By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
ABOUT US$8.9 million has been disbursed by the Zambia Export Development Fund (ZEDF) to more than 342 beneficiaries in the past 12 years.
ZEDF Manager, David Chewe, said the fund had distributed about US$8.9 million to various enterprises in the last 12 years.
Dr Chewe explained that the fund was setup through the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Government and the European Union (EU) in December 2007.
Among the beneficiaries include the producer associations in the agriculture, horticulture, floriculture, gemstone, wood and wood products.
He said this during the export finance workshop organised by Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) in Lusaka yesterday.
The workshop looked at issues around information on export financing, access to cheap export financing and business linkages.
“ZEDF seeks to compliment the role of banks and development financial institutions by focusing on unserved markets. We provide loans to various sectors that facility export trade,” Dr Chewe said.
He explained that the fund should contribute to the growth of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and creation of employment in target sub-sectors aimed at alleviating poverty.
ZEDF would continue to disburse loans that enables exporters build technical support and growth their businesses.
Dr Chewe indicated that they had provided financial support of about US$2.6 million to boost emerging agribusinesses this year.
He called on exporters and entrepreneurs in non-traditional exports to be proactive and access the affordable loans under the fund. Commenting on the Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF) held in South Africa, Dr Chewe said they were able to clichéd deals worth US$15 million.
He said about US$14 million would be channeled towards loan facility, while the balance was for technical support to entrepreneurs.
Speaking at the same event, ZDA acting Director General, Theresah Kampata, said this would help entrepreneurs explore ways of accessing export financing and other business opportunities.
Ms Kampata said it was important for entrepreneurs to network with a purpose of increasing their export opportunities.