ZAMBIA has been given about US$5 million grant to cover part of the electricity connection cost for the targeted beneficiaries.
The $4.95 million grant has been given to the Southern African country under the World Bank-administered Global Partnership on Output–Based Aid (GPOBA).
GPOBA is a global partnership programme which was established in 2003.
About 140,000 beneficiaries in 22,000 households and 5,000 micro and small enterprises (MSEs) will access power supply from Zesco through the grant that will be used to cover part of the connection costs for them.
GPOBA head Catherine O’Farrell said the low-income households and MSEs in some high density urban and peri-urban areas throughout Zambia were set to be connected to the national electricity grid with support from GPOBA.
The electricity connections project, the first for GPOBA in Zambia, builds on a World Bank-supported connection fee subsidy programme known locally as “Malaiti Oye.”
Using an output-based-aid approach to reach the poor, GPOBA will reimburse Zesco once the electricity connections have been made and verified by an independent third party.
The cost of connecting to the electricity grid has been a barrier for the poor to access power, with only half of urban and peri-urban populations using electricity for lighting and cooking.
“This project includes additional elements to ensure that women and other traditionally marginalized groups are among the beneficiaries.
“Access to electricity for them will contribute to their improved quality of life and increase their participation in the economy,” Ms O’Farrell said.
This is according to a statement issued by the World Bank in Lusaka yesterday.
The project includes parallel activities aimed at improving equity outcomes, development effectiveness and learning through parallel funding for outreach and support activities for vulnerable groups, promoting the productive use of electricity, and an impact assessment.
Access in rural areas ranks even lower with only three per cent being connected.
The project supports the Government’s goal to make electricity accessible to two out of three Zambians by 2030.
Funding for the project is provided by the Swedish International Development and Cooperation Agency and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development.