The government has called on women in the country to seize the opportunities by exploring and investing in the extractive industry and the value chain.
Speaking virtually, during the launch of Young Women in Mining (YWM) in Kitwe, Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development Permanent Secretary (PS) Barnaby Mulenga disclosed that the country has embarked on mining gold deposits in North-Western, Eastern and Central Provinces and the venture has created alot of opportunities for Zambians to participate in.
Mr Mulenga said government remains committed to empowering its citizens through access to loans and machineries.
Mr Mulenga has since encouraged women to form cooperatives and take advantage of the incentives being provided by government to enable their businesses thrive in the sector.
“It’s just unfortunate that we have few women participating in the sub sector despite numerous opportunities. The launch of the YWM is timely as it will be a vehicle to peddle the message of opportunities in the subsector and what government is offering,” he said.
Mr Mulenga further stated that the idea of forming cooperatives is to break the gender barriers in the sub sector which is largely dominated by men.
YWM has been launched under the theme “unlocking equal opportunities for women in the mining industries”.
And earlier Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary, Amos Malupenga advised young women in mining to share knowledge and networking to unlock opportunities.
Mr Malupenga said the launch of the initiative is timely and key in creating strategic alliances so that women can be supported in the sector.
Mr Malupenga also appealed to the media to give the initiative much needed coverage to market Zambian products and services.
Meanwhile YWM Representative, Angela Sikaonga has appealed to government to make it mandatory for all mining companies to make provision of the total 5 % to 10% percent of procurement of mining services and suppliers to women.
Ms Kaonga said women run mining suppliers companies, have for a long time faced challenges to compete with menfolk to access value contracts and orders from established mining companies.
She said young women in the sector have since come up with this initiative to encourage women in mining to form cooperatives in order to strengthen their voice.
Ms Kaonga said women in mining have confidence that government under the leadership of President Edgar Lungu will continue running an inclusive government in delivering sustainable development.