European Union – Zambia Business Club and the Government confer on fostering Private Sector Development & Green Economy
On 25th November 2021, the European Union Zambia Business Club (EUZBC) organised a roundtable with the Government, to elaborate on opportunities of a “green economy” in Zambia for the private sector. The Minister of Small & Medium Enterprises (SME), Honourable Elias Mubanga and the Minister of Green Economy & Environment, Honourable Collins Nzovu, participated to the exchanges. More than 100 members of the EUZBC also participated to the discussion.
In his remarks, Mr. Mark Luering, as President of the EUZBC but also Managing Director of Drake and Gorham, welcomed the new Government’s orientation towards promoting more sustainable and greener business models. He said that the private sector is aware of the benefits and opportunities of investing in a green and circular economy. He added that going green is a way for a country like Zambia to achieve an economic growth which is sustainable, inclusive and transformative.
The Ambassador of the European Union to Zambia and COMESA, Mr Jacek Jankowski reiterated that the European Union is committed to work closely with the Government of Zambia and the private sector on “green” transformation. The European Union and its member states are ready to share their positive experiences towards this new industrial revolution. The Ambassador insisted on the need for joint efforts to address the challenges of climate change and environmental degradation, to translate these challenges into new opportunities for businesses. He welcomed Zambia’s commitment to promote “innovative financing for climate change interventions”.
In his keynote address, Hon. Nzovu highlighted the need for a shift in the public / private sector dialogue and engagement, to mobilise resources for climate change. He encouraged the private sector to find innovative solutions, adopt new technologies and to be proactive in accessing green financing. He referred to several existing investment opportunities in the energy, agriculture and natural resources sectors. According to the Minister of Green Economy & Environment, the Government is ready to work closely with cooperating partners, such as the European Union, to make best use of the green financing and financial instruments offered by the European Investment Bank but also other international financial institutions.
Hon. Mubanga reiterated Zambia’s commitment to work closely with the private sector to improve the business environment, starting with the mapping of SMEs and identification of constraints affecting them. The Minister of SMEs added that access to information, skills development and the change of mind-set would be critical elements for the transformation of SMEs to large corporates. The Ministry is in the process of reviewing the SMEs’ policy, in order for example, to ensure that institutions such as Citizens Economic Empowerments Commission will work more effectively.
Mr. Tue Andersen, Managing Partner of Kakula Capital Plc. shared interesting prospects and opportunities for green investments from the capital and financial markets’ perspective.
All panellists identified the need to create sector policies and an enabling business environment and investment climate, in order to promote and stimulate the green transition in the country. Further public / private sector dialogue is needed in Zambia to support the new Government’s agenda towards a green and sustainable economy. Likewise, members of the EUZBC raised their interest in accessing climate finance to translate Government’s aspirations and development partners’ strategies into concrete actions and deliverables on the ground. For this, focus should be on support to Zambian companies. Members of the audience mentioned the need for the Government to revise the criteria defining an SME. One member of the EUZBC even wondered why the Government would not initiate investments in green mobility, which would make sense in a country producing 98% of its electricity from renewable sources.
In conclusion, there was a consensus on the opportunities offered by the green transformation and all sides agreed on the need to walk the talk and to join forces to turn this into reality.