Ongoing projects


The Zambia Business Linkages Programme has been in operation since 2008. Aimed at facilitating the creation of commercially viable business partnerships between Zambian MSMEs and large national and transnational corporations, the programme has helped Zambian firms to become reliable and competitive suppliers, distributors and sub-contractors to corporations such as Pick’n’Pay, SABMiller, Taj Pamodzi Hotel, Konkola Copper Mines, Mopani Copper Mines, Copperbelt Energy Corporation, and National Housing Authority.

The main objective of the Business Linkages Programme in Zambia is to enhance the productive capacity, efficiency and competitiveness of the domestic private sector by promoting durable and mutually beneficial business partnerships between affiliates of TNCs or large local companies and Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs).


Since 2013, UNCTAD is technically supporting the Zambia Green Jobs programme (ZGJP)The Zambia Green Jobs Programme (ZGJP) is a sustainable development programme which facilitates private sector development for inclusive green growth, more and better jobs particularly for young people and women.

The programme is implemented by the Government of Zambia and national partners with technical assistance from the United Nations (ILO, UNEP, UNCTAD, FAO and ITC) and funding from the Government of Finland. The programme promotes the development of the green economy in Zambia by supporting competitive and sustainable development of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in order for them to grow and create decent green jobs, initially in the building construction sector and potentially in other sectors.

Completed projects


Partners: UNCTAD, The Government of Sweden, Enterprise Uganda, the Ugandan Investment Authority, and UNDP.

Targeted sectors:Telecommunications, automotive and agribusiness.

Enlisted companies: 4 large TNCs/local companies (South African telecommunication company MTN, Toyota Uganda, Nile Breweries Ltd, and Kinyara Sugar Works Ltd), 26 manufacturing SMEs, and two farmers’ associations.

Impact: In 2006-2008, SMEs participating in the project grew up to 460%, employment increased by 100% and productive efficiency improved by 25% Further, due to their improved business skills, more than 2,500 rural SMEs were able to transform their farming activity from subsistence farming to real businesses.


Partners: UNCTAD, CAF (Corporacion Andina de Fomento), the National Development Bank of Argentina (Banco de la Nacion) and the Empretec Foundation.

Targeted sectors: Automotive and dairy sector.

Enlisted companies: TNCs which have expressed interest in a business linkages programme include Renault, Volkswagen, General Motors, Peugeot-Citroen SA, Fiat-IVECO.

Target: In order for SMEs to have access to international production networks, the Programme focuses on enabling them to obtain financial access, upgrade their technology, improve their production and managerial procedures.

Impact: Great potential impact is identified in the automotive sector for example, where over 400 car-part producers exist in Argentina,
90% of which are SMEs.


Partners: UNCTAD, the German Development Corporation (GTZ), and SME support institutions at the state level (SEBRAE, SENAI, SESI and IEL) and Banco do Nordeste.

Targeted sectors: Metal industry, naval and offshore industry, power industry and construction among others.

Enlisted companies: 5 TNCs (Philips, Gerdau, Alcoa, Atlantico Sul, Copergás) and 50 SMEs in the State of Pernambuco and more recently, in the state of Ceara, 7 TNCs (Cemec S.A., FAE S.A., Queiroz Galvao, Durametal, Esmaltec, Gerdau and Sangati Berga) and 48 suppliers.

Impact: In Pernambuco, a 100% increase was recorded among the participating SMEs in strategic areas identified by the purchasing TNCs, such as quality management and corporate social responsibility. SMEs more than doubled their sales and increased employment by 5% in nine months. In Ceara, in addition to strengthening the relationship with enlisted TNCs, some suppliers started supplying to other large TNCs and also initiated business among each other.