|Dr. Situmbeko Musokotwane|
Minister of Finance and National Planning, Dr. Situmbeko Musokotwane has called on the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to enhance support of economic development projects in Zambia
He said the country was “hungry” for investment and specifically mentioned investment projects such as the Kasaba Bay Tourism Resort Development Project whose intention is to draw both public and private sector investment in the Northern Circuit open the area for intensive tourism development.
Dr. Musokotwane said it was also government’s intention to quickly commence implementing the development of the Multi-Facility Economic Zone in Lusaka with high class infrastructure that would target both export and domestically oriented business to Zambia.
He said the Zambian government was interested in a Public Private Partnership – Special Purpose Vehicle (PPP-SPV) to turn all major roads and bridges into toll facilities to finance new infrastructure. Road tolling would enable maintenance of the roads and upgrade existing facilities
Dr. Musokotwane said the Zambian government was dedicated to promoting Public Private Partnership as evidenced on the Kasumbalesa Border Post which was commissioned by President Rupiah Banda last month.
A joint venture between the Zambian government and Baran Borders, an Israeli company built the border post at a cost of US$25 million.
Dr. Musokotwane accompanied by the Special Assistant to the President for Economy and Development, Dr. Richard Chembe, the Bank of Zambia Governor, Dr. Caleb Fundanga and the Permanent Secretary (Budget) Mr. Emmanuel Ngulube are participating in the IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings for 2011.
Dr. Musokotwane met on the sidelines of the IMF/World Bank meetings with the IFC Vice President and Africa management team Mr. Thierry Tanoh based at IFC office in Johannesburg and Mr. Jean Philippe Prosper IFC Director based in Nairobi.
He also commended IFC for opening up office in Lusaka and stated that it was now easy for the two sides to follow up on matters of mutual interest in a more efficient manner.
In response, International Finance Corporation Vice President, Mr. Thierry Tanoh said his organization through its offices in Lusaka would follow up the issue of the Multi Facility Zone as soon as possible
He said IFC was seeking to explore local currency to finance sectors such as agriculture. Mr.Thierry said IFC was supported investment in agricultural infrastructure in Zambia. He noted that IFC had invested US$25 million in Afgri Zambia
The financing is for a complete construction of a silo for grain storage which in turn would significantly improve access to market for farmers once completed.
Mr. Tanoh also proposed to engage the Bank of Zambia (BOZ) regarding the possibility of using local currency financing through a swap system in some projects while Governor Fundanga agreed to this proposal.
He said through this initiative, the Bank of Zambia and IFC would work together to further develop Zambia’s financial markets to support private sector growth and promote sustainable economic growth.
Mr. Tanoh further said his organization was interested in infrastructural projects. He also indicated that IFC expected a lot of progress by the time the two sides meet at the next annual meeting to be held in Washington DC in September 2011