The official launch of Zimbabwe’s Support to Beef and Leather Value Chain Technical Assistance Project took place on June 15th, 2017 in Harare, attracting more than 100 participants.
The US$ 2.3 million project financed by the Fund for Africa Private Sector Assistance (FAPA), the Transitional Support Facility (TSF) and the Japan International Finance Cooperation (JICA), aims to catalyze economic growth in pilot areas in Zimbabwe through supporting the growth of the beef and leather sub-sectors with emphasis on value addition resulting in creation of employment, income growth and poverty reduction.
In his remarks, the Charge d’Affaires, Embassy of Japan in Zimbabwe, Dabide Tsunakake who represented donors at the event said that the private sector has played an important role in Africa’s economic growth. These important roles were acknowledged at both TICAD V held in Yokohama in 2013 and TICAD VI in Nairobi in 2016, Tsunakake said, noting that the Government of Japan pledged to extend necessary assistance to the private sector in Africa through FAPA.The resolutions adopted at TICAD V and VI, especially the Nairobi declaration adopted last August in Kenya, are now coming to fruition, with the Bank deciding to implement this project to provide technical assistance to the private sector beef and leather industries in Zimbabwe, he said.
In his key note address, Zimbabwe’s the Minister of Industry and Commerce, Michael Bimha said that “the successful implementation of the project will help in increasing output and contribution of the sub-sector to the growth of the manufacturing sector.”
The Government has, in the interim, put measures to complement and accelerate the pace and depth of the project’s implementation with several initiatives aimed at increasing livestock herds being implemented to support farmers’ incomes and create new market opportunities for livestock derived products, including hides and skins.
“Government, in collaboration with development partners, is working to support rebuilding of the national herd, comprising beef cattle and other small domestic animals. The program seeks to grow the national cattle herd from the current 5.5 million to 5.8 million by end of 2017,” the minister said.
In her remarks, Zimbabwe Country Program Office, Fasika Eyerusalem, who represented the Bank during the event, said that the project was critical to attaining the goals of the ZimAsset and the Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (2016 – 2018). It will in particular address the country’s efforts in enhancing the agriculture productivity, growth and rural food security and promoting private sector development hence contributing to macroeconomic stability and poverty reduction.
Prominent participants at the launch included Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce Chiratidzo Mabuwa; Permanent Secretary Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Abigal Shonhiwa, as well as officials from various ministries. Also in attendance were development partners such as the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (Fintrac) and the Common Markets for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA); local government officials from Matabeleland North; financial institutions such as Zimbabwe Agriculture Trust Fund; Private Sector Stakeholders and the media.
The Bank currently has 16 active projects in Zimbabwe with a total commitment of US$ 218 million in support of agriculture, water supply and sanitation, power, transport, governance and institutional support.
FAPA is a multi-donor thematic trust fund that provides grant funding for technical assistance and capacity building to support the implementation of the Bank’s Private Sector Development Strategy. More about FAPA can be found here: www.afdb.org/fapa