GOVERNMENT on Tuesday unveiled a collateral-free loan facility targeting youths.
The facility, to be administered by the country’s first youth-centric EmpowerBank, was unveiled during the fifth anniversary celebrations of EmpowerBank at a hotel in Harare.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa launched EmpowerBank in July 2018 to provide youths with financial services and solutions for economic empowerment.
Youth Empowerment, Development and Vocational Training minister Tinoda Machakaire said the collateral-free loan facility was a necessary intervention to bridge the capital gap among young people who were failing to venture into the manufacturing sector.
“This product was created in response to the cries of youth and it solves the collateral challenges faced by youth who want funding for micro-business projects,” Machakaire, who was the guest of honour, said.
Machakaire urged youths to utilise the resources availed by EmpowerBank to create a better future and contribute to the nation’s economic development.
“I urge all youths and youth associations to embrace all the empowerment opportunities presented by government and create enterprises for income generation and employment creation,” he said.
“By doing so, this will create an environment whereby the youth are always occupied such that they have little time for engaging in harmful behaviours such as drug and substance abuse.”
EmpowerBank offers loans to youth-led businesses and agricultural projects, asset finance, guarantees and savings accounts cutting across urban, peri-urban and rural Zimbabwe.
Machakaire, however, urged beneficiaries to pay back the loans to ensure the sustainability of the facility.
“I call on youth beneficiaries to honour their obligations and repay the loans as contracted to enable other youth to access the funding under the facility,” he said.
He pledged to advocate financial inclusion and quota opportunities for the youth.
“To that effect, we will give priority to the EmpowerBank capitalisation needs to facilitate youth access to finance through such youth-friendly products as the collateral-free loan being launched tonight,” Machakaire added.