Thursday, April 10, 2008
By Mutale Kapekele in Livingstone
Tuesday April 08, 2008 [04:00]
THE Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) has introduced a K24 billion Business Development Services (BDS) voucher for micro enterprises in four districts for three years. In an interview in Livingstone last Friday, ZDA director of micro and small enterprises division Windu Matoka said a pilot project for the fund would commence in Livingstone, Petauke, Mumbwa and Kasama districts this month.
“We have been given the funding by the Netherlands embassy who contributed K12.5 billion, the Finnish embassy K7.5 billion, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) K700 million and the government has contributed K4 billion,” Matoka said. “The fund will be managed by Madison Investments Company Ltd.”
He said the fund was meant for micro enterprises to access business development services that they normally could not afford to pay for.
“These services will include designing of business plans, accounting services and other business development services that they have no capacity to pay for,” he said.
He said ZDA had partnered with the Zambia Chamber of Small and Medium Business Association (ZCSMBA) and the Zambia National Farmers Union for the project which is expected to expand to all the districts after 2010.
“We are going to pilot in four districts for six months and then we are going to have what we are calling the establishment phase for three years and by then we hope to have replicated the pilot project to 20 districts,” Matoka said. “Depending on the success of the project, we will then expand to all districts after 2010.”
He said a two-day training workshop had been organised in Livingstone to introduce the project to the local facilitators in the district. He said similar workshops would be conducted in the other three districts in the next few days.
“We want to explain to our farmers here how the voucher fund will work and also to hear their views on the project and to see how we can best work together,” he said.
“After the workshops, we will take a team to South Africa to meet experts who are running a similar programme in that country and see what we can learn from them.