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World Bank disburses $100 million grant to support Zambia’s energy sector


World Bank disburses $100 million grant to support Zambia’s energy sector

The World Bank Group has disbursed a grant worth US$100 million to support Zambia’s energy sector.

This would be implemented under phase one of the Zambia National Energy Advancement and Transformation (NEAT) programme, covering the period 2023 to 2033.

Read more:Govt, World Bank move to remove bottlenecks against energy transition programmes

Finance and National Planning Minister, Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane, said the NEAT programme was designed to increase financial sustainability, operational reliability and resilience of the electricity sector in Zambia.

The programme’s total resource envelope was said to be US$700 million for over a period of ten years, and the World Bank’s first energy project in Zambia since 2018.

Musokotwane explained in a statement issued in Lusaka on Sunday that the NEAT programme would adopt a Multi-Phase Programmatic Approach (MPA) over a 10 year period from 2023 to 2033.

Under phase one of the NEAT programme, he said a grant of US$100 million had been approved for disbursement from the pledged total of US $700 million, scheduled for disbursement between 2024 and 2026.

Musokotwane said this was a clear demonstration of the confidence that the World Bank had on Zambia’s home-grown strategic reforms and in the country’s recently strengthened public financial governance credentials, among other factors.

The minister noted that the US$100 million grant came barely a month after the World Bank approved another grant of USS$270 million under the Transport Corridors for Economic Resilience (TRACER) Project.

Reacting to the grant, Musokotwane said, “The Government of the Republic of Zambia conveys a special appreciation to World Bank Group President Ajay Banga and his teams at headquarters, in the region and the country office, for the exceptional generosity.

“The World Bank’s approval of the NEAT Programme is timely because it will deliver immediate financial boost to ZESCO and support the procurement process for non-hydropower renewables at this critical time when Zambia is experiencing an extensive drought.”

For the Rural Electrification Authority (REA), the minister said the grant would be channeled towards operationalization of the Rural Electrification Fund to ensure financial sustainability of capital expenditure for social objectives while increasing energy access for the country’s outlying areas.

He noted that the NEAT Programme would further augment the government’s efforts in enhancing reliability and climate resilience of the electricity sector by supporting implementation of the ZESCO strategy for improved customer management, reliability of supply and system resilience to climate change.

“Save for the devastating effects of the drought, which we will able handle to ensure that none of our fellow citizens starve, our reform process is on course,” Musokotwane said.

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