SMEs Are the Cornerstone of Development - ZDA

The Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) says enhancing the development of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) cannot be over emphasized as SMEs play an important role in employment creation and economic growth.

ZDA Director General Patrick Chisanga says even the big companies of today started as SMEs or family businesses.

Mr. Chisanga was speaking during the plenary session at the ongoing Ease of Doing Business Initiative Conference in Livingstone which is being held under the theme” Business Reforms for Industrialisation, Value Addition and Job Creation.”

The Director General says the Zambian government attaches great importance to the growth of SMEs in the country.

He explains that in line with government policy, the ZDA has put in place various interventions to facilitate the growth of small enterprises.

Mr. Chisanga says the Agency has signed Memoranda of Understanding with various banks and other financial institutions such as Bank ABC, Madison Finance and Mizuho Financial Group among others to facilitate access to finance for small and medium enterprises.

“The Agency also facilitates market access to SMEs in chain stores and other supermarkets,” he said.

Mr Chisanga added that ZDA encourages joint venture partnerships between local and foreign investors.

“Currently, we are facilitating a joint venture partnership between a Zambian Enterprise and a Korean investor interested in recycling plastic products into other valuable products which will reduce environmental degradation as well as create employment.”

He is hopeful that the partnership will be successful and will create wealth and employment for the local people.

ZDA also trains SMEs to build capacity and gives trade support to help enterprises enter the international markets.

“Just last year, we took about 30 companies to the Democratic Republic of Congo which is Zambia’s largest market for non-traditional exports to expose them to that market,” Mr. Chisanga elaborated.

The Ease of Doing business Initiative (EDBI) Conference is a peer-to-peer learning event requested by African countries and supported by the World Bank Group, to facilitate knowledge sharing on Doing Business reforms.

Among the key topics being discussed at the conference are enhancing regional trade, changes to doing business methodologies, enhancing SME development and implementation of special economic zones.

The Ease of Doing Business Initiative Conference has attracted over 300 delegates from more than 20 countries in Africa and abroad; among them top business executives and other leading public and private sector players.