ILO and Zambia partner to improve living standards in rural areas

Upgrading rural roads will provide the right connectivity to develop local communities’ access to markets and create decent work opportunities.

Press release | Mazabuka, Zambia | 10 August 2018
LUSAKA (ILO News) - The International Labour Organization (ILO) is partnering with the Government of Zambia and the country’s largest sugar manufacturing company, Zambia Sugar (ZS) to upgrade the Lubombo road and support rural communities of Mazabuka, Southern province of Zambia.

The project will demonstrate the use of labour-based road paving technologies, while at the same time promoting skills and enterprise development and job creation for the rural communities in Mazabuka.

The road construction programme will improve the lives of the local population by linking the farming and fishing communities of Mazabuka and creating decent rural jobs using a labour-intensive based approach.

The upgrading of the 10 km rural road consists of the operational use of cost effective innovative technologies (i.e. cobblestone paving and low volume sealed road). Labour intensive works utilize technologies that use an optimum mix of labour force and light equipment in the delivery of public infrastructure, without compromising on the quality.

The project has also a “skills and enterprise development” component using the cooperatives model as well as a proactive goal of promoting partnerships between government, private sector, NGOs, and the local community.
“The project is using a Private Public Partnership (PPP) approach that addresses infrastructure development and demonstrates the use of local resource technologies”, Ms Rebecca Katowa, Managing Director of Zambia Sugar Company Plc said.
The Lubombo project has attracted a number of partners including the Government through the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry, Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure Development, Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Lafarge Zambia, Road Development Agency (RDA), National Council for Construction, Barclays Bank, ZESCO, a local authority - the Mazabuka Municipal Council and a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) - People’s Action Forum.
“Labour-based technologies lead to employment-based social protection for marginalised and vulnerable people”, Alexio Musindo, ILO Country Director for Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique stated.

In addition, if well-managed, labour-based methods in infrastructure development have proved to be a viable and cost-effective alternative to equipment-based methods as they produce good quality infrastructure, allow cost savings, particularly in terms of foreign exchange and can generate high levels of outputs, provided that they are introduced in an appropriate setting, he concluded.