The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) says Zambia is among a few African countries which are hugely benefiting from the Japanese government’s development support to Africa.
JICA Senior Programmes Officer Patrick Mulilo said Zambia was benefiting about one sixth of the US$1.3 billion development aid that the Japanese government was providing to African countries.
Mr Mulilo was speaking during a media breakfast at Taj Pamodzi Hotel in Lusaka today.
He said JICA was looking forward to improve various sectors of the country’s economy such as the infrastructure, health, education and agriculture sectors in order to help raise people’s living standards.
Mr Mulilo said in the agriculture sector, JICA’s focus was to help the country implement food diversification.
He said under this sector, JICA was mainly interested in diversifying the country’s focus from growing maize to rice which he said was one key area that government has been subsidising under the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP).
Mr Mulilo said his organisation was working on modalities to see a better way of increasing productivity in rice production.
He further disclosed that JICA would in May this year launch the Community Based Irrigation project in Luapula, Northern and Eastern Provinces to avoid over dependence on rain feed agriculture.
And JICA Resident Representative Yoshihide Teranishi said inclusive development which is the Zambian government’s slogan for its development policy agenda can only be realised by empowering people especially women and the youth in both urban and rural areas.
Mr Teranishi said dynamic development can be ignited by improvements in the business environment and infrastructure such as roads, bridges and electricity supply among other things aimed at attracting more domestic and foreign investment.
Mr Teranishi said the Japanese government is committed to help the Zambia government tackle the various challenges it was facing through projects that it is implementing.
Meanwhile, JICA Programmes Officer Hellen Masiye said the organisation is implementing various development projects to assist the Zambian government tackle various challenges it was facing such as the current poverty situation, limited access to basic life needs like water, health, education and the high unemployment levels.
Ms Masiye disclosed that in the infrastructure sector, JICA is working on the improvement of the Kitwe and Ndola City roads at a budget of US$31 million for a 25.7 Km, 14.5km Lusaka City inner road project at a cost of US$2.5 million, the construction of the Kazungula bridge and the One Stop Border Post all at a cost of US$35.6 million.
Ms Masiye further revealed that in the energy sector, JICA was working closely with the Rural Electrification Authority (REA) and was also working on improving the water supply in Ndola city at a cost of US$26.3 million.