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Zimbabwe's Rural Youths Failing to Access Empowerment Funds

Some Zimbabwean rural youths say they are not accessing empowerment funds created by the government so they can start income generating projects through the indigenization program targeting shares in foreign mining firms.

Some of the funds are being disbursed by the Central African Building Society (CABS). The youths say they cannot meet stringent conditions tied to the money like purchasing a shelf company and crafting detailed project proposals.

Several youths from places such as Murehwa, Mtoko, Hwange and Uzumba professed ignorance about funds such as the $10 million Kurera/Ukondla Fund that is being run by CABS, the $20 million Stanbic Bank Wealth Creation Fund and the $2 million Youth Empowerment Fund administered by the Commercial bank of Zimbabwe.

The youths told the VOA that they are even failing to access application forms from the banks or the empowerment ministry.

At least $200,000 has so far been disbursed since last year by the bank with the bulk of the funds being accessed by urban youth. Disbursement of similar funds by the other banks has not been made public.

Director Liberty Bhebhe of the National Youth Development Trust said the indigenization ministry should decentralize its operations so rural youths can also benefit from the empowerment program.

“Some youths in rural areas do not visit urban areas and as a result they cannot access this money since there are no officials from this particular ministry who are helping them in processing the necessary papers,” said Bhebhe.