The African Development Bank (AfDB) is shifting gears in Zambia, prioritizing two crucial engines for economic growth: infrastructure development and the agricultural value chain. This strategic pivot, outlined in the newly approved Country Strategy Paper (CSP) for 2024-2029, aims to propel Zambia’s socioeconomic transformation and elevate the livelihoods of its citizens.

“The aim of this new CSP is to support Zambia’s vision of speeding up its socioeconomic transformation to improve livelihoods,” said Raubil Durowoju, head of the Bank Group’s country office in Zambia, echoing the aspirations of many Zambians.

The AfDB’s plan is a two-pronged attack. Firstly, it will channel investments towards bolstering the private sector through infrastructure development. This entails a much-needed expansion of the road and rail networks, creating smoother pathways for commerce and unlocking development opportunities across various sectors.

“Imagine trying to get your harvest from the farm to market on a bumpy, potholed road. It’s nearly impossible,” said a local farmer, highlighting the critical role of improved infrastructure in Zambia’s agricultural sector.

The focus, however, isn’t solely on traditional infrastructure. The AfDB is committed to building climate-resilient structures, ensuring Zambia’s development can withstand the challenges of a changing environment. Additionally, strengthening transportation resources is high on the agenda, fostering regional trade along key corridors.

The second pillar of the AfDB’s strategy zeroes in on Zambia’s agricultural value chain. By supporting the development of farm blocks and value chains, the Bank aims to enhance agricultural productivity and make the sector more resilient to climate shocks. Collaboration with the Zambian government and private sector is crucial in this endeavour.

“We need to find ways to add value to our agricultural products before they leave the farm,” explained an agricultural entrepreneur. “The AfDB’s focus on the value chain is a step in the right direction.”

This emphasis on value addition goes hand-in-hand with empowering women and youths in the agricultural sector. By creating new opportunities and fostering innovation, the AfDB hopes to cultivate a more inclusive and prosperous agricultural landscape in Zambia.

The AfDB’s commitment to Zambia is substantial. With an active portfolio exceeding $1 billion, the Bank is putting its money where its mouth is. This renewed focus on infrastructure and agriculture has the potential to be a game-changer for Zambia, paving the way for a more sustainable and prosperous future.