Zambian small businesses to benefit of AfCFTA
Zambian business owners encouraged to leverage opportunities available through African Continental Free Trade Area thanks to ITC-CUTS workshop
The Consumer Unity and Trust Society in Lusaka, in partnership with the International Trade Centre (ITC), held a two-day workshop to equip small businesses in Zambia to leverage the opportunities available through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The workshop equipped 50 Zambian small businesses with an outline of their comparative advantages and tailored support of customizing their business products for business growth and exports.
Speakers highlighted the need for increased business competitiveness, e-commerce opportunities and tailored policies for women and youth to ensure Zambian small businesses successfully use the AfCFTA to expand their business opportunities.
ITC Deputy Executive Director, Dorothy Tembo underscored ITC’s commitment to support women and young entrepreneurs by equipping small businesses to trade under the AfCFTA. To ensure the implementation is streamlined, Tembo also outlined ITC’s continued engagement of the private sector under the new single market. All the interventions are part of ITC’s One Trade Africa Programme, which is connecting micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) with lucrative market opportunities across Africa.
On behalf of the Zambia’s Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises Development, Elias Mubanga welcomed the workshop, stating the training comes at a very crucial time in Zambia’s history when the nation’s and region’s growth trajectory and trade prospects are showing positive signs.
He shared that the government has been making the necessary effort to ensure Zambia is well prepared for effective implementation of the AfCFTA, in accordance with the 2022 budget theme titled “growth, jobs and taking development closer to the people.” He said: “The Government of the Republic of Zambia is focused on providing an enabling environment within which the private sector, both local and foreign, can thrive in Zambia.”
Representing the Ministry of Commerce Trade and Industry, Yvonne Zulu also presented on the country’s AfCFTA National Implementation Strategy developed in April 2019. She reaffirmed the government’s commitment to prioritize the country’s rapid economic development to create impactful and sustainable jobs.
“The AfCFTA presents Zambia with a huge opportunity to increase its export earnings by tapping into the larger African market. The implementation strategy will positively contribute to job and wealth creation by increasing the productive capacities of MSMES and Cooperatives, through targeted interventions in sectors where Zambia has comparative and competitive advantage,” she said.
The Zambia Development Agency also assured businesses of their support for better competitiveness and business bankability.
This event was the first of several workshops that engage and train small business to compete favorably at local and international level, as well as create jobs in the country through the AfCFTA.