The European Union (EU) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have signed an entrepreneurship development agreement for implementation of a K14.5 billion project dubbed Zantchito.
Through the deal, the two will the pull together EUR 13.5 million and $1.2 million, respectively.
The fund is for the implementation of an Entrepreneurship and Access to Finance project which will support delivery of business support services to local entrepreneurs.
The project will focus on skills and entrepreneurship development for young Technical, Entrepreneurial, and Vocational Education and Training (Tevet) graduates and micro, small enterprises (MSEs)
The project is aimed at promoting an entrepreneurial culture, creation of sustainable enterprises and decent and formal jobs.
UNDP Resident Representative Shigeki Komatsubara said the country has vast potential.
“Overall, there is very high confidence in the existence of opportunities and much self-confidence among young Malawians in their own capabilities to become entrepreneurs.
“However, only 2 percent of young entrepreneurs could raise the necessary funds from commercial banks and other financial institutions,” he said.
He added that the project is part of a wider programme on skills development for job creation and a strategic step towards more effective collaboration with smaller scale enterprises.
“It is obvious that Sustainable Development Goals cannot be realised without leveraging the collaborative advantages of the private sector, and I cannot emphasise this more,” Komatsubara said.
EU Head of Cooperation Ivo Hoefkens hailed the country for rolling a long term development agenda which among other things aims at addressing hurdles faced by young people in business.
The project aims to support over 3,800 entrepreneurs in creation of new entrepreneurship ventures and in the formalisation of existing enterprises with direct and indirect job creation in excess of 7,600.
The programme, with a sum of EUR 55 million, was signed by the government in August 2020 with the double objective of investing in people by investing in education and skills, and strengthening the business environment and investment climate.
Mathews Kasanda is a journalist who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from University of Malawi (The Polytechnic).
In 2015, Media Institute of Southern Africa awarded him the Best Print Media Education Journalist of the Year accolade.
He joined Times Group Newsroom in September 2019.