Mozambique Gets World Bank Conservation, Tourism Project
$20 million credit from International Development Association targets local level
By Jim Fisher-Thompson
Washington File Staff Writer
U.S. Department of State release
Washington -- More of Mozambique's natural ecosystems will be conserved, and thus draw more tourism to the country, thanks to a World Bank-funded project that aims to promote economic growth through sustainable use of natural resources.
On December 1, the International Development Association (IDA), a member of the World Bank Group, announced a non-interest loan of $20 million to support the conservation of biodiversity and natural ecosystems in Mozambique. IDA focuses on the poorest countries in the world and provides low-interest loans, interest-free credit and grants for projects in the fields of education, health, infrastructure and communications.
The Trans-Frontier Conservation Area and Tourism Development Project, as the project is known, will further conservation in southern Africa by "maintaining intact, large natural ecosystems and ecological linkages" that span national borders, according to a World Bank press release.
The project includes a $10 million grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and a $3.7 million grant from the Japanese Policy and Human Resources Development Fund. GEF is an independent financial organization that provides grants to developing countries for environmental projects that promote sustainable livelihoods in local communities.
Many of the IDA and GEF projects are administered by the World Bank and United Nations development organizations.
The Mozambique project will establish and manage conservation areas in three locales -- Chimanimani, Lubombo and Greater Limpopo -- with "significant trans-border biodiversity linkages" on the border with neighboring countries, the release said. Management of the initiative will be entrusted to Mozambique's National Directorate for Conservation Areas.
The result will be increased revenues for communities from the growth in environmentally sustainable tourism in the southern region, said Jean-Michel Pavy, World Bank task team leader for the project.
A bonus will be support for "the Mozambique government's efforts in improving the business environment with a view to stimulating private sector investments and private-sector-led economic growth," Pavy added.
The IDA project also will help "create the policy, legal and institutional framework for the government of Mozambique to implement its strategic choice of improving regional collaboration in the management of trans-frontier resources and to promote interagency collaboration and vertical linkages between central and local governments," the World Bank release concluded.
The United States has funneled development assistance for the past 20 years to Mozambique through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which plans to operate programs worth $28 million there during the next 10 months. Mozambique is also one of 16 countries eligible for funding from President Bush's Millennium Challenge Account, which provides aid to poor countries moving toward free markets and democratic institutions.
The southern African nation is also a focus country under President Bush's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and received $48 million this year for HIV/AIDS programs -- up from $26 million in 2004.