the Government of Zambia implement its program of local integration for long term refugees.
The Zambia Displaced Persons and Border Communities Project aims to improve access to livelihoods and socio-economic infrastructure for displaced people and host communities in the two targeted resettlement areas of Meheba in North-Western and Mayukwayukwa in the Western Provinces of Zambia.
Conflicts and violence in neighboring countries have pushed people to flee into Zambia which currently hosts more than 52,000 refugees from Angola, Burundi, Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Somalia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
The project will contribute to social cohesion and the local integration of former refugees as well as the development of the surrounding areas. It will in particular ensure an equitable share of project benefits between former refugees and host communities, strengthen the physical connection of the former refugee areas to the wider districts and increase access to economic opportunities and services for all.
Commenting on the Board's approval, Natacha Lemasle, the World Bank Task Team Leader for the project said, "The world is faced with a pressing need to invest in sustainable responses to protracted displacement, because of the growing global number of forcibly displaced persons and the tendency for their displacement to be long-term and unresolved. This work in Zambia is innovative and has the potential to demonstrate the positive effects of investing in local integration."
"The approval of this project is a recognition of Zambia's ongoing efforts to open its doors to refugees and asylum seekers," said Ina-Marlene Ruthenberg, World Bank Country Manager for Zambia. "Zambia has recently set a new global precedent in offering residency rights, access to land and socio-economic benefits to long term refugees," she added.
The Zambia Displaced Persons and Border Communities Project is part of the World Bank Great Lakes Region Displaced Persons and Border Communities programs and the second phase of the series of projects supporting countries facing forced displacement in the Great Lakes. The first package of $50 million supporting IDPs and their host communities for the DRC Eastern Recovery project was approved by the Bank Board in December 2015.
* 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.