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Seminar takes stock of UKAid-funded programme to boost private sector-led growth in Zimbabwe

The Business Enabling Environment Programme (BEEP) in Zimbabwe has been funded by the UK Department for International Development since 2014 to promote pro-growth reforms and make the country more business-friendly.

Friday 26 January 2018, Lorenza Geronimo

On 24 January 2018, a seminar at Meikles Hotel in Zimbabwe’s capital Harare marked the end of the Business Enabling Environment Programme (BEEP).

In 2014, when the UK Department for International Development (DFID) started funding BEEP, Zimbabwe ranked 170th out of 189 countries on World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index.

The programme aimed to improve the business environment in the country to attract investment, improve private sector-led economic growth, create jobs and alleviate poverty.

To do this, BEEP supported dialogue between government, business membership organisations, the media and research institutions. It strengthened business membership organisations’ capacity to build successful advocacy strategies and influence the passing and/or implementation of pro-growth policies across taxation, pricing, tourism, mining and manufacturing. The programme focused on financial inclusion, which resulted in the government and financial sector launching initiatives to allow women entrepreneurs to access loans more easily.

Moreover, BEEP helped transform dialogues into platforms to voice businesses’ needs to the government. For example, the programme’s collaboration with the National Economic Consultative Forum was key to consolidating all dialogue resolutions into a policy brief that was presented to the Ministry of Finance during the Zimbabwe Economic Symposium in November 2017. As a result, eight reforms were announced in the 2018 national budget.

Lucy Nickoll, Project Manager from BEEP bridging phase implementing consultancy IMC Worldwide, said:

IMC has been proud to support the BEEP team through the ‘bridging phase’ of the programme during 2017, and we have been impressed by their achievements. Their work has culminated in policy reforms that will sustainably improve economic growth within Zimbabwe.

BEEP also worked with the media to ensure that they raised visibility and promoted dialogue on policy issues targeted by the programme to make the country more business-friendly. It also strengthened linkages between researchers and governments and business associations, which led to the development of research that informed and influenced policy formulation.

By December 2017, the cost of doing business in Zimbabwe has dropped by over £12 million and around 80,000 microenterprises have benefited from the policy and legislative interventions BEEP supported. Moreover, the legacy of the programme is expected to be even stronger as the impact of reforms will continue to be felt by an increasing number of small businesses over the coming years.

Annabel Gerry, Head of DFID Zimbabwe, stated:

Despite Zimbabwe’s economic challenges in recent years, the country’s economic potential remains enormous. Since 2014 DFID has supported BEEP to assist in investment climate and business environment reforms to make it easier and less costly to do business in Zimbabwe, facilitating the creation of economic opportunities for Zimbabweans and improving access to and cost of financial services in the country.

In 2017, Zimbabwe climbed nine positions in the Ease of Doing Business ranking. This is a positive signal that something is changing.

About DFID Zimbabwe: The UK’s Department for International Development is working to support the poorest Zimbabweans as well as at the same time helping lay the foundations for a more prosperous, peaceful and democratic Zimbabwe, driving growth and poverty reduction.  DFID’s key priorities in Zimbabwe are:
– Strengthening peace, democracy, and good governance.
– Promoting economic reform and prosperity.
– Strengthening resilience and responding to crises.
– Supporting basic services for the poorest and most vulnerable. 
To find out more about what DFID does in Zimbabwe visit https://devtracker.dfid.gov.uk/countries/ZW

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