LUSAKA (Reuters) – Western donors have given Zambia $174.1 million towards programs aimed at stabilizing its economy and to fight HIV/AIDS and poverty, Treasury spokesman Chileshe Kandeta said on Monday.
“(Western) partners have disbursed $96.2 million as budget support and a further $77.9 Million in project grants … representing over 55 percent disbursement out of the $312.88 million 2009 projected budget support and project grants scheduled to be channeled through the Treasury,” Kandeta said in a statement.
Kandeta said the funds were given by donors after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) last week released $160.1 million of its total $256.4 million financing package to Zambia.
Analysts say the IMF approval of additional financing was a catalyst for donors to release funds for direct budget support to Zambia, which has won praise from the Fund and Western financiers for prudent fiscal and monetary policies.
The funds came from countries including the United Kingdom, Norway, Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, Sweden and the European Union. The World Bank also gave a grant.
Kandeta said the aid money would go towards supporting key sectors such as agriculture, communication, infrastructure development and transport as Zambia seeks to diversify its economy from copper mining.
“Others (areas of focus) are land, energy, science and technology, education and skills development, health, water supply and sanitation, housing, social protection, governance, HIV and AIDS, gender and food and nutrition,” Kandeta said.
HIV has infected some 33 million people worldwide — 22 million in sub-Saharan Africa alone — and AIDS now ranks among the world’s top 10 killer diseases. An estimated 25 million people have died of the incurable condition, the No. 1 killer in Africa.
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