Zam­bia and Fin­land in EUR9mn SME grant..

Zambian Business Times - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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