AFDB SEEKS TO CREATE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT FOR ESWATINI
Minister of Finance Neal Rijkenberg

AFDB SEEKS TO CREATE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT FOR ESWATINI

The African Development Bank has explained its engagement in supporting Eswatini Government to realize the business development agenda. The bank will make loans and grants for small and large scale projects in the country. The Minister of Finance Neal Rijkenberg said government highly recognizes the role played by the private sector operations and civil society organizations in driving the economy forward. “For this reason and as part of our
engagements with the African Development Bank team of Executive Directors in January this year, the bank is now here for a civil society open day,” he said at the African Development Bank’s Business seminar. The bank is a multilateral development finance institution which seeks to promote strong trade, shared and sustainable growth in Africa. It also aims to fight poverty and promote sustainable economic growth and social progress in Africa. By the end of 2017 it had cumulatively made some US$ 145.55 billion approvals for 5,528 investments. In 2017, it approved 249 operations worth US$ 8.83 billion and disbursed US$7.67 billion, the highest disbursement recorded by the bank in a year. Usually, AfDB task managers who visit the country so as to monitor project progress share most of their
time between implementing agencies and the field. Visits to Ministries tend to be more of a courtesy nature and are
focused on aspects of project implementation, and a bit on public policy. Contacts between AfDB personnel and Civil Society or private sector representatives such as the Federation of Swaziland Employers and Chamber of Commerce – FSE&CC and CANGO are reported to be limited and need to be strengthened as these develop together. The main objective of the seminar was to present the bank’s financing products and instruments for senior officials of government, financing windows and identifying transformative public and private sector-relations that can be funded by the bank and captains of industries and entrepreneurs in the Kingdom in support of the country’s socio-economic
development. The seminar will also provide the necessary opportunity for government policy makers, private
sector and entrepreneurs to get a better understanding on how to access the bank’s financing products and instruments. “Looking at the private sector operations in the country, particularly its performance let me mention that despite the large public sector, the Eswatini private sector is a primary generator of exports and provides
about 70% of formal employment opportunities,” said the minister. Indeed, small-scale enterprises create a significant number of jobs in the Eswatini private sector underscoring the importance of government’s continued support for their growth and integration into the formal sector. Rijkenberg further appreciated the work that the country’s regional office in Pretoria has begun towards the preparation of the New Bank Group’s strategy for Eswatini for 2020-2024 which has really come at an opportune time when the Government of Eswatini has just successfully completed and launched its strategic plan along with the National Development Plan for the next five years. “Now that the roadmap has been set, I sincerely urge the bank to support the new strategy coming to its rollout,” he said.

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