In its quest to extend social security coverage to informal workers, the Government of the Republic of Zambia through the Ministry of Labour and Social Security has been working with stakeholders such as FES Zambia, the International Labour Organisation (ILO), AZIEA and other Informal Economy Associations to explore viable options to extend coverage. One key policy option identified was the development of a Hybrid Mutual Fund for informal economy workers. Since the development of the Hybrid Mutual Fund prototype (AZIEA Mutual Fund) in 2018, the need to subject the prototype to an actuarial valuation was acknowledged. In 2020, the FES Zambia commissioned a consultant to conduct an actuarial valuation on the proposed Mutual Fund. The Consultant has since completed the work preliminary results of which were to be presented at a validation workshop. In this regard, the Alliance for Zambian Informal Workers Associations (AZIEA in collaboration with FES Zambia and technical support from the Ministry of Labour and Social Services conducted a one-day workshop, which brought together stakeholders including Government institutions, Informal Workers Associations to validate the proposed Mutual Fund for informal workers. The workshop was thus one of the end products in a series of engagements that have been held over the last 4 years.
The main objective of the workshop was to share the key findings of the actuarial valuation of the AZIEA Hybrid Mutual Fund. In particular, the aim was to validate the key features of the proposed Hybrid Mutual Fund and to explore the possibility of piloting the hybrid Mutual Fund initiative. The discussions addressed the need for an in-depth understanding of most informal workers. In particular, it was recognized that the main risk to the sustainability of the fund was the erratic behavior of most informal economy workers who did not want to be governed by rules for a long term. At the end of the meeting, the commencement of a pilot project for the Fund was agreed on. The Associations present, agreed that a small committee comprising of members from AZIEA and AVEMA (Association of Vendors and Marketeers in Zambia) would drive the process of the piloting. AZIEA would anchor the Secretariat, and the pilot would be undertaken in Kitwe and Luanshya Districts in the Copperbelt Province of Zambia.