USAID signs deal with NRECA for rural electrification drive in Zambia

AdobeStock 318654463The United States government, through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), has signed an agreement with National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) International to support widespread electrification and economic development in rural communities in Zambia

The US$5.3mn Zambia Electric Cooperative Development Programme launched 16 November as part of the Zambian government’s initiative to achieve universal electricity access by 2030. Outside of Zambia, NRECA International has established more than 250 rural electric cooperatives, which provide more than 180 million people with access to reliable and affordable electricity. NRECA International’s support of local partners to adapt the cooperative business model to suit local conditions has proven effective to improve access to electricity, which results in increased economic growth, better healthcare services, and higher quality education.

The U.S. government will provide technical assistance through NRECA to Zambian communities to form electric cooperatives. Electric cooperatives provide electricity for household and productive use to communities that currently do not have access to electricity.

The Zambia Electric Cooperative Development Programme aligns with the Zambian government’s priority of increasing access to electricity through scaling up investments in off-grid green energy solutions. This new programme aligns with Zambia’s Cooperative Development Strategy promoting and facilitating the formation and growth of cooperatives across all sectors.

Supporting women's entrepreneurship in Zambia

The US government, through the United States African Development Foundation (USADF), has awarded six women entrepreneurs a total of over US$60,000 in grant seed funding to support women’s entrepreneurship and women’s economic empowerment in partnership with the Women’s Entrepreneurship Access Center (WEAC)

Each of the winners received US$10,000 from USADF following a competitive review of their business plans.

The entrepreneurs are part of the second phase of the Academy of Women Entrepreneurs (AWE), a US government programme that gives enterprising women the knowledge, networks, and access they need to launch and scale successful businesses. A total of 430 women in Zambia have participated since the programme launched in 2019.

The funding addresses financing shortfalls, which remain one of the most significant challenges for small and medium-sized entrepreneurs in Zambia, and illustrates that entrepreneurship is a key priority for the U.S. government. This investment is part the U.S. government’s belief that advancing gender equity and equality is fundamental to every individual’s economic security, safety, and health. 

In addition to this, the US Embassy has awarded US$45,000 to nine Zambian community-based organisations through the U.S. ambassador’s Special Self-Help small grant programme. The grants focus on various sectors including food security, education, and health, and will expand economic opportunities and improve the standard of living in communities in five provinces.

 

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