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EU pumps €40m in private sector

CAROLINE KALOMBE, Lusaka
EUROPEAN Union head of delegation Alessandro Mariani says his organisation has set aside 40 million euros to improve the regulatory framework as a way of supporting the private sector.
Mr Mariani said in Lusaka on Thursday the money is meant to boost private sector participation in the economy and foster its role in poverty reduction through job creation.
He was speaking during the British Chamber of Commerce meeting with co-operating partners in Lusaka.
Mr Mariani said the funding will also be used on pilot projects proposed by the private sector.
He said improving the policy framework will boost the role of the private sector in national development.
The sector, Mr Mariani said, needs proper regulation to operate favourably and ensure sustainable growth and generate jobs.
“The private sector is key to business and development. It provides affordable goods and services and an engine for innovation. By reducing risks of investment, the private sector provides additional resources in the economy where they invest,” he said.
Mr Mariani said the EU has shifted support to include focus on energy and agriculture sectors as the country moves to diversify its economy.
“There is need for diversification of energy sources. Hydro power has served the country well and will continue, but we know its limits such as climate change,” he said.
Mr Mariani said the energy sector has raised a lot of interest from European investors and that ensuring a regulatory framework that provides an enabling environment for such investment to flourish is important.
And Department for International Development (DfID) economist in Zambia Annalise Raue said the funding agency is supporting Zambia in reducing poverty through various private sector initiatives.
Mr Raue said DfID has provided US$16 million for private sector enterprises for six years, which will ensure US$30 million of investment and create 40,000 jobs.
She noted that Zambians need to participate adequately in the economy and that change can only come from them.

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