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Sweden confirms freezing aid to Zambia

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Sweden has confirmed that it is also freezing funding to Zambia over suspected misuse of funds in the Social Cash Transfer programme in Zambia.

Sweden through its development arm SIDA is freezing support along with Finland, Great Britain and Ireland.

A statement from the Swedish Foreign Ministry said Sweden supports cash transfers to the poorest and most vulnerable in Zambia through the Social Cash Transfer programme.

It said increasing evidence suggests that a cash transfer is an effective means to combating poverty.

“The poor and vulnerable get increased possibilities to make economic decisions over, for instance, minor investments in their household or towards increased productivity in their farming, buying more nutritious food or to pay for school fees. A high proportion of the beneficiaries are women,” it observed.

It added, “After strong suspicions concerning misuse of funds within the social cash transfers, SIDA and the other donors have frozen the use of funds. Problems within the programme were discovered during the spring of 2018, but not until August were there suspicions of misuse of funds.”

The Swedish Foreign Affairs Ministry noted that the Zambian Office of the Auditor General is making an investigation into the matter and that SIDA is carefully following the developments.

“There are not yet any reports on the amount suspected to have been misused. The agreement between Sweden and the Government of Zambia on support to the Social Cash Transfer programme, covers a total of 165 MSEK for the years 2016-2018. Out of these 130 MSEK has been disbursed up until now.”

It says corruption is a societal problem that hampers development and makes it more difficult to combat poverty.

“SIDA works actively to detect corruption, acts on all suspicions of corruption of misuse within our contributions and supports anti-corruption in our cooperation countries,” it says.

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Start: 2019-07-01 End: 2019-07-31