The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved a $100 million credit to strengthen Zambia’s nature-based economy and increase economic opportunities in emerging tourism destinations in the country such as Liuwa Plains National Park, Source of the Zambezi, and Kasaba Bay.
In Zambia, the nature-based economy spans many sectors and offers multiple environmental, social, economic, and fiscal benefits however more effective natural resource management is needed to improve economic opportunities for local populations and community incomes. Currently, several potential tourism areas in Zambia suffer from poor accessibility, poverty, and environmental degradation.
“We are pleased to support Zambia’s push towards a green growth strategy in which a nature-based economy is key. Diversified, nature-based economic activity and private sector investment will create jobs and protect nature in the areas targeted under the project,” said Sahr Kpundeh, World Bank Country Manager for Zambia.
The project is expected to increase economic opportunities and revenue from tourism and the broader nature-based economy sector by improving the enabling environment, engaging key stakeholders, financing key basic infrastructure, and providing matching grants to communities for investments in the nature-based economy. The project will also enhance sector governance through investments in regulatory reform and building capacity of core sectoral agencies.
The country’s globally significant natural assets offer an important opportunity for sustainable development. Currently, natural resources make up 40%of the country’s wealth and are a strong basis for its economic growth and strategies for poverty reduction. Furthermore, the decline of commodity prices and other external shocks necessitate economic diversification. Zambia needs to unlock new green economic pathways that capitalize on its natural assets and their comparative advantages.
The project is aligned with national priorities in the Eighth National Development Plan (8NDP) and Vision 2030. The 8NDP underscores the government’s commitment to unlocking the tourism sector for economic transformation and job creation. It supports Zambia’s goal to increase tourism both from international and domestic sources, improve accessibility, lengthen the stay for tourists, diversify tourism product offerings, and increase the sector’s contribution to the economic development of the country.
The main beneficiaries of the Green, Resilient and Transformational Tourism Development Project are local communities, nature-based community enterprises, and private sector entities within the emerging tourism destination. In addition, women-led entities will be assisted with business advisory services, including access to finance, to benefit equitably from the project. At the national level, the project will strengthen the institutional capacity for participating ministries through a variety of capacity-building activities and programs.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of The World Bank Group.