UNDP’S E6.3 MILLION TO STEER INNOVATION
Minister of ICT Princess Skhanyiso (second left) and UN Resident Coordinator Nathalie Ndongoh pose with replica cheque

UNDP’S E6.3 MILLION TO STEER INNOVATION

Eswatini, through United Nations Development Program (UNDP) is accelerating the implementation of the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) by increasing awareness and ensuring that all sectors and individuals play a role
in achieving these universal goals by 2030. The E6.3 million donation by UNDP channelled through the Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology recently will go towards supporting young action leaders creating meaningful progress in achieving the SDGs through sustainable and smart business solutions. The project was launched by Her Royal Highness Princess Sikhanyiso, the Minister of ICT; and will be implemented by the same ministry through the Royal Science and Technology Park, with support of Standard Bank Eswatini. Other partners
include the MSME Unit under the ministry of Commerce Trade and Industry. Speaking during the launch of the project, the ICT minister said ICT has played a major role in bringing a range of services to people faster and cheaper, hence the need to support innovation at all costs. She said the country needed to continuously innovate in this area in order to uplift the lives of the poor and improve the competitiveness of the economy. “ICT is also an enabler of advancement in other technologies and businesses,” she said. The minister expressed her gratitude to
UNDP for aligning itself with the development objectives of the country by providing a financial facility that
would close the gap between business ideas and resources available to the youth, women and people living with disability. “It is wonderful to see the banking sector, in this case, Standard Bank, playing an active role in closing this gap too,” she added. The target beneficiaries of the project are the most vulnerable in local society, hence empowering them economically would have direct impact on their welfare. The project would offer much training
as it would result in the matching of upcoming entrepreneurs with advisors and mentors and connection with broad networks. She further said the priority sectors chosen for the project would stimulate the creation of eco-friendly
technologies and other solutions that would contribute towards the attainment of the SDGs in the kingdom and beyond. The minister said as a country, there was a need to seek solutions to problems arising due to climate change which threaten the environment, while ensuring that actions did not cause more and irreparable harm to the
environment. She said these risks presented opportunities for innovation. “I would like to request my colleagues in government to take the position of ‘enablers’ of innovation and help the country achieve its developments targets.
It will be necessary to relax certain laws within specific limits in order to allow investors and start- ups to carry out tests in the real world,” she added. She concluded by saying that solutions from this country would be more likely to enter regional and international markets and compete successfully once the start -ups had built a track record in the local market.

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