Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Zambia Targets 5,000 Green Jobs By 2018

Local Government Minister Vincent Mwale (right) at the launch
By Paul Shalala

Zambia, with the help of cooperating partners, is targeting to create 5,000 green and descent jobs in the construction sector for its growing young population by the year 2018.

With unemployment levels high in the country, the government, through the Ministry of Local Government, is working on strategies which will create opportunities for young people to get employment.

Under the four years multilateral funded Zambia Green Jobs Programme, the southern African country hopes to also improve the quality of a further 2,000 jobs in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

According to the Zambia Green Jobs Programme's annual impact report for 2015, 2,660 green jobs have so far been created in the two years the programme has been running.

"At the time of the evaluation, the programme had supported the creation of 2,660 new green and descent jobs in micro, small and medium enterprises mainly in the North Western, Copperbelt and Southern Provinces," reads the report in part.

The report further reveals that the 2,660 does not include 3,600 casual jobs created through temporary and part time jobs.

The International Labour Organisation (ILO), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the International Trade Center (ITC) and providing technical assistance to the Zambia Green Jobs Programme while the government of Finland is funding the project.

ILO is the leading agency on the project.

And Zambia Green Jobs Programme Chief Technical Advisor Tapera Muzira says the programme has partnered with many institutions to create descent jobs.

Tapera Muzira giving a speech
"We have partnered with many industries to create descent jobs...... We are also involved in the Environmental Impact Assesment..... Our aim is to create green growth and sustainable development," said Mr Muzira when he read a speech on behalf of ILO Country Director Alexio Musindo at the Zambia Institute of Planners' annual general meeting in Kitwe last week.

He reiterated the programme's desire to create the 5,000 green jobs by 2018 saying most of them will be created in the construction sector.

"The construction sector offers great potential for inclusive green growth and job creation."

Meanwhile, Local Government and Housing Minister Vincent Mwale says the threats of climate change are real and the world must act now to avert a catastrophe.

Speaking when he launched a book called Sustainable Housing Guidelines on Wednesday last week, Mr Mwale identified the construction sector as one industry which is key in fighting climate change.

"The construction sector is one of the emitters. We need to find responsible strategies which will help us fight climate change and create green jobs."

 At the same event, Zambia Institute of Planners President Cooper Chibomba warned that the nation can lose what it has achived if it does not act fast.

"If we do not act now, we can lose what we have achieved. As planners, we want to develop plans that will bring development to all in the country," said Mr Chibomba.

Since the Zambia Green Jobs Programme commenced in 2013, a total of $11,837,752 has been invested into the program which is expected to end in 2018.

The project is being implemented in five of Zambia's 10 provinces.

These are North Western, Copperbelt, Central, Lusaka and Eastern Provinces.

A number of companies, both local and international, have come on board and partnered with the Zambia Green Jobs Programme to create green jobs and employ green housing techniques..

For example, Kalumbila Town Development Corporation is building 10,000 housing units in the newly created Kalumbila District in the North Western Province.

The corporation, in partnership with VTT Technical Research Center of Finland, has constructed two demo green houses in Kalumbila and Lumwana.

With an investment of $100 million for the construction of the 10,000 houses under its 'Kalumbila Town Green Homes' project, the cooperation hopes to to construct houses which will present a bright and sustainable future with decent jobs.

Other major investors who have joined in the green jobs strategy include Lafarge Zambia and Barrick Lumwana.

 According to the Zambia Green Jobs Programme's 2015 annual impact report, 2.5 million people were reached last year in messages about green building principles through the media.

These messages are aimed at changing public perception about green technologies.

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