Big firms agree to work with SMEs

PRIVATE Enterprise Programme Zambia (PEPZ) steering committee is strategizing on promoting local procurement to change the country’s supply chain landscape.

PEPZ team leader Bayo Akindeinde said the formation of the steering committee was facilitated in partnership with the Business Linkages Programme (BLP), which provides technical assistance support to qualified suppliers to improve their capacity.

“The goal of the Business Linkages Programme is to facilitate and create a model for transnational and national corporations doing business in Zambia to actively engage in promoting targeted local sourcing, matchmaking and local supplier development,” he said.

Mr Akindeinde said among the initiatives was an annual business opportunity fair and workshops focusing purely on local sourcing and matchmaking.

He said leaders of some of the largest and most economically important companies in the country met last week to discuss how they could increase their business with local suppliers.

He cited among  them CFAO, Chibuluma Copper Mines, First Quantum Minerals, Shoprite Zambia, Spar Zambia, Total Zambia, Zambeef and Zambia Breweries (SABMiller), along with the Fresh Produce Export Growers Association (FREPEGA) and the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA).

“The companies took part in the meeting and agreed to form a steering committee to work on initiatives that will identify local procurement opportunities and make them more accessible to local small and medium-sized suppliers,” he said.

Mr Akindeinde said as the largest buyers of goods and services in the private sector, those companies believe that by working together to share knowledge and experiences they could make a significant contribution to growing the Zambian economy and to saving and creating jobs through increased local procurement.

He said the steering committee would also provide the necessary strategic guidance and leadership in advocating and propagating good practices within the corporate sector and in their supply chains.

Zambia Breweries head of procurement Colin Ogilvie was elected chairman of the committee, which discussed next year’s strategy to promote locally driven supply chains in order to bridge the gap between large corporations and suppliers across various sectors.