Zambia: Green Jobs in the building construction sector

The Zambia Green Jobs Programme aims to create sustainable and green jobs among micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the building construction industry.

The Zambia Green Jobs Programme’s development objective is to enhance competitiveness and sustainable business among MSMEs in Zambia’s building construction sector. It will create at least 5,000 decent green jobs particularly for young people and improve the quality of at least 2,000 jobs in MSMEs, which in turn will improve the incomes and livelihoods of at least 8,000 households that depend on the building construction sector.

By using a value-chain development approach, through private sector promotion and sustainable housing, it aims to create a conducive business environment for inclusive green growth and job creation in the building construction sector, with a strong focus on strengthening local capacity and increasing household income.

The programme uses a multidimensional intervention approach to promote a sustainable market change in the Zambian construction industry. The coordinated interventions are being undertaken at three different system levels (meta, macro and micro level), targeting three main objectives:

1) Shaping attitudes and mind-sets

One of the intervention clusters is dedicated to creating awareness of the benefits of green construction to stimulate the market demand for green building services, technologies, materials, products and technologies and their potential to drive inclusive green growth. Through awareness raising activities, the programme motivates change in mind-set and attitudes among important stakeholders in the building construction sector, as well as the general public.

2) Greening of policy framework

The programme promotes a refined industry-specific regulatory framework that stimulates demand among private and public housing developers for environmentally friendly building materials, products and methods. This includes promoting policy analysis and social dialogue on the design and review of relevant legal and regulatory framework among policy makers and implementers.

3) Capacity building for MSMEs

The programme aims to build capacity of local MSMEs in effectively participating in the building construction and green building goods and services market in Zambia and, hence, enable them to lead the change the programme is promoting.

The greening of the Zambian building construction sector will create potential for job creation through:
  • Green business development services
  • Skills development, as well as;
  • Creating a more conducive and growth-oriented environment for MSMEs.

Entrepreneurs are supported through both delivery of targeted business development services and enhancing the framework conditions for improved productivity in terms of Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) and access to social protection. The MSMEs benefit from a market-driven mix of financial, non-financial and value chain development services, facilitated through various and differentiated Financial Service Providers (FSPs) and Business Development Service (BDS) Providers. These include:
  1. Productivity and working conditions improvement through better OSH services, as well as extension and strengthening of social protection;
  2. Entrepreneurship training;
  3. Business linkage support;
  4. Small business management and value chain development;
  5. Development of technical and vocational skills for green jobs; and
  6. Support for financial literacy and access to green finance.

As of 31 December 2015, the programme documented some remarkable results:
  • 2,660 full-time equivalent green jobs created.
  • The quality of 2,018 jobs through extension of Social Protection and Occupational Safety and Health services to building construction MSME workers were improved.
The Zambia Green Jobs Programme strategies are carried through strategic partnerships to ensure sustainability, local ownership and institutionalisation of practices. For that reason, it collaborates with government ministries and agencies, financial institutions, business development service providers, associations of small- scale contractors and other private sector players in Zambia's building construction industry. Technical assistance and capacity building is being by a consortium of five UN agencies each selected for their respective expertise, namely, FAO, UNEP, UNCTAD, ITC and led by the ILO.

This USD12 million five-year programme (2013-2018) benefits from the financial support from the Government of Finland and is a response to the Zambia Revised Sixth National Development Plan on the importance of placing employment at the center of all national development efforts. The inception phase of the project started in June 2012.