Zambia and Finland in EUR9mn SME grant..
Finland and Zambia have signed a 4year EUR9million grant to promote accelerated growth for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises [MSME’S] in order to strengthen the private sector and create more and better jobs.
The grant will go directly to MSME Development through improved access to finance, access to innovation, business growth and development services, and improved competitiveness.
In his speech, Tim Olkkonen stated the following pointers: - that Finland’s development policy and development cooperation are guided by the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. Under the agenda, Finnish development policy has a special focus on the following four priority areas:
1. Enhancing the rights and status of women and girls; 2. Improving the economies of developing countries to ensure more jobs, livelihood opportunities and well-being; 3. Democratic and better-functioning societies; 4. Increased food security and better access to water and energy as well as the sustainability of natural resources.
We believe that despite the recent economic challenges, Zambia has good prospects for long-term sustainable development if right policies are properly implemented…we hope to capitalize on our long-term relations with Zambia by gradually shifting to other, multidimensional forms of co-operation in various fields. This has also been the wish of our Zambian counterparts: the future is seen in terms of investments, trade and wider terms of cooperation, not in terms of aid, or at least not aid alone.
As our new development policy guides us to lay particular emphasis in Zambia on the strengthening of the private sector in order to create more and better jobs, we are glad to gather here today for the signatory of this accelerated growth for micro, small and medium enterprises programme. The programme is EUR9million and will run for the next 4years. The grant will go directly to MSME Development through improved access to finance, access to innovation and access to business development services.
The programme intends to work together with universities, companies and government stakeholders to improve the ecosystem in total. The goals of the programme are to create more jobs, increase turnovers of the SMEs, expand trade relations and increase the number of Zambian and Finnish companies trading. The programme will also build on the experiences and lessons learned from our previous private sector programmes, such as the green jobs programme that was successful in creating four-thousand-three hundred [4,300] jobs in selected sectors.
This agreement reaffirms our commitment to continue to support the partnership between the Government of Zambia and Government of Finland for private sector development and job creation in Zambia.
A lot of Finnish businesses are coming into Zambia to invest and to look for opportunities. With this programme we hope we can at least partly match the need of financing and business development services so that Zambian business sector can match the needs for fruitful partnerships in the future.
This year actually marks the 50th year of diplomatic relations between Zambia and Finland.
Zambia’s Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe and Finnish Ambassador to Zambia Tim Olkkonen.