Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda

Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda

Finance Minister Alexander ChikwandaFinance Minister Alexander Chikwanda

Government has signed a grant agreement with the Nordic Development Fund totaling to K39 million for the development of climate resilient infrastructure standards and codes.

Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda signed the grant agreement on behalf of government while Nordic Development Fund Country Manager Rohanna Palmberg signed on behalf of her organisation.

Speaking during the signing ceremony at the Ministry of Finance headquarters in Lusaka today, Mr. Chikwanda noted that no country in the world has ever developed without appropriate and adequate infrastructure.

Mr. Chikwanda observed that the development of Zambia has been hampered by inadequate and dysfunctional infrastructure.

He said the country has backlogs of infrastructure deficiencies and stressed that tackling these deficits was very prominent on the Patriotic Front (PF) government’s ambitious development agenda.

“Infrastructure particularly as it relates to roads is very expensive. When roads have been constructed, they need maintenance and when the standards are flawed, the costs of maintaining such infrastructure can be prohibitive,” he said.

Mr. Chikwanda stressed that there was need therefore to ensure that infrastructure was constructed to highest specifications and standards to guarantee reasonable levels of infrastructural integrity.

“It is in this context that the proposed Nordic Development Fund financed adaptation project valued at Euro 4 million (K39 million) has significance and meaning. The thrust of this funding will be developing of codes and standards for infrastructure development in the road transport sector,” Mr. Chikwanda said.

He said climate factors such as high rainfall, high temperature and other related factors will always impact on infrastructure and that it was an inescapable requirement that they were always taken account of in the plans.

Mr. Chikwanda further stated that it was government’s hope and expectation that it could build on these initiatives with Nordic and other cooperating partners.

He noted that Nordic countries are characterised by absence of huge disparities in their own communities saying these countries revolve on meaningful fellowship internally.

“Nordic countries are not a power bloc but are kind of moral anchor for the global community. This is the kind of spirit that resonates in Zambia,” he said.

And Nordic Development Fund Country Manager Rohanna Palmberg underscored her organisation’s commitment to continue investing in climate proof infrastructure in Zambia.

Ms. Palmberg said climate change issues were real as can be seen from among many other factors the increased rainfall.

She said countries need to start preparing themselves for this climate challenge.