smes budget 3.jpgSmall and medium enterprises in the border town of Chirundu have been urged to engage in economic empowerment activities such as construction, fishing and craft so as to mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS in their sector.

The Beitbridge-Chirundu Corridor heavily used by cross-border trucks and traders has recorded one of the highest rates of HIV infection as a result of its busy activity and thriving sex trade.

The Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises Development and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) visited Chirundu recently to engage those in the small to medium sector to help in the fight against the AIDS pandemic.

Chief Economics Officer in the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises Development, Simon Saunyama, said one way to combat the scourge is to get rid of prostitution through job creation.

“Business opportunities in Chirundu are abundant. If we create jobs and empower the people, it is easier to fight against the disease and this will benefit the whole nation,” said Saunyama.

mupedzanhamo traders.jpgExperts from the ILO explained government’s HIV and AIDS policy for the micro, small and medium enterprises in Zimbabwe to the participants at the workshop.

Mr Colly Masuku from ILO said the policy framework is there to help those infected and affected by the condition.

“The impact of HIV has a direct bearing on the economy and the workplace. We should ensure growth, hence the empowerment move,” Mr Masuku said.

The four day workshop ran under the theme ‘HIV prevention and Economic Empowerment’.