References | Africa, south of Sahara

Mid-Term Review of the Accelerated Growth for SMEs in Zambia (AGS) Programme


Private Sector Development, Monitoring and Evaluation, Employment

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End date

The Accelerated Growth for SMEs in Zambia (AGS) Programme is a Finnish Government funded private sector development initiative implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry (MCTI) of the Government of the Republic of Zambia. It aims to directly support start-ups, and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to accelerate their growth and expand their contribution to job and wealth creation in the Zambian economy. The programme started in 2018 and had a planned end date August 2022. Initial challenges have meant that actual full implementation of the programme only started in 2020 after the programme was redesigned.
The expected Impact of the Programme, as formulated in the redesigned programme document, is: Improved competitiveness and accelerated growth of MSMEs in Zambia and strengthened business partnerships between Zambia and Finland. The expected Outcome contributing to the expected impact is: Selected MSMEs have enhanced capacity to grow, to access finance and to compete on local and international markets.

The MTR assignment provided accurate and independent information on the implementation of the current phase of the AGS Programme. The AGS Programme was past halfway in its implementation, however intensive implementation of the Programme only began in the summer of 2020. The time span for the review was the Programme’s current implementation period. It analysed the effectiveness and potential impact of the
Programme and its implementation mechanism (technical assistance to MSMEs through
implementing partners, creation of partnerships and identification of market opportunities,
and whether it had succeeded in advancing business linkages between Zambian MSMEs and scaleup efforts of Zambian businesses, as well as supported the creation of Zambia-Finland business partnerships.

The Mid Term Review (MTR) provided recommendations on a possible no-cost extension of the AGS programme, taking into consideration that full implementation of the programme only started in 2020 due to a number of challenges that hampered implementation in 2018 and 2019.