Partner with EXIM Bank, DBZ urged
By MAIMBOLWAM MULIKELELA
THE Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Toolkit project has urged the Development Bank of Zambia (DBZ) to partner with the Export-Import Bank of India (EXIM Bank) for the purpose of financing, facilitating and promoting joint venture initiatives.
Project coordinator Edwin Zulu said it was important for DBZ to partner with international financing institutions such as the EXIM Bank of India in order to finance, facilitate and promote Zambia-India partnerships through Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
In an interview in Lusaka, Mr Zulu said DBZ should take up an active role of supporting the development of the Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (SMEs) as well as facilitate joint venture initiatives between foreign and local enterprises.
“There is need for DBZ to partner with EXIM Bank of India so that they can support joint venture programmes to be a conduit for financing business partnerships with Zambian and Indian businesses,” Mr Zulu said.
He said DBZ should begin to move in the direction of initiating partnerships with other financing institutions by not only raising finance for the growth of the SMEs but also facilitating joint venture initiatives.
Mr Zulu also called on the banking sector to develop products that would support the development of the Micro, Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (MSMEs) sector.
Meanwhile, Mr Zulu said countrywide dissemination workshops would be carried out starting with Luapula province on investment opportunities and business partnerships in India.
He said the countrywide 2013 India-Africa conclave, India-Zambia Business Prospect and Opportunity dissemination meeting would be conducted in Luapula province effective May 1, 2013.
He said the aim of the meeting would be to disseminate the opportunities emanating from Zambia’s participation at the India-Africa conclave meeting held in India recently.
Mr Zulu said from Luapula province, a minimum of 50 business enterprises from various sectors would be developed to partner with the Indian firms.
“The programme will commence effective May 1, 2013 and we expect to develop a minimum of 50 business ventures from various sectors. Each district for example can come up with 10 viable business ventures and we will do the same with other provinces,” he said.
Mr Zulu said Luapula was an important area because it had huge potential for power and energy generation, adding that the province would be set as a model for dissemination workshops for the others areas.
“The key products we will be focusing on include power and energy, processing and value addition. Luapula has a lot of cassava which can be processed into cassava meal for export into the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Angola,” he said.
Mr Zulu said beyond that, Luapula, like Eastern and Western provinces, produces a lot of mangoes and the project was looking at the possibility of linking the business enterprises to an Indian-based firm Kishore.
He said the Indian firm was involved in fruit processing and that the SME Toolkit was looking at possibilities of linking Zambian SMEs in the province so that the companies are able to process juice and jam from the mangoes.
Mr Zulu said another product that would be promoted in the area would be palm oil, saying the SMEs were encouraged to form joint ventures or equity partners in order to bring in technological transfers.