Unexploited potential: A critical review of policies supporting the self-employed in Zambia
"The employment challenge – creating more jobs and improving the quality of existing jobs – is one of Zambia’s biggest. Over the past decade Zambia has recorded unprecedented economic growth rates, but this has not translated into significant job creation and poverty reduction. Because of the structure of the Zambian labour market, micro enterprises and the self-employed should be a crucial bedrock for job creation and poverty reduction. Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) account for 99% of all businesses in Zambia out of which 96% are Micro Enterprises. What is more, 44.2 % of the working population is in self-employment. The key argument in this paper is that current government policy is not effectively exploiting this potential. One critical reason for this is that policies are not designed for the Zambian context: they do not respond to the nature and needs of the majority of micro enterprises in Zambia. Policy has forgotten and is blind to micro-enterprises; it only addresses the needs of the much bigger enterprises (SMEs)."