The Support to Beef and Leather Value Chain Technical Assistance Project has been launched in Zimbabwe. The $2.3 million project will support the growth of the beef and leather sub-sectors focusing on value addition to create employment, increase income and reduce poverty in pilot areas to catalyze overall economic growth in the country.
It is financed by the Japan International Finance Cooperation (JICA) through the African Private Sector Assistance Fund (FAPA), a multi-donor thematic trust fund that provides grant funding for technical assistance and capacity building to implement the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) Private Sector Development Strategy; and the Transitional Support Facility.
FAPA has provided more than $51 million to 65 projects across Africa in a portfolio of projects aimed at improving the business environment, strengthening financial systems, building private sector infrastructure, promotion of trade and development of micro, small and medium- sized enterprises (MSMEs).
It recently granted $1 million to the Nacala Corridor Business Linkages Technical Assistance Project in Mozambique.
Charge d’Affaires, Embassy of Japan in Zimbabwe, Dabide Tsunakake noted the private sector’s vital role in Africa’s economic growth and underlined that the implementation of the Zimbabwe beef and leather project brought to fruition the resolutions adopted at the 6th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) meeting in Nairobi, Kenya in 2016.
A total of 73 Memoranda of Understanding covering among others the agriculture sector were signed between African countries and Japanese companies and universities to boost trade between the continent and Japan including $10 billion for infrastructure projects to be executed through the AfDB and an additional $20 billion to be injected by private investors.
“The successful implementation of the project will help in increasing output and contribution of the sub-sector to the growth of the manufacturing sector,” Michael Bimha, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Industry and Commerce said.
He added that the government has put up several measures to accelerate the pace and depth of the project including a program collaborating with development partners to rebuild the national herd of 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 the end of 2017,” said the Minister.
Fasika Eyerusalem the AfDB Zimbabwe Country Program Officer said the project will support the country’s efforts to enhance agricultural productivity, growth and rural food security as well as promote private sector development, thereby contributing to macroeconomic stability and poverty reduction.
AfDB currently has 16 active projects in Zimbabwe with a total commitment of $218 million in support of agriculture, water supply and sanitation, power, transport, governance and institutional support.