Vice President Inonge Wina has says entrepreneurship in Africa is a tool for job and wealth creation.
And Mrs. Wina says the spirit of Entrepreneurship among Zambians, especially the women is ever increasing.
The Vice President said the reason why the entrepreneurial spirit is being embraced is that it brings on the table the Youths and Women, emphasising on talent and skills rather than academic qualifications.
“I am very happy to be back at the Legatum institute to share with you ideas on the opportunities and challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in Zambia.
” it is against this background that I am happy to state that the spirit of entrepreneurship among Zambians, especially the women is alive and growing,” Mrs Wina said.
She added that taking a cursory look at global trends, one observes that many countries have embraced the entrepreneurship model to foster development.
“I have in mind for example, India, China, and Brazil. In Africa, entrepreneurship has in the rt past been recognised as a tool for job creation,” she said.
She said in Zambia where 70 percent of the population are youths and more than 50 percent are women, entrepreneurship offers an avenue for job creation and income generation as the private sector has greater capacity to create employment opportunities for those that cannot be absorbed in the public sector.
Most women entrepreneurs in Zambia are involved in sectors such as Agriculture, Trading, Hospitality, Education, Construction, and to some extent small scale Mining.
The Vice President was, however, of the view that women entrepreneurs should fully understand the ethos of business practice but lack critical skills such as Information Technology (IT), financial literacy, and marketing among others.
“You will be interested to learn that the Zambian economy offers numerous opportunities for women entrepreneurs, some of which include: 30 percent of land allocations is reserved for women to improve access to land, public procurement policies and guidelines require some segments of construction contracts such as paving, road maintenance and provision of building materials, to be undertaken by Zambian small scale entrepreneurs, especially the women and youth.
” Government has established industrial parks in all the 10 provinces for establishment of value adding industries such as agro-processing, government provides startup capital, technical support, training and market linkages through institutions such as, Citizen Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) and Zambia Tourism Agency (ZTA),” she said.
Mrs. Wina said women entrepreneurs in Zambia face many challenges in the conduct of their business such as, access to credit owing to stringent lending criteria by financial institutions requiring collateral and financial records, access to market because of lack of information.
She noted that other challenges include contacts, poor packaging and product presentation as a result of lack of technology and skill, lack of networking platforms and opportunities for exchange of information and best practice, and lack of knowledge in financial management and accounting.
The Vice President, however, said the Zambian government has taken steps to address challenges of market access, land allocation and credit.
“We also have the Presidential market initiative; an initiative which His Excellency the President, Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu is promoting and championing, by providing small credit loans to enable the Marketeers in town markets grow and expand their businesses.
“Furthermore, my office is championing an initiative called Jubilee Women integrated highway modern markets, whose objective is to use these highway markets as economic development hubs and in the process empower women who constitute 80 percent of Marketeers,” she said.
She also invited investors to partner with Zambian women entrepreneurs and help to build capacity in identification of business opportunities, preparation of business plans, financial management and accounting, marketing, legal and tax issues, among others.
The Vice President further called on global financial institutions to come up with affirmative action programmes that would assist women access credit.
This is contained in a statement released to ZANIS in Ndola today by First Secretary for Press and Public Relations at the Zambian High Commission in the United Kingdom Abigail Chaponda.