Over K330m AfBD funds to boost skills development

T HE African Development Bank (AfDB) has given Zambia over K330 million for the implementation of skills development and entrepreneurship programmes expected to generate 16,000 jobs.
The K333 million facility, to be injected in the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC), will support the implementation of industrial yards in eight provinces, intensify commercialisation of cassava in five provinces and strengthen business development services.
Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Margaret Mwanakatwe said the funding was approved by Cabinet last week.
“With the AfDB funding, we are proceeding with the construction and operationalisation of industrial yards in Kasama, Mansa, Lusaka, Kitwe and Ndola,” she said at a press briefing on Monday.
Mrs Mwanakatwe said the industrial yards, which are expected to generate 4,000 direct jobs, will provide organised workshops for entrepreneurs involved in woodwork, automotive works, metal fabrication and agro-processing and are currently operating on the street.
The industrial yards will incorporate common facilities such as spray booths, kilns, wood and food, processing equipment.
Under the cassava commercialisation programme, Government plans to enhance the agri-business value chain among cassava farmers and traders in Northern, Luapula, North-Western and Copperbelt, creating about 12,000 jobs.
The initiative will involve the improvement of the quality of planting materials, development of bulking gentries, value addition and market development.
“About 12,000 jobs are expected to be created, especially among women and youths in rural areas, leading to increased uptake of cassava food products, food security and increased utilisation for stock feed and industrial products such as starch,” Mrs Mwanakatwe said.
She also said the business development services and support towards youth development centres projects will result in the effective provision of services to small-scale enterprises.
Mrs Mwanakatwe said the programmes underscore Government’s commitment to empowering Zambians.

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