Progress review of the Enabling Environment for Sustainable Enterprises (EESE) Programme in Zambia

In 2012, the ILO conducted the EESE programme in Zambia in partnership with the Zambia Federation of Employers (ZFE), which resulted in reform action plans to overcome identified constraints in four priority conditions as follows; Enabling Legal and Regulatory Environment; Physical Infrastructure; Education, Training and Lifelong Learning; and Adequate Social Protection. This report reviews the progress of the implementation of action plans at the time of 2020. Through in-depth interviews with various key stakeholders, it identifies significant policy actions taken by the tripartite and other relevant stakeholders, existing constraints and lessons learned in the reform process.

The progress review has revealed that considerable progress was made on the action plans through the collaborative effort amongst the diverse stakeholders. Such collective effort is especially symbolized by the Zambia Private Sector Alliance (ZPSA) which was jointly established by the various private sector associations including ZFE and Zambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ZACCI). ZPSA enhanced public-private dialogue across multiple industries, enabling the private sector to participate in the reform discussions actively and strengthen their advocacy functions. The private sector's engagement stimulated the government's various reform measures and facilitated the progress in the EESE action plans.

Concerning the Enabling Legal and Regulatory Environment, quite a few reforms were implemented in the business licenses, the tax base and the labour law. One of the prominent achievements was eliminating 170 unnecessary business licenses over 15 industrial sectors which were the long-standing obstacles for many Zambian entrepreneurs. Significant progress was also achieved in expanding the Physical Infrastructures in the airport, railway, and ICT sectors. In the ICT sectors, the construction of new 1,009 communication towers is a significant milestone in enhancing access to internet services across the country. The enhancement of vocational skill development in the secondary, tertiary, and vocational schools was emphasized in the Education, Training and Lifelong Learning. Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training Authority (TEVETA) played a crucial role in providing quality vocational training throughout the educational institutions by establishing the Skills Development Fund and reviewing the secondary and tertiary schools' curriculums. In the Social Protection, the draft National Social Protection Strategy has recently been finalized by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, ILO and various social partners. These notable progress has formed a solid foundation for the ILO EESE team in providing continuous support for realizing an enabling business environment in Zambia.