By NAKUBIANA MUMBUNA, JULIUS PHIRI and JAMES KUNDA –
PRESIDENT Michael Sata has challenged women across the country to rise and tap into the many opportunities that the Government is creating in various sectors.
The President in this regard directed the ministries of Gender and Finance to come up with appropriate financing programmes and projects that would adequately serve women to enable them compete on the global market.
In a speech read for him by Vice-President Guy Scott at the commemoration of International Women’s Day in Lusaka yesterday, President Sata said the greatest input to accelerating the participation of women in economic development was access to adequate and cheaper financing of business ideas.
He further directed the Ministry of Lands to work closely with the Ministry of Gender to ensure that land was made available to facilitate the construction of facilities aimed enhancing business skills, innovation and manufacturing capabilities among women.
President Sata said access to land by women was the key to unlocking Government interventions in the economic sector.
He revealed that the Government was also targeting to create jobs in the agro-forestry sub-sector by promoting the establishment of plantations and woodlots to be operated by women entrepreneurs in each province.
President Sata said the Government was also promoting the establishment of community-based eco-tourism ventures that would be run by women’s groups or women entrepreneurs on commercial basis.
President Sata earlier on his face book page wished all gallant women of Zambia a happy International Women’s Day.
The President in his message said women were essential partners in national development, adding that their contributions towards the prosperity of Zambia were valued And Gender Minister Inonge Wina said as the country celebrated International Women’s Day, whose theme was ‘Inspiring Change: Celebrating Gods favour on 50 years of women’s excellence and achievements’, there was need to recognise women’s achievements.
Ms Wina said women in Zambia had contributed significantly to the social and economic development of the country dating back to independence.
Meanwhile, the Government has said women and children must be proactive in all aspects of national development in the country.
Energy and Water Development Deputy Minister Charles Zulu said at a colourful celebration of International Women’s day held at Sairi in Chipata yesterday that the Government needed women to take part in economic and social politics that supported women’s empowerment programmes.
Mr Zulu said the Government was also supporting programmes and budgets that were promoting non-violence towards the women folk.
He said the Government would do everything possible to keep women highly protected against all forms of violence.
Mr Zulu said there was need for women to work with the Government to clear all forms of violence against women.
Mr Zulu said this would enhance their valuable contributions in national building, peace and stability.
And Home Affairs Deputy Minister Alfridah Kansembe has said people must collaborate to eliminate traditional beliefs and practices that have deprived women and girls of their potential to succeed in life.
Ms Kansembe said some of these beliefs and practices had demoralised women and girls so much that they could not esteem themselves.
Ms Kansembe said this in Ndola yesterday where she officiated at the commemorations of the International Women’s Day.
“Negative traditional beliefs and practices have enslaved our women and girls due to the devastating face of poverty, HIV/AIDS and stigmatisation so much that they cannot esteem themselves,” Ms Kansembe said.
“These are some of the concerns we still need to eliminate as we focus on the next 50 years and beyond.”
In Kabwe, celebrations of the day were characterised by singing and dancing, with Community Development, Mother and Child Health Deputy
Minister Jean Kapata emphasing the need to ensure that women and girls were provided with tools to change their life styles and contribute to the development of the country, report SYLVIA MWEETWA and KASONDE KASONDE.
Ms Kapata further reaffirmed commitment to fighting gender-based violence in the country and that the Government looked forward to a society free of gender violence.
Ms Kapata said as the country celebrated the 50 years golden jubilee, there was need to involve the women and girls in various areas of development as they were partners in development.
She paid tribute to women in Central Province who contributed to the independence struggle of the country in various ways.
And Kabwe district Commissioner Patrick Chishala said he was happy that women turned up in big numbers to celebrate their day and challenged them to take up positions in their key areas of development.