The Youth Street Vendors Empowerment Scheme which was piloted in 2016 in Lusaka, Central and Copperbelt Provinces and disbursed K5 million to 2,225 youth has been allocated an additional K4 million to expand the empowerment scheme to all the ten provinces of Zambia.
This follows what the minister of Youth, Mawere, has described as a successful pilot with positive loan recoveries recorded so far. The scheme is aimed at increasing access to affordable finance to youth street vendors in order to make their businesses sustainable and profitable for their improved livelihoods.
This is to empower and enable the youths to grow their businesses to higher levels that will make them leave the streets to trade in more organised models of trading such as transacting in shops. The principle, therefore, is that once a youth gets a loan, liquidates it, that youth is eligible to get the same or a higher amount.
The Youth Street Vendors Empowerment Scheme is guided by a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed among three stakeholders namely; the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Child Development; Zambia Postal Services Corporation and the United Street Vendors Foundation Cooperative Society Limited.
The qualification criteria to access the Youth Street Vendors Empowerment Scheme include: one must be a youth aged between 18 and 35 years; they must be engaged in an operational business; they must be a member of the United Street Vendors Foundation Cooperative; the application must be supported with a recommendation from a person with good standing in society such as civic leaders, religious leaders and traditional leaders and the youth should undergo orientation in basic entrepreneurship, financial literacy, marketing and customer service conducted by Future Search and Zampost.
The maximum loan amount will be K1,500 per successful applicant. Therefore, the K4 million available to empower 2,667 youth street vendors. The distribution of youth to benefit from these funds have been allocated using the provincial population estimates to ensure equitable coverage. This is according to a ministerial statement delivered by Sports and Youth Minister, Mawere.