UK announces new initiative to support 50,000 jobs, facilitate over £100m (2.6 Billion Kwacha) of private sector investment and improve productivity in key sectors of Zambian economy.
Visiting UK Minister for Africa, James Duddridge, today announced a new initiative to help drive economic growth in Zambia, through supporting high potential SMEs to access investment, innovate and improve productivity. Focus sectors will include agriculture, tourism and services to the mining industry. The UK will support these businesses to become thriving national and regional businesses, ready to benefit from regional markets in Southern Africa.
The Private Enterprise Programme Zambia 2 (PEPZ2) will strengthen Zambia’s reputation as a finance and investment hub for the region. It builds on UK support and programmes like Impact Capital Africa to ensure Zambian SMEs have the best chance to secure domestic and international financial resources ranging from crowd-financing through to large institutional investors.
The Minister made the announcement following his meeting with the Zambian Minister of Finance, Dr Bwalya Ng’andu, in Lusaka.
During Minister Duddridge’s time in Zambia, he also visited 260 Brands, a Zambian SME that has been supported in its growth journey to date by previous UK support. 260 Brands provides a market for over 1,000 Zambian farmers, employs 200 staff, has grown in size and product offering in recent years and has recently begun to access export markets in the region. Previous UK support has similarly helped expand export potential for the crafts sector, for tourism businesses and other agribusinesses.
The majority of the UK support will be delivered through the new locally established investment entity called Prospero. As well as directly engaging with SMEs and investors, Prospero also builds relationships with other Zambian and international institutions to strengthen the overall ecosystem for business support and investment. Prospero recently established one such partnership with the Development Bank of Zambia and has several others in the pipeline.
Minister Duddridge said:
“Growing economies, creating jobs and enhancing productivity are all critical components for tackling poverty and giving the people of Zambia the tools to determine their own economic futures. This new initiative, bringing together support for small businesses with regulatory reforms in key sectors and facilitating greater channels for finance and investment, including from our global finance centre in the UK, provides a comprehensive toolkit for us to partner with Zambia in driving economic growth.
“As well as creating vital new jobs and investment opportunities, it will also create a greater focus on productivity. Combined with the UK’s focus on strengthening regional trade, Zambia’s strategic location and positive regulatory environment provide real potential for Zambia to act as an investment hub for the region.”
And in reply Zambia’s Minister of Finance Hon Dr Bwalya N’gandu said;
“The Government of Zambia welcomes the UK’s commitment of support to the growth of Zambia’s private sector. This major new programme will benefit in particular the numerous high-potential Small and Medium Enterprises that drive jobs within the Zambian economy as well as helping to strengthen economic ties between Zambia and the UK.”
Source: Lusaka Times