The World Bank Board of Directors has approved an International Development Association (IDA) credit of US$100 million for Zambia to improve natural resource management in selected districts.

In a statement, World Bank Zambia country manager Ina Ruthenberg said the project would support sustainable use of natural resources for livelihoods as well as help the government to adequately respond to emergencies.

The project is targeting 16 districts in three provinces and will benefit about 562,800 people, according to the statement.

“Transforming Landscapes for Resilience and Development (TRALARD) project will support sustainable use of natural resources for livelihoods, and help the Government of Zambia respond adequately and timely to a crisis or emergency. The project will target 16 districts in three provinces: Chifunabuli; Kawambwa; Lunga; Nchelenge and Samfya (Luapula Province); Chama; Lavushimanda; Mpika; Mafinga; Isoka and Kanchibiya (Muchinga Province) and Chilubi; Mbala; Mungwi; Mpulungu and Nsama (Northern Province).The TRALARD project is very important for Zambia because its activities were designed with a view to reversing forest and land degradation and improve infrastructure to enhance the resilience of communities to climatic shocks,” Ruthenberg stated.

And World Bank task team leader for the project Iretomiwa Olatunji noted that the impact of Zambia’s natural resource degradation was costing 0.4 per cent in annual economic growth.

“About 562,800 people are estimated to benefit from TRALARD, and at least 50 per cent of beneficiaries will be female-headed households. The main project beneficiaries reside in rural areas, the poorest and most vulnerable to climate change impacts. The current impact of natural resource degradation on Zambia’s economy and livelihoods of its people is costing about 0.4 per cent in annual economic growth and is projected to increase. We hope that the project play an integral part in Zambia’s effort to respond to climate change and to improve management of natural resources through donor supported efforts,” stated Olatunji.

The World Bank’s IDA, established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programmes that boost economic growth, reduce poverty and improve poor people’s lives.