The Zambian Government has recently announced that it is committed with the creation of 500,000 jobs by 2016 by incentivizing lending to women and young entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas and social solutions in key sectors in the country.
The announcement was done by Zambia’s Trade and Industry Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe, whom on behalf of Zambia’s Vice President Inonge Wina opened the 2015 Zambia Entrepreneurship Summit organized by Zambia’s Women’s Entrepreneurship Centre (WECREATE), a non-profit organization to support women’s businesses development in Africa, and the US Embassy to Zambia in November, 2015.
The jobs creation plan is in line with industrialisation and value addition strategies set by the government to diversify the economy and make Zambia a developed country by 2064, Minister Mwanakatwe explained.
According to the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC), Zambia’s new National Budget 2016 has been developed with a focus on industrialization and economic diversification across the country to make Zambia less-dependent from copper exports.
Only a strong focus on development of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) can support Zambia to meet these goals, stressed Zambia’s Justice Deputy Minister Keith Mukata.
Zambia has a great economic potential and MSMEs will be the drivers of the country’s prosperity through the development of businesses and trade, explained US Ambassador to Zambia Eric Shultz.
According to a Bank of Zambia (BoZ) research, SMEs represent 70% of the economy and 88% of employment.
Towards 2016 the Zambian government expects to invest a total of ZMW 400 billion to support the development of 36,000 SMEs with a main focus on rural areas rather than in the traditional Copperbelt, where 65% of the total invested in last period’s was addressed.