World Bank CFO Commends Zambia’s Progress to Drive Economic Recovery from COVID-19 Crisis

LUSAKA  — The World Bank Group’s Managing Director and Chief Financial Officer (MDCFO), Anshula Kant, commended Zambia on a strong reform program to restore macroeconomic stability and promote a private sector-led economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. Kant is responsible for financial and risk management of the World Bank Group, reporting to the World Bank president.

Wrapping up a three-day visit to the country where she met with President Hakainde Hichilema, Minister of Finance, Situmbeko Musokotwane, Secretary to the Treasury, Felix Nkulukusa, Minister of Health, Sylvia Masebo, and Central Bank Governor, Denny Kalyalya, Kant reaffirmed the Bank’s partnership and support for Zambia. Kant was joined by Samuel Munzele Maimbo, Director of Development Finance, and Ivar Anderson, Director of the MDCFO office at the World Bank.

“Zambia has made strong strides in its efforts to drive macroeconomic recovery from COVID-19,” said Kant. “The World Bank welcomes the government’s prioritization of social sector spending even as it implements these reforms. We commend the country’s improved transparency in debt management and reporting, as well as its commitment to increasing budget credibility, as these are essential to restoring fiscal sustainability.”

Zambia’s macroeconomic response to COVID-19 includes a commitment to prioritize improved public financial management and greater transparency. With the World Bank’s and other cooperating partners’ support, nearly 5 million people or 27% of the population, have been fully vaccinated.

Kant visited Panuka Farms, a beneficiary of a World Bank-supported Zambia agribusiness trade project. The Bank is supporting Zambia with a multi-pronged approach to respond to and recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 and the Russia-Ukraine crises. These include investments in emergency support for health, social protection, agriculture and economic sectors.

“We look forward to further engaging with the government on how World Bank resources can best support job creation and economic transformation, and ensure a green, resilient and inclusive future for all Zambians,” said Maimbo.

As of June 2022, the World Bank portfolio in Zambia is comprised of 14 projects with a total commitment of $1.4 billion and trust funds of about $150 million. Health accounts for about 18.5% of the World Bank portfolio and social protection about 18%, followed by education (13%), transport (13%) and environment (12%).

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group, has a significant portfolio in Zambia, mostly in agribusiness, financial services, and manufacturing. The current IFC portfolio in Zambia includes 13 projects, totaling $86.5 million, which is made up of an investment portfolio of $55.9 million and a pipeline totaling $155.8 million.