The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors yesterday approved a $200 million International Development Association (IDA) credit under the IDA17 Scale-up Facility for Zambia to improve selected rural roads in six of Zambia’s ten provinces.
Government will finance the remaining four provinces.
According to the Rural Access Index, only 17 percent of rural population live within 2 km of a good road in Zambia, leaving about 7.5 million rural residents unconnected to the road network in the country. The Improved Rural Connectivity Project will benefit 460,000 people in the targeted rural areas.
World Bank Country Manager for Zambia Ina Ruthenberg notes in a statement that the Improved Rural Connectivity Project is significant for Zambia, because it will improve connectivity in rural areas where poverty levels are particularly high.
Ruthenberg says besides the project providing improved connectivity to schools, markets, health facilities, and jobs for the rural communities, it has the transformational potential of positioning Zambia as the regional food basket, contributing towards economic diversification.
And World Bank Senior Transport Specialist Justin Runji says the project will also contribute towards addressing institutional capacity challenges, particularly in the area of road maintenance and road safety in Zambia, where feeder roads are largely in poor condition.
The project supports the Government’s development priorities as reflected in the National Development Plan and Vision 2030.