President Edgar Lungu is this Saturday expected to launch a multi-million youth empowerment fund in Kitwe, on the Copperbelt.
Sport, Youth and Child Development Minister Emmanuel Mulenga disclosed the development at a media briefing jointly addressed with Chief Government spokesperson Dora Siliya in Lusaka today.
Mr. Mulenga said it is President Lungu’s desire to ensure that young people are self-reliant so that they can significantly contribute to the economic development of the country.
He said Government will continue to create a conducive environment for young people with business ideas to pursue their dreams.
Mr. Mulenga said this is important because most young people with brilliant business ideas are being inhibited by the high cost of financing.
He said unlike other empowerment funds which are tied to specific sector, the yet to be launched fund will accommodate proposals from all sectors.
“We have left the issue of sectors to the young people themselves because in the past we have been seen to be imposing business ideas on them. This time we want young people to indicate to the Ministry what business they can do because they live in communities and understand the needs of the communities,” he said.
He said his ministry will encourage young people to look at goods and services that are in short supply on the market so they can derive maximum profits from their businesses.
And Mr. Mulenga said the fund will be co-managed by his ministry and the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC).
He said this is important to ensure that the processes of accessing the funds are shortened so that young people can quickly get into their business.
Mr. Mulenga said it is the desire of Government that the whole process is shortened to a minimum period of three weeks.
He said Government will negotiate with various prices for goods and services being produced by young people to help them stabilize and build capacity for them to pay back.
And Chief Government Spokesperson Dora Siliya has appealed to young people across the country to take advantage of the various empowerment initiatives Government has continued to put in place to achieve their business dreams.
Ms. Siliya said while Government has continued to take positive steps to empower young people, it is important for those with business ideas to rise to the occasion and seize the opportunity and participate in the economic development of the country.
“You do not have to wait. Follow the opportunity. It is your time and so rise to the occasion,” she advised young people.
She appealed to the youth to make themselves available by taking a chance at the opportunities the presidential youth empowerment fund will present.