The World Bank Global Director for Environment, Natural Resources, and Blue Economy Global Practice, Ms. Valerie Hickey, has expressed the World Bank’s keen interest in supporting the flourishing of Zambia’s Aquaculture value chain sector.
In a meeting with the Minister of Small and Medium Enterprise Development, Hon. Elias Mubanga, at his office today, Ms. Hickey conveyed the World Bank’s desire to collaborate with the Ministry in providing substantial support to develop aquaculture as a thriving sector, not only for food security but also for job creation and economic development.
In an official statement issued by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprise Development, Mrs. Subeta Mutelo, Ms. Hickey emphasized the World Bank’s readiness to support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in aquaculture by providing market information and capacity building.
She acknowledged Zambia’s progress in growing the aquaculture sector but noted that there is still a need for disseminating market information widely.
She highlighted that SMEs in aquaculture face challenges in accessing financing from commercial banks due to high lending rates.
Furthermore, Ms. Hickey stated that the World Bank is prepared to collaborate with SMEs in the tourism sector and community cooperatives, providing technical assistance and funds to enable them to build sustainable businesses.
In response, Minister Elias Mubanga thanked the World Bank for expressing interest in supporting SMEs in aquaculture value chains in Zambia.
He acknowledged the government’s efforts in coordinating interventions to enhance the growth of SMEs and cooperatives, including the formulation of policies to guide the SME sector.
Minister Mubanga noted that despite SMEs contributing about 70% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Zambia, they still face challenges in accessing affordable financing and capacity-building services.
He highlighted the Ministry’s ongoing initiatives to formalize SMEs and cooperatives, emphasizing the importance of these enterprises in job creation and poverty reduction at the household level.
The Minister expressed optimism that the World Bank’s collaboration with the Ministry would boost service delivery and stimulate interest among SMEs to venture into untapped areas of aquaculture and tourism.
He emphasized that the Ministry, through its District and Provincial Officers, is well-positioned to implement a robust campaign promoting aquaculture as a viable business.