Boost for Zim SMEs
Harare – The International Labour Organisation (ILO) wants to raise half-a-million US dollars to assist SMEs along the Beitbridge- Chirundu and Beitbridge-Nyamapanda highways in Zimbabwe.
Last year, ILO and the Small Enterprises Development Corporation (SEDCO) contributed US$140 000 and US$100 000 respectively for disbursement to SMEs along these corridors.
The objective is to encourage young people living along these corridors to engage in legitimate businesses and shun illegal activities and vices like prostitution and drug abuse.
Human trafficking is also a major problem and it is hoped that boosting economic activities will contribute to a decline in such cases.
The GM of SEDCO, Gladys Kanyongo, told this paper that to date some youths have already benefited from the first tranche released last year.
“ILO is targeting to raise another US$500 000 which will bring the CEEF (Corridor Economic Empowerment Fund) to a total of US$740 000.
“As fund managers SEDCO provides non-financial services to the SACCOs (Savings and Credit Co-operatives) through our business analysts and branch managers who train and mentor the beneficiaries,” Kanyongo said.
She said SEDCO assisted in monitoring of project implementation, and ensuring that loans were repaid on time.
“The disbursements are now targeted for groups in Harare and the nodes that have been identified in the Harare-Nyamapanda transport corridor,” she added.
SEDCO is a public enterprise under the Small and Medium Enterprise, Co-operative Development Ministry, whose mandate is to capitalise SMEs so that they contribute to national economic growth.
The Zimbabwe government has approved a proposal by SEDCO to set up a microfinance bank with the intent of recapitalising the sector by raising deposits from co-operatives and small and medium-sized enterprises.
The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange has also announced plans to set up a bourse for SMEs as an additional measure to raise capital for SEDCO on both local and international markets.