–Government, through its cooperating partners, is to rehabilitate three selected strategic rural roads in the Kafue River Basin in Southern Province in an effort to enhance socio-economic development for the tourism and agricultural and sectors in the region.
This came to light during a stakeholder’ s meeting in Kalomo over the weekend, where the consultant of ASCO Limited, lead socio-economic expert, Lewis Tumbama, said his firm is to conduct an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) on the project which is to gobble colossal sums of an un-disclosed amount of money.
Mr Tumbama said the project is a first pilot programme for climate resilience for road rehabilitation the Zambian government has to undertake through the World Bank funding under the Multi- donor Strategic Climate Fund which was established in 2008 in its quest to the global warming challenge.
“Over the past three decades, extreme weather events such as floods, droughts and heavy rainfall are happening and these events cost the country some 0.4 per cent of the annual economic growth,” he said.
According to the expert, without adaptation, the impact could rise to 0.9 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over the next decade, keeping an additional 300,000 Zambians below the poverty datum line, and undermine the strong growth that the country has experienced over the last five years.
“Hence, a key challenge for Zambia will be to safeguard its hard–won development gains and promote climate resilience for vulnerable sectors and population,” part of the Road Development Agency, (RDA) project tender document in regard to the project read.
The selected roads include the 75 kilo metres Kalomo – Dundumwezi stretch, the Itezhi-tezhi Dundumwezi through Ngoma camp and Nanhila area which covers a 124 kilo metres alongside the Namwala–Itezhitezhi stretch with a distance of 52 km.
Mr Tumbama further said the designs should be in conformity with specific attention to climate trends and climate hazards such as floods, droughts and increased heat and with careful involvement of national and local authorities.
The EIA, which is expected to last for a period of six months for the three roads, would be submitted to the Zambia Environment Management Authority (ZEMA) and RDA before being presented for funding to the World Bank.