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LUSAKA (Capital Markets in Africa) — International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, and the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) today announced an investment of $10 million each in Metalco Industries Company Limited, a Zambian company that recycles metal scrap to manufacture copper cables, lead-acid batteries, aluminum sheets and utensils.
Metalco will use the new capital to upgrade environmental standards, expand operations, create over 250 new jobs and support the local economy of Kabwe, where the company is based. IFC will advise Metalco on energy efficiency, quality control and improving corporate governance.
Kabwe is one of the world’s ten most polluted cities in terms of lead, given its history of lead mining with no formal mine closures and lack of rehabilitation. The World Bank is working with the Government of Zambia to clean up Kabwe by building infrastructure to manage waste, and by financing clinics where companies can test and treat workers for lead exposure.
Mining, although a cornerstone of Zambia’s economy, generates few long-term jobs, as the country exports copper and other minerals as commodities.
Dimitris Tsitsiragos, IFC’s Vice President for New Business, said, “IFC and OFID’s investment in Metalco will help Zambia maximize the benefits of its natural resources by developing domestic value addition activities, creating jobs and opportunities for traders, producers and entrepreneurs. The World Bank Group’s efforts to mitigate pollution and improve health care will not only allow Metalco to safeguard its workers, but also benefit residents of Kabwe.”
“Metalco is one of Zambia’s few copper cable and rod manufacturers, and the only domestic producer of lead acid batteries. IFC and OFID’s partnership will enable us to contribute to the Government of Zambia’s goal to accelerate private sector lead diversification and industrialization of Zambia. Metalco can become a best-in-class manufacturer, not only in the country, but also regionally,” said Hussein Safieddine, CEO of Metalco.
OFID’s Director-General Suleiman J. Al-Herbish commented: “Metalco is the largest employer in Kabwe. As such, the company is an important contributor to living standards, providing not only jobs, but healthcare, housing and other services. OFID is proud to be behind this project, in partnership with the IFC, bolstering the Zambian economy, local manufacturing and safeguarding employment levels and healthcare for the local population.”
In addition to Metalco, IFC has invested over $80 million in Zambia’s private sector, in projects that will support agribusiness, financial services, infrastructure and social services. OFID has supported over $190 million in public and private sector projects in Zambia across a diverse range of sectors, including energy, agriculture, transport and health.