The Minister of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development, Honourable Senator Monica Mutsvangwa has implored Governments across the world to prioritise Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises as they are key to sustainable development and equitable distribution of resources.

Addressing delegates at the 8th World Investment Forum, recently in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, from 16 to 20 October 2023, Hon. Mutsvangwa said, “globally entrepreneurship is playing a key role in the growth and development of nations and the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by fostering innovation, creating jobs, and increasing productivity.”

She further highlighted that Zimbabwe’s MSMEs sector “now constitutes more than 90% of all business in Zimbabwe (3.4 million enterprises) and provides employment to more than 80% of the working population (4.8 million full time employees), the majority of whom are women, the youth and people with disabilities.”

This she said, means that “more and more families are now gainfully employed and therefore better placed to fend for their families, ensuring that the quality of life for most Zimbabwean was improving.”

The Forum which is organised by United Nations Conference on Trade and Investment (UNCTAD)’s Division on Investment and Enterprise, is running under the theme “Investing in Sustainable Development” which sits well with Zimbabwe’s Vision 2030 of becoming an upper middle income economy by year 2030.

Minister Mutsvangwa said that “due to increased entrepreneurial activities and supportive Government policy, Zimbabwe had witnessed consistent economic growth over the last three years, with a growth rate of 8.5% in 2021, 6.5% in 2022 and a projected growth of 4.1% in 2023.

Most of this activity is taking place in the MSMEs sector.

She further outlined that in order to ease the challenge of access to affordable finance for start-ups, the Government of Zimbabwe had made available “institutions such as the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Corporation, and Women’s Micro Finance Bank and establishment of SME windows by various financial institutions.

Furthermore, Zimbabwe’s Central Bank had recently established a Collateral Registry System to facilitate further easy access to credit and encourage economic activity and stimulate growth in the sector.

In addition, the formation of Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs) is being encouraged to help communities pool resources together to fund their entrepreneurial activities.”

All this she said, would ensure that Zimbabwe develops sustainably across sectors and demographic groups including women and youths.

Speaking the to the media on the side-lines of the forum, Minister Mutsvangwa acknowledged that the Forum “gives Zimbabwe an opportunity to showcase what it offers to the world in terms its vast investment, trade and tourism opportunities and also allows for benchmarking with other countries’ progress in promoting investment targeted at attaining SDG Goals.”

The Honourable Minister Mutsvangwa actively participated in a number of sessions. Making her presentation during Ministerial Enterprise Roundtable, Minister Mustvangwa emphasised that in order “to promote long-term entrepreneurial development in Zimbabwe, the Government in collaboration with various stakeholders established a comprehensive MSME Policy Framework (2020 – 2024) to foster coordination among all stakeholders, creating a supportive environment for new and growing businesses.”

Also making a presentation during the tripartite dialogue of Parliamentarians, Policy makers and the Private Sector, Honourable Mutsvangwa pointed out the need for close collaboration between Parliamentarians, Policy makers and the Private Sector in creating a conducive environment for the sustainable growth of MSMEs.

She urged governments to prioritise dialogue as a precondition to the development of lasting mutually beneficial relationships between these critical arms.

Honourable Mustvangwa also took time to interact with a number of Global Leaders including the UNCTAD Secretary General, Rebecca Grynspan and Commonwealth Secretary General, Patricia Scotland.

In her remarks during the official opening of the forum, the UNCTAD Secretary General, Rebecca Grynspan noted that this year’s edition of the forum is “ a global platform where you, leaders of governments and businesses, experts, and stakeholders, converge to address the critical nexus between investment and sustainable development’’.

The 2023 edition is taking place ahead of global talks on climate change at COP28 in the same location, will include a focused track on promoting climate finance and investment.

The forum will provide policymakers and other stakeholders with the opportunity to find solutions and reach consensus on climate finance and investment priorities over the course of five days, with outcomes feeding into the COP28 negotiations.

The Forum is the pre-eminent global platform for investment and development.

The Forum devises strategies and solutions for global investment and development challenges and facilitates multi-stakeholder collective action to stimulate investment in development.

The Forum offers a unique opportunity to influence investment-related policymaking, shape the global investment environment, and to network with global leaders in business and politics.

The year’s edition of the forum is aiming to address key investment challenges caused by today’s multiple global crises, including the need to invest in food security, energy, health, supply chain resilience and productive capacity growth in the poorest countries.

In addition, the 2023 edition, which will take place immediately ahead of global talks on climate change at COP28 in the same location, will include a focused track on promoting climate finance and investment.

The Minister was leading a delegation which included Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, responsible for Policy Analysis, Co-ordination and Development Planning, Mr Willard Manungo and other senior Government Officials.

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