The Zambia Business in Development Facility (ZBiDF) finally concluded the signing of three partnerships that were awaiting clearance from the Ministry of Justice. The Signing Ceremony took place on 13th July, 2016 at Cabinet Office and was officiated by the Secretary to Cabinet Dr. Roland Msiska.
The partnerships are part of the Industrialisation and Job Creation Strategy (IJCS) that the government introduced in order to encourage diversification in the country and shift the focus from mining especially in the mining communities like Copperbelt and North Western Provinces. The partnerships seek to bring business into the development sphere by developing multi-stakeholder partnerships that contribute to job creation and national development, these partnerships have a diverse mix of stakeholders including private sector, civil society, quasi government institutions, donors as well as the public sector, the ZBiDF Team has been facilitating dialogue among these stakeholders for sometime .
The partnerships include;
- Cassava to Flour Products Memorandum of Understanding; this partnership is aimed at employment creation and poverty reduction through increased production, processing/value addition and of cassava. The partners start from research institutions to end users and it is envisaged that jobs will be created across the value chain and improve the livelihoods of people.
- Consortium of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Producers Partnership; this partnership involves sixteen stakeholders along the fruit and vegetable supply chain anchored by Shoprite and its subsidiary Freshmark. The partnership is meant to improve market access for Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Farmers on the Copperbelt in order to increase smallholder farmers’ household income. This is targeted to farmers in Chingola and Mufulira. The partnership was signed on 14th May, 2016 but it was recognized at the ceremony as it is part of the IJCS.
- The National Skills Development Partnership; the partnership seeks to create a robust training ecosystem that is aimed at reducing the skills gap between graduates from training institutions and expectations from industry in order to enhance productivity, employability and innovation for Zambia’s economic development. It consists 7 partners and all the partners have signed the MoU. The next phase in this partnership is implementation which includes; reviewing the apprenticeship Act and linking Tertiary Training Institutions to companies which can take students on Internship.
Speaking to the stakeholders at the ceremony, Dr. Msiska commended private sector, businesses associations, government ministries and departments, civil society and cooperating partners who had answered the call to come together through cross-sector partnerships, to address the critical problem of unemployment in the country adding that the initiative is being implemented as part of the government`s industrialisation and job creation agenda which is outlined in the IJCS and other strategic national documents. He also encouraged the private sector to continue engaging government on matters of national Development.
The ZBiDF Team will now move on to Manage and Maintain the relationships that have been built within the partnerships so that they begin implementing what was agreed upon, the facility will also play the role of hand-holding so that the partners have an independent body pushing for the implementation of the set objectives.