The Zambian government and the private sector have partnered to launch a new program aimed at boosting the growth and resilience of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the country.
The program, which was launched at the Mulungushi Conference Center in Lusaka on thursday, is a collaboration between the government, CNC 360, and Choppies Zambia. It aims to enhance the skills and capabilities of SMEs and cooperatives, enabling them to meet contract obligations efficiently and elevate their business management and leadership skills at various growth stages.
Speaking at the launch, Minister of Small and Medium Enterprise Development Honourable Elias Mubanga praised the collaboration between the government and private sector, saying it was a “significant step towards boosting the growth and resilience of SMEs in Zambia.”
He highlighted the government’s commitment to implementing policy reforms that foster transparency and predictability, creating an enabling environment for SMEs to thrive. He also acknowledged the challenges faced by SMEs in supplying goods and services, and commended the development of targeted programs like capacity building to help overcome these hurdles.
Mr. Jyothish Canhiradan, Managing Director of Choppies Zambia, expressed gratitude to the government for fostering an environment that supports partnerships and SME growth in Zambia. He emphasized the need for unity among chain store managers, SMEs, and the government to foster economic growth collaboratively. Choppies remains committed to providing robust support to its suppliers and the communities in which they operate.
The program is a homegrown Zambian solution, specifically designed to address the unique challenges faced by SMEs in the supply of goods and services. It recognizes the need for knowledge transfer, risk management, and product quality improvement for emerging enterprises.
The government has highlighted its commitment to the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement, aiming to connect local producers with regional markets. This initiative aligns with the Ministry’s mandate to enhance business skills development, improve product quality and processes, establish market linkages, and facilitate access to finance for SMEs, enabling them to compete effectively in the SADC, COMESA, and under the African Continental Free Trade Area.
The Ministry intends to extend such initiatives to all parts of the country, ensuring SMEs across Zambia have the capacity and opportunities to compete favorably in chain stores.
This joint effort between the government and the private sector marks a significant milestone in bolstering the potential of SMEs, fostering sustainable business models, and contributing to the economic growth of Zambia. The ongoing commitment and collaboration among stakeholders promise a promising future for the country’s entrepreneurial landscape.