(LUSAKATIMES) Ms Obiageli Ezekwesili urges Zambia to focus on further diversification of the economyMs Obiageli Ezekwesili urges Zambia to focus on further diversification of the economy
TIME PUBLISHED - Thursday, April 19, 2012, 9:02 pm
World Bank Vice President for the Africa Region, Ms Obiageli Ezekwesili has urged Zambia to focus on further diversification of her economy to create new jobs and to spur faster economic growth.
“Diversification generates jobs in agriculture, tourism, transport and other sectors such as road infrastructure,” she said when she met with Minister of Finance and National Planning Mr. Alexander Chikwanda.
She expressed confidence in Zambia’s economic potentials and stressed that “it has been a delight to work with Zambia over the years”
Ms. Ezekwesili said the World Bank would continue to support Zambia’s economic growth in areas such as tourism, infrastructure development, energy and education.
The Vice President called on the government to take full advantage of the warm relations the World Bank group has offered to advance the cause of development for Zambia.
Meanwhile, Finance and National Planning Minister, Alexander B. Chikwanda said that the Zambian people had very high expectations from the Zambian government to deliver real improvement in their lives since the Patriotic Front came to power.
“Considering the fact that the coming of the new Government coincides with the development of the Bank’s Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) for Zambia, the government is keen to work with the Bank in this process,” he said.
Some of the key areas that the Country Assistance Strategy will take on board include skills development, infrastructure development, particularly for rural areas, agricultural development particularly irrigation, livestock development and the development of market infrastructure.
Others are the decentralization in order to ensure that Government programmes are implemented more efficiently and equitably and the development of the private sector especially the medium small and micro enterprises so that they can play their full role as the engine for growth and job creation.
The Minister, was however, concerned to note that the level of development support that the Bank has provided to Zambia in recent years was below the level desired by the Government.
He appealed to the Bank to consider increasing the support provided to Zambia and the country’s desire to access Bank resource through the blend of the International Development Association (IDA) and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) resources.