What has been done:The enabling environment for sustainable enterprises in Zambia was assessed through a careful review of secondary data, findings from a national perception survey of workers and employers (including owners and managers of companies), in-depth interviews and focus group discussions with relevant stakeholders in the country, and supplementary information from published and unpublished materials. The perception survey was conducted from December 2012 to February 2013 by Equilibria, a consulting firm, and in particular by Mr. Caesar Cheelo and Mr. Themba Munalula, with the support of a team of recent graduate students. The survey focused on 8 of the 17 conditions, which were selected to be prioritized at a tripartite workshop held in September 2012.
The Survey and its sample:The survey was conducted in two parts, first reviewing business owners’ needs and challenges, and second, reviewing the attitudes of workers (including professionals) with the aim of informing policy development of employers.
A total of 184 formal enterprises were sampled. Respondents numbered 368 in total, 65.6 per cent of whom were men. Of all interviewees, 96 per cent were formally employed. Some 58.3 per cent of respondents were workers/employees and the remainder were employers/managers. Data were also disaggregated by age and size of the surveyed businesses. The majority of surveyed enterprises, 49.7 per cent, have been operational for 10 years or more, while about 20 per cent have been operational for 2-5 years. The remainder falls under the start-up category, with a year or less of operations (7.6 per cent) and a forth category comprising enterprises that have been operational for 6-9 years. As far as the size of surveyed firms is concerned, the majority, 40 per cent, were small enterprises employing 1-50 persons, and 33.2 per cent were large enterprises with over 100 employees. Medium-size firms with 50-100 employees made up 14 per cent. Respondents were employed in companies falling under the following sectors: 27.7 per cent manufacturing; 15.3 per cent finance and insurance; 11.2 per cent tourism, hotel and restaurants; 10 per cent agriculture, hunting, forestry, and fishing; 9.6 per cent transport, storage and communication; 8 per cent construction; 7 per cent education and health; 3.3 per cent mining, drilling and quarrying; and 7.7 per cent classified as other.
The survey was conducted in 4 cities/areas: Lusaka, Copperbelt, Central Region, and Southern Region.
Results:The preliminary findings of the overall evaluation were presented, discussed and validated at a tripartite workshop held in Lusaka in April 2013. There it was agreed that efforts should be concentrated on only a few areas in order to maximise the impact of the proposed measures toward improvement. Emphasis for future action was hence placed on four of the priority conditions listed above, with one additional area, “access to financial services”, being considered as cross-cutting:
• Physical infrastructure;
• Education, training and lifelong learning;
• Enabling legal and regulatory environment; and
• Adequate social protection.
An action plan (2013-2016) with specific outputs stemming from outcomes linked to priority areas and key players for action has been drafted by tripartite participants at the April 2013 workshop. The action plan was finalized and adopted at a dissemination workshop held in May 2013 in the presence of high-level policy makers. The implementation of the action plan will address some of the main issues emerging from this assessment and will contribute to the improvement of the enabling environment for sustainable enterprises in Zambia.