By Bright Chikele:
GOVERNMENT says it has prioritised economic diversification as one measure of increasing revenue generation and reduce the country’s vulnerability to external shocks.
Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Margaret Mwanakatwe said value addition to the country’s abundant natural resources for both domestic and export market is at the core of economic diversification
ZANIS reports that the Minister was speaking in Lusaka when she launched the US$30 million worth “Skills Development and Entrepreneurship Project-Supporting Women and Youth (SDEP-SWY)” funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB).
“Zambia has prioritised economic diversification away from mining in order to increase revenue generation and reduce the country’s vulnerability to external shocks which is triggered by shifts in the performance of global commodity prices”, Mrs. Mwanakatwe said.
She cited agricultural and agro processing value addition as one of government’s priority areas to maximise the potential and generate more income, create jobs and enhance rural industrialisation.
The US$30 million project will be implemented by the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC).
Mrs. Mwanakatwe thanked the AfDB for supporting government projects aimed at creating wealth and employment opportunities for the Zambian people especially for women and youths.
She disclosed that the project will create a total of 17,000 employment opportunities for youths and women while 4, 000 sustainable jobs will also be created for Micro Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (MSME)
Mrs. Mwanakatwe further urged the CEEC and all stakeholders to put efforts together to ensure that the project achieves its intended objective.
And AfDB Country Representative Damoni Kitabire said his Bank remains committed to supporting government initiatives aimed at improving entrepreneurship skills among women and youths in the country.
Mr. Kitabire further said the project will support the improvement of competiveness and bridge the entrepreneurial skills gap among women and youths and further promote export diversification.
Meanwhile, CEEC Board Chairperson Kasuka Mutuku said the commission has put relevant structures to ensure that the project is prudently implemented in line with the commission’s corporate governance
Dr. Mutuku expressed happiness that the project will facilitate the participation of more women and youths in the country’s social and economic development.