MTN eSwatini through its MTN Foundation has partnered with the Youth Enterprise Revolving Fund (YERF) where the company will issue loans to seven youth businesses that will need expansion under the Khula Natsi loan scheme.
The loan scheme comes at a time when the telecommunications company is embarking on its 21 day of Yello Care where this year it is aiming to create over 300 job opportunities for the young people of the Kingdom. Speaking during the launch of the Khula Natsi loan scheme YERF Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Bhekizwe Maziya said MTN Foundation
has not only contributed towards government’s financial challenges but it will also catalyse expansion and growth of already existing youth businesses. Each youth business is envisaged to get E 14 000. Worth noting is the fact that startup businesses will not be eligible for this kind of loans but only already existing businesses that will
require funds for expansion will stand a chance to benefit from the loan scheme. The MTN-YERF partnership compliments an already existing partnership between YERF and eSwatini Water and Agricultural Development
Enterprise (EWSADE) where an MoU was signed in November 2018 which aimed at supporting youth entrepreneurs under the ESWADE Small Holder Market Led Project where capacity building (Training and Mentorship) is provided to
the young entrepreneurs. “This then therefore means that while the MTN-ESWADE project is kick starting these businesses and positioning them for business loans, the MTN-YERF ‘KHULA NATSI’ project will grow them further through business loans to become sustainable businesses, in what is called the Youth Inclusive Funding model,”
said Maziya. Meanwhile MTN eSwatini Acting CEO Sibusiso Nhleko said while the youth is struggling with unemployment, which is a huge challenge with which the country is faced and needs to address, by creating sustainable business opportunities in each and every household. Nhleko said that MTN Foundation will continue to
support the creation of sustainable business opportunities as long as it is aligned with the organization’s four
pillars which are education, health, enterprise development and cultural initiatives. “We count on the Ministry
of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs to significantly contribute to the process of creating sustainable business opportunities for young people,” said Nhleko. Applications for the Khula Natsi project will be available at YERF
offices and website, MTN social Media platforms, ENYC offices, Tinkhundla centres, Junior Achievement, SEDCO, ENACTUS offices country wide. The youth will be called to apply for the loans just like the normal YERF loan processes. The applicants will also get an opportunity to present their business proposals to YERF, before a decision is taken.
MTN TRIGGERS BEE KEEPING ON NGOBELWENI YOUTH
MTN eSwatini has vowed to create over 300 job opportunities for the youth in the country through its annual 21 Days of Yello Care initiative. Of late Ngobelweni youth have got the opportunity to venture into bee keeping through
the assistance of the telecommunications company. Youth from the area, MTN staff and other partnering companies got their hands dirty clearing the area where the project will be erected and, making the bee hives. Speaking during the event was MTN Acting CEO Sbusiso Nhleko who said this project was a way of showing strong resilience in coming
up with sustainable agricultural projects which will see the youth benefitting from it more especially those from the rural areas. Nhleko also said that they were grateful to the ministry of agriculture and 21 Days of Yello care partners for coming on board to address the challenges of the youth unemployment which affects young people in
the country. “Some of what we previously considered to be recreational productive activities need to be converted into business ventures,” he said. Nhleko continued to say that there is a need to produce not just for the local markets but for world markets, which is the aspiration of His Majesty’s Government to create an export driven economy. He said this will not only just earn the country’s youth livelihood but will further position the Kingdom as African’s new promise as it simultaneously moves towards first world status. “We challenge the young people to
be engaged and involved in creating their opportunities while on that point we are excited that during this 21 Days of Yello Care we had a youth Biz Challenge which recorded over 1000 entries predominantly from disadvantaged young people and that indicated a huge interest on the part of young people,” said Nhleko. At present, honey bee farming in eSwatini is progressively being transformed from subsistence to a commercial level. Consequently, it has developed sub-industries such as manufacturing of hives, bee-keeping equipment, honey, pollen and propels
production, queen rearing and swarm production, crop pollination and honey-bee product processing. There are currently two main companies undertaking honey extraction or processing and these are Eswatini Kitchen and Bulembu
Ministries. On average, 40% of the honey in eSwatini is sold through the formal markets whilst 60% is sold through the informal market. The Government of eSwatini fully supports beekeeping as potential industry that will reduce rural poverty. Trainings of farmers and extension workers are ongoing with the help of NGOs and other development
partners. ESWADE’s National Project Director Lyn Kota praised the zeal and enthusiasm showed by the youth from Ngobelweni during the project handover. She said it was high time the young people stand up and get themselves in agriculture industry as there are many opportunities that are provided by the sector. Kota added that bee keeping was one viable business enterprise which needed the attention of government and the private sector as it can stimulate economic growth.