World & Community

UNDP offers local authorities training on AfCFTA

Business Reporter

THE Local Government and Public Works ministry in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have embarked on training workshops to strengthen local authorities in engaging effectively with the African Continental Free Trade Area, an opportunity for local economies to boost intra-African trade, stimulate growth and foster development.

The three-day workshop, which began yesterday in Bulawayo, saw the participation of 46 local authorities, out of 92, with the other half set to attend a similar workshop next week.

Ministry strategic policy planning, monitoring and evaluation director Elina Karwi said local authorities would be equipped with skills to work within their communities for growth.

“The workshop is aimed at equipping local authorities with tools to develop, promote trade and investment from the region as well as to be able to work with the business communities to grow economies in their localities,” Karwi said.

“Local authorities are key as a third tier of government and the closest to the citizen, they interact with the citizens on a daily basis and they know the needs of the citizens.

“This is why we believe local authorities are the agents that should be capacitated to bring about this economic development within the region.”

UNDP programme analyst (governance) Wadzanai Madombwe cemented the sentiments saying local authorities are expected to spearhead economic development in their areas.

“The Constitution of Zimbabwe makes it very clear that the local authorities, over and above service provision, are now expected to spearhead economic development activities under their areas of jurisdiction,” Madombwe said.

“By virtue of that, it makes them a key player in terms of targeting them to have the capacities and the skills to interpret the free trade agreement and also facilitate economic activities for the free trade area “They have got the opportunity of knowing the business units which are under their jurisdiction. They are able to mobilise, facilitate and incentivise the businesses, especially the small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs), which we are talking about, the ones which are led by women and youth-led.”

Madombwe further said the local authorities were able to identify and come up with business trade hubs to become repository institutions for those SMEs to be able to go and access information as well as the details in terms of where the markets were.

Meanwhile, the ministry has revealed that women are a very important stakeholder in the development of any country, saying, therefore, a lot of efforts are being made to ensure women participate equally while being given opportunities.

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