Her Honour, Inonge Wina
, the first female Vice President of Zambia
, today unveiled an initiative to support women entrepreneurs in Zambia
Speaking at the Legatum Institute, Vice President Wina said that, together with NGOs and the private sector, the Government of President Edgar Lungu will deliver a programme to provide healthy, hygienic and integrated trading conditions for the one million women ‘street marketeers’ in Zambia.
The Rt. Hon. Baroness Chalker PC, a former FCO Minister for Overseas Development in both Margaret Thatcher and John Major’s government, and now Chairman of Africa Matters Limited, moderated the event, ‘Women as Drivers of Growth'.
Vice President Wina, who serves also as the first Minister of National Planning, told an audience that included policy-makers, journalists and many key members of the Zambian diaspora, that a number of important policies to support women were already being delivered in Zambia: these included a Women’s Bank and a campaign to end early marriages. She said that engaging chiefs in her country was seen as crucial, for “they are the custodians of our African cultures”.
The Vice President also said that, showing a remarkable enterprise spirit, one million women in her country sell vegetables, fruit and hand-made baskets from street stalls. The stalls, set up along busy roads, are unhygienic, unsafe and isolated from the commercial landscape. Henceforth, she said, “the initiative will provide these women with water and sanitation facilities so that they can form cooperatives and access markets and support”. One bank, she said, has already proposed to promote financial literacy among the women marketeers.
The Legatum Institute, who published its annual global Prosperity Index this week, held an international African Summit in May in Dar es Salaam. The two-day conference focused on the role of women entrepreneurs in increasing prosperity in Africa.
Sian Hansen, Executive Director of the Legatum Institute, said today: “The Legatum Institute was delighted to host the Vice President of Zambia whose support for her country’s women is completely in tune with our findings at the Institute: unlocking female potential is key not only for the labour force and the economy but for a country’s social and political flourishing.”