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Zambia - Skills development and Entrepreneurship Project - Summary ESMP - 08 2015
Zambia is endowed with abundant natural resources that include water, forests, wildlife, fertile land and mineral resources. Yet it is among the world’s Least Developed Countries (LDC). This is a condition from which the nation is striving to break away and to one day become a developed country. Many rural districts of Zambia have high levels of poverty that characterize their lifestyle. Although not often mentioned, urban poverty is also quite high in many parts of Africa. Zambia has a high urban poverty that is partially attributed to a high rural–urban migration (Mshigeni, K.E, 2009). Another key factor contributing to underdevelopment of rural Zambia directly relates to a combination of factors among which lack of skills and industry to transform natural resources into value added products is prominent. Lack of skills and basic infrastructures exacerbates rural poverty which stands at an average of 70% (CSO, 2010). Three cities (Kitwe, Lusaka and Ndola) chosen for establishing industrial clusters involving metal fabrication, auto mechanics, woodwork and block making are sites that all have high income disparities; some of the richest and poorest urban dwellers are found in these cities. The set of industries selected for skills and entrepreneurship development are key Micro-Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) that have emerged to support the Zambian economy through job creation, thus giving a broader tax base. However, Zambian MSMEs are disorganized, lack skills in entrepreneurship, productivity and production capacities to meet domestic and export supply volumes. They also produce products of low quality standards (Makano, R. 2014). Undoubtedly, most MSMEs lack competitiveness, are wasteful in materials utilization and are therefore contributors to adverse environmental and socio-economic impacts.