Vodafone Zambia and Ecobank Zambia today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to provide financial business support worth $50,000 to 250 students at five Universities in Zambia.
Vodafone Zambia recently launched its 4G data services in Zambia and as part of its strategy, has engaged 250 Brand Ambassadors from institutions of higher learning in Lusaka and the Copperbelt to promote the national youth empowerment agenda. The institutions whose students will benefit from the scheme are University of Zambia (UNZA), Zambia Centre of Accountancy Services (ZCAS), University of Lusaka (UNILUS), Evelyn Hone College, NIPA in Lusaka as well as Copperbelt University (CBU) and Zambia Institute of Business Studies and Industrial Practice (ZIBSIP) on the Copperbelt.
Speaking during the signing ceremony, Vodafone Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Lars Stork said the objective of the scheme is to build talent among the young people and upskill them to become self-reliant entrepreneurs which is vital towards the growth of the economy. The scheme will provide students with a credit facility of K2,000 that will be availed to each Brand Ambassador to purchase stock from Vodafone at a discounted rate for resale purposes.
By effecting this partnership with Ecobank Zambia, the Brand Ambassadors will be required to sell the connection and propagate the Vodafone brand, 4 G LTE products and services within and outside campus and act as liaison between Vodafone and the student community.
“Vodafone is passionate about youth empowerment and this initiative is a response to government’s call of providing employment to 10.5% of unemployed Zambian youth population. We believe that this scheme will help the youth to step up to the challenge of becoming self-reliant and find innovative means to earn a sustainable income which will not only support them whilst pursuing their studies but will also create a spiral effect of empowering other young people within their communities” said Mr. Stork.
Mr. Stork added that Vodafone has taken a deliberate step to make the empowerment of young people an integral part of the business and has to date, employed 50 graduates under the graduate trainee programme which helps them to gain hands on training whilst upskilling their skills set.
“Vodafone has employed 50 graduate trainees in who will eventually become permanent employees of our organisation. We are proud to announce that so far, we employed nine graduate trainees on a permanent basis since our launch last month,” said Stork.
Mr. Stork expressed gratitude that the partnership will also provide top performing Brand Ambassadors to become sub dealers and will be supported to open registered business and qualify for higher credit facility from Ecobank.
Ecobank Zambia Managing Director Mr. Kola Adeleke said that Ecobank, being a Pan African Bank with presence in 36 African countries, is happy to partner with Vodafone in this entrepreneurial and youth empowerment scheme. This according to him is in line with the vision of the Bank to contribute to the economic development and financial integration of Africa. The Bank is currently driving this vision through provision of Convenient, Accessible and Reliable financial products and services to its Retail and Corporate customers.
Mr Adeleke also confirmed the Bank’s contribution towards reduction of the unemployment rate by embarking on a graduate trainee scheme. Seventeen fresh graduates from the University of Zambia, Copperbelt University and ZCAS have so far benefited from the scheme. The partnership is a demonstration of the Bank’s commitment to focus on the Youths, currently being managed by the Direct Banking sub-segment of the Bank’s Consumer Banking Group. According to him, significant investments have been made on digital platforms to ensure prompt and efficient delivery of our value proposition to the African Youths.
In closing, Mr Adeleke reiterated that the on-boarding of the 250 Vodafone Brand Ambassadors is quite exciting as it affords Ecobank Zambia the opportunity to foster the goal of the Bank of Zambia on financial inclusion.