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At their regular meetings on Wednesday, 4 November 2015, the Boards of Directors of the African development Bank (AfDB) approved three loans totaling US$ 94 million to finance a Cashew Infrastructure Development Project in Zambia, a financial reforms and food security support programme in Niger as well an economic governance reform support programme in Mali.
Under the approvals, Zambia’s Cashew Infrastructure Development Project (CIDP) will benefit from a US$ 45 million AfDB Loan to finance the revival of the country’s cashew sub-sector. This will involve leveraging the cashew value chain through irrigation infrastructure for cashew nurseries and clone gardens, cashew plantation rejuvenation and establishment, and infrastructure for cashew-processing and marketing.
These activities are expected to revive the sub-sector so that it would help reduce poverty and increase household incomes.
The project will be implemented over a five-year period by the agriculture and livestock ministry in the districts of Mongu, Limulunga, Senanga, Kalabo, Nalolo, Sikongo, Shangombo, Sioma, Lukulu, and Mitete in the Western Province.
The 10 Districts were selected on the basis of their high potential for cashew production; less frost-related problems; high incidence of poverty, food insecurity and malnutrition; and vulnerability to environmental degradation and climate change.
About 60,000 smallholder farmers including 30,000 (50%) women and 7,000 youths are expected to benefit from the project, as each of them is expected to cultivate 100 cashew trees on one hectare. The project will also create about 6,000 full-time jobs (3,000 women, and 1,000 youths) within the cashew value chain from production, processing to marketing.
The US$ 45 million AfDB loan represents 81.2% of the US$ 55.42 million total cost of the project. The government is expected to provide US$ 8.31 million (15.0%) while the beneficiaries will contribute US$ 2.11 million (3.8%).
The first phase of Niger’s Financial Reforms and Food Security Support Programme (PAREFSA I) is a US$ 42-million general budget support and programme-based operation to be implemented in 2015 (US$28 million) and 2016 (US$14 Million).
PAREFSA I focuses on building resilience to food insecurity and strengthening governance, particularly natural resources governance in line with the orientations of the Bank’s Country Strategy Paper (2013-2017).
On completion, the programme is expected to increase tax to GDP ratio from 15.9% in 2014 to 17.2% in 2016; the budget execution rate to 85% in 2016, against an average of 72% during the 2011-2014 period, as well as the establishment of a National Gender Promotion Observatory to ensure compliance with the quotas allocated for women by the Law of 27 October 2014.
It would also enhance transparency and the fight against corruption. In addition, the programme will restore 1, 200 hectares of degraded grazing land; increase meat and milk production by 20% and 25%, respectively, in addition to a 12% increase in the livestock sub-sector’s contribution to GDP in 2016.
Other deliverables include better coverage of livestock water points through the construction of 430 cemented wells for livestock, and 43 pumping stations in 2015; and adoption of the agricultural framework law and operationalization of the Niger Small-scale Irrigation Strategy (SPIN) in 2016.
The Programme is in line with the Bank’s CSP (2013-2017), especially with regards to building resilience to food insecurity and strengthening governance, particularly that of natural resources. It is also consistent with the Bank’s Ten-Year Strategy 2013-2022 for Africa’s Transformation as well as the Governance Action Plan (GAP II 2014-2018), which seeks to strengthen inclusive economic growth and effective public action by improving economic, financial and sector governance in regional member countries.
The Board approved US$ 21 million Transition Support Facility loan to finance the first phase of two programme-based budget support operations. They aim to consolidate the achievements of previous budget support operations and, sustaining economic growth by enhancing the efficiency of public expenditure and promoting private sector development.
According to the Bank, economic activities in Mali were boosted following a return to normal cereal production and robust manufacturing sector growth in 2004. However, there is still a need for sustainable improvement of the security situation, continued enhancement of good governance in public management by improving public expenditure as well as achieving strong private sector-driven, economic growth.
Thus, through major structural reforms, the programme will focus on improving efficiency of public expenditure, through better fiscal decentralization; enhanced public procurement management; and efficient internal control. It will, support private sector development, enable promotion of investments and development of private enterprises, improving the overall business environment.
The programme is consistent with the governance and private sector development operational priorities of the Bank's 2013-2022 Ten-Year strategy; the governance and inclusive growth concerns of the 2015-2019 Country Strategy Paper as well as the Bank's 2013-2017 Private Sector Development Policy, with regard to improvement of the investment and business climate.
The Economic Governance Reform Support Programme Phase 1 is also in line with the Bank’s 2015-2019 Mali Country Strategy Paper, which was also approved by the Board on 3 November 2015. It focuses on two pillars; enhancing governance for inclusive growth and infrastructure development to support economic recovery. These pillars group together those areas where the Bank's support is likely to have a positive impact in light of Mali's present situation.