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CEEC scouts for funds

THE Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) is looking for about US$30 million external funding to establish fully-fledged industrial clusters.
Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Margaret Mwanakatwe said the move is intended to supplement Government’s efforts and accelerate the development of the programme.
Ms Mwanakatwe said establishment of industrial clusters is an expensive undertaking which would cost between estimated ranges of US$20 million to US$30 million.
Giving a ministerial statement to Parliament on Tuesday on the status of the industrial clusters development programme, the minister said: “We will, nonetheless, continue to engage potential funding partners to source external financing for at least one pilot enclave industrial cluster and we are optimistic that a suitable partner will soon be found.”
Ms Mwanakatwe said the cost of funding the projects is driven by the need to set up significant infrastructure and other support services as well as the cost of buying modern equipment and skills training to operate the equipment.
“We are looking for additional money for the value chain clusters development programmes to speed up the implementation of the projects,” she said.
The programme will contribute to poverty reduction and job creation in the country.
Ms Mwanakatwe said Government will continue to prioritise the establishment of value chain industrial clusters, as it is a primary vehicle through which the ministry will facilitate rural industrialisation.
Currently, Government has disbursed over K53 million to various value chain projects in the period 2013/14, which have created 13,000 jobs.
The value chains are being implemented in 42 districts targeting various chains, among them fish farming, beef, tourism and groundnuts production.