Gender minister Victoria Kalima says technology and innovation are vital in improving people’s living standards.

In a statement issued yesterday by Permanent Mission of the Republic of Zambia to the United Nations First Secretary for Press and Public Relations Chibaula  Silwamba, Kalima told UN women in New York at the 61st Session of the Commission on the Status of Women at the Ministerial segment roundtable discussion that the Zambian government embraced technology and innovation  to accelerate women’s economic empowerment.

“Zambia has reformed its regulatory framework for doing business by introducing an innovative way of curtailing administrative burdens in the issuance of business licences and permits through the establishment of one-stop business registration centres in order to encourage more women to participate in business ventures,” Kalima said.

 “Government is promoting and establishing special economic zones, industrial parks and innovation hubs in order to broaden the countries capacity to meet empowerment demands for the young people and women in Zambia.”

Kalima disclosed that the Zambian government was providing numerous financing initiatives for women to access capital for investment.

 “Government is providing various financing mechanisms such as the Youth Empowerment and Citizens Economic Empowerment funds for women to access capital required for investment to enable the women set up business enterprises in the established economic zones. Women have been allocated 30 per cent of the funds whilst 70 per cent is competed for by both men and women,” she said.

She also disclosed that the Ministry of Science, Technology and Vocational Training was committed to mainstreaming  gender empowerment.

“Government has mainstreamed gender empowerment into the plans of the Ministry of Science, technology and Vocational Training. STEM has also been mainstreamed into all programs as well as education curriculum for the Ministry of Education. Notwithstanding the above, Zambia is also focusing on enhancing research and technological innovation by giving priority to teaching of science subjects in educational institutions at all levels,” Kalima said.

Kalima further disclosed that the Zambian government had reviewed the Patents Act to protect and promote new innovations; especially among the youth and female entrepreneurs.

And the minister also noted that the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development committed member states and the international community to promote gender equity and the empowerment of women and girls.

“Goal four of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development on ‘ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all’ would require the elimination of all gender disparities in education including the low participation of women and girls in the technology and innovations fields. It is my firm conviction that these interventions will further empower the women in Zambia and ultimately contribute to economic growth and women’s economic empowerment,” said Kalima.

Zambia’s participation at the CSW, which is the largest annual women’s gathering, is cardinal to share the country’s best practices in women’s issues with the international community and to learn from others for possible implementation at home.

Zambia won international respect for its advocacy and implementation of policies and programmes that protect and promote the wellbeing of women and girls.