By FRANK MUKUPA
Government will continue supporting Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) for the country to attain inclusive sustainable economic growth, Commerce, Trade and Industry Ministry Permanent Secretary, Kayula Siame has said.
Ms Siame observed that SMEs were a valuable vehicle through which sustainable development of any economy could be attained.
She was speaking at the launch of Impact Capital Africa (ICA) -Zambia in Lusaka.
She said ICA Zambia was a unique initiative dedicated to supporting the development of local entrepreneurs by linking them to investors that deliver high quality impactful investments.
Ms Siame said seven local SMEs had raised over US$60 million to help finance their businesses through ICA Zambia from last year to date.
“We are alive to the fact that Small and Medium Enterprises play a key role in ensuring this inclusive sustainable economic growth and have therefore, placed emphasis on ensuring that Small and Medium Enterprises develop and thrive,” she said
Ms Siame said it was the aspiration of government to see SMEs grow and start competing favourably.
“This is in fact in the line with the focus of the Seventh National Development Plan which emphasises the acceleration of development efforts towards the vision 2030 of becoming a prosperous middle-income country without leaving anyone behind,” Ms Siame said
And Department for International Development (DFID) Zambia head of economic growth, Steve Beel, said there was need to harness the potential of SMEs.
“The development of SMEs plays a key role in eradicating poverty and bringing sustainable development to the country,” he said
Mr Beel said throughout history, sustained, job-creation growth had played the greatest role in lifting huge numbers of people out of poverty.
“We’ve seen it happen at an astonishing rate over recent decades in both China and India, and increasingly see it in Africa too,” He said Mr Beel said impact investment not only offered a sustainable financing solution for local SMEs but also allowed investors to advance social causes while still delivering competitive market returns.