Gov Feeds

The Minister for ICT, Her Royal Highness Princess Sikhanyiso, officially opened a stakeholder consultative meeting on the Roll-Out of SADC Strengthening National- Regional Linkages Programme (SNRL) in the Kingdom of Eswatini at the Royal Villas.

In its endeavor to strengthen the National System of Innovation (NIS) for sustainable socio-economic development, the Ministry of ICT has intensified its participation in regional initiatives. Consequently, Eswatini ratified the 2008 SADC Protocol on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in 2016. The Department of Research, Science, Technology and Innovation (RSTI) domiciled in the Ministry of ICT, is mandated to domesticate the SADC Protocol on STI in line with the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP).

The Deutsche Gesellschaft Fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), based in Botswana is one of the SADC partners that has played a leading role in assisting the country to domesticate the Protocol.

The SADC delegation was led by Senior Programme Officer-Policy and Strategy Development Mr. Dennis Rweyemamu. He was accompanied by Mr. Robson Chakwana and Miss Patricia Mwanyisa. Mr. Sipho Vilakati was the Acting Principal Secretary of the Ministry of ICT during the occasion.

PROJECT LAUNCH
ENHANCING INNOVATIVE CAPACITY FOR SDG-SOLUTIONS
HER ROYAL HIGHNESS, HONOURABLE SENATOR
PRINCESS SIKHANYISO
MINISTER OF INFORMATION, COMMUNICATIONS AND TECHNOLOGY

21ST FEBRUARY 2019 AT THE ROYAL VILLAS


 Honourable Ministers
United Nations Resident Coordinator - Ms Nathalie Ndongoh-She
UNDP Resident Representative ad. interim – Mr Lars Tushuizen
All Heads of UN Agencies
Principal Secretaries
Board of Directors of the Royal Science and Technology Park
Chief Executive Officers of the Royal Science and Technology Park and Standard Bank Eswatini
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

I am pleased to join you at this launch today. I am particularly delighted to see the youth and adults, the representation of all genders and the collaboration between Government, the private sector and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

When His Majesty King Mswati III introduced the concept of a Royal Science and Technology Park (RSTP) in the Kingdom of Eswatini, He was inspired by the impact of research, innovation and technology on the quality of life of people around the world and advancement of economies. During the Official Opening of Parliament this year, His Majesty reiterated that Information and communication technologies (I.C.Ts.) can be a vehicle for economic development as the country position’s itself for Vision 2022. I.C.Ts have played a major role in bringing a range of services to our society faster and cheaper compared to a decade ago and the country needs to continuously innovate in this area in order to uplift the lives of the poor and improve the competitiveness of the economy. I.C.Ts are also enablers of advancement in other technologies and business.

The business incubator at the Royal Science and Technology Park was established to cultivate innovation and entrepreneurship and thereby contribute to job creation and wealth creation in the country. It targets technology start-ups that were previously unserved by business development programs in the Kingdom of Eswatini. These are start-ups that are either producing technology or using technology in a unique way to solve real problems facing humanity or industries or Government in any of the following areas:

  • Information and communication technologies;
  • Electronics;
  • Biotechnology
  • Food and agriculture;
  • Health and cosmetics;
  • Renewable energy; and
  • Environmental preservation.

Such start-ups differ from traditional small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in two ways. Firstly, they plan and manage a process of designing, developing and testing the technology or product while also planning how to become a repeatable and scalable business. Secondly, they often spend some time delivering a solution to users or potential customers, with very little internal resources, without earning revenue. This happens because of their need to prove that the unique solution delivers benefits outside the testing environment yet first users usually do not want to pay them. These ventures are known for their high growth potential, contribution to industry diversification and wealth creation but their long product-to-market journey makes them unattractive to lending institutions at the early stages. This creates a huge challenge for every Government that seeks to stimulate job creation and wealth creation through innovative enterprises.

Therefore, I would like to express my utmost gratitude to the United Nations Development Programme for aligning itself with the development objectives of the country by providing a financial facility that will close the gap between business ideas and resources available to the youth, women and people living with a disability. It is wonderful to see the banking sector, in this case, Standard Bank Eswatini, playing an active role in closing this gap too.

The target beneficiaries in this Project are the most vulnerable in our society hence empowering them economically will have a direct impact on their welfare. I am happy to learn that the Project will offer much more than training as it will result in the matching of upcoming entrepreneurs with advisors and mentors and connection with broader networks. This is a comprehensive capacity building approach that can reduce the failure rate of new ventures. I trust that the beneficiaries will take advantage of this initiative and develop their skills in order to develop their products within a short time and create bankable businesses.

The priority sectors chosen for the Project will stimulate the creation of eco-friendly technologies and other solutions that will contribute towards the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals in our country and beyond. Climate change is threatening humanity’s access to safe and reliable drinking water, nutrition and sufficient food, affordable energy and other resources. We have to actively seek solutions to these problems while ensuring that actions do not cause more and irreparable harm to our environment. Therefore, these risks present opportunities for innovation.

I am aware that market access for new or unique solutions can be a bottleneck to the growth of start-ups. I would like to request my colleagues in government to take the position of ‘enablers’ of innovation and help the country to achieve its development targets. It will be necessary to relax certain laws, within specific limits, in order to allow inventors and start-ups to carry out tests in the real world in order to prove the efficacy of their technologies and other solutions. This can be done in a number of ways, for example by creating simple rules to govern the testing of new or unique solutions and waiving licence fees for the pilot period. Once testing is successfully completed, the Government should be flexible in its procurement approach like in other neighbouring countries and give local start-ups an opportunity to supply solutions that can result in efficient and affordable service delivery. Such will make the private sector to be amenable to become first users of solutions that can enhance productivity. Solutions from this country will be more likely to enter regional and international markets and compete successfully once the start-ups have built a track record in the local market. If current laws and mindsets remain unchanged, young people entering the job market are unlikely to gain employment through their ventures.

In closing, I would like to request the management of the Royal Science and Technology Park to be thorough in implementing and monitoring this Project. Your success in delivering the objectives set out will have a direct effect on the welfare of EmaSwati.

Once again, let me express my joy in receiving this financial support today from the United Nations Development Programme. I pray that you will continue to support innovation and entrepreneurship in the Kingdom of Eswatini in the future years to come.

I now declare the Project titled “Enhancing Innovative Capacity for SDG-solutions Project” officially launched.

Thank you.

PRESS RELEASE

Her Royal Highness Minister for Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) Princess Sikhanyiso this morning met with Her Excellency Ambassador Jean N. Kamau from the Kenya High Commission and Dr. Gatama Gichini who is the Education Attache in the Kenya High Commission to discuss two MOUs (Memorandum of Understanding). One MOU is between the Eswatini and the Government of the Republic of Kenya on Cooperation in the field of Basic Education and the other one is on Scientific and technological Cooporation. One of the aspects is to promote and support the development of cooperation in the science and technology fields which will include research within the human and social sciences. It will also help both countries familiarize themselves with the education systems and have exchange programs between teachers, learners, researchers and scientists.

In her remarks, Her Royal Highness stated that the MOUs came at an opportune time where the Kingdom of Eswatini needed to rebrand herself after the name change (from Swaziland to Eswatini). She said this could work well with the use of technology especially in the education, tourism, and rural communities. She said the Kingdom was very rich with heritage sights that the world does not know about yet it could boost the economy through the tourism sector.

She said the Kingdom of Eswatini through His Majesty King Mswati III has unpacked the concept of what Monarchical Democracy is. She said that in order for the world not to misunderstand the uniqueness of Emaswati’s system of governance, there has to be rigorous rebranding and marketing campaigns that have to be done. Her highness applauded the nation of Kenya for their technological advancement and that the Kingdom of Eswatini would learn a lot from them and vice versa.

Also making her remarks, Her Excellency Ambassador Jean Kamau said they would look at areas of excellence such as agriculture, mainly sugar and livestock just to name a few. She said she looked forward to having more dialogue that would yield good results.

Her Royal Highness was flanked by her Principal Secretary, Under Secretary and Directors from the various Departments in the Ministry. Former Under Secretary in the Ministry Mr. Bhekithemba Gama with his team was representing his Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Education. The signing ceremony of the two MOUs will be in April this year here in Eswatini.

MINISTRY OF ICT PRINCIPAL SECRETARY’S SPEECH MADE AT THE OFFICIAL LAUNCH OF THE SADC NATIONAL MEDIA AWARDS 2019 AT THE ROYAL SWAZI SUN, JANUARY 31, 2019

PROGRAMME DIRECTOR,
THE SADC NATIONAL CONTACT POINT,
OUR SPONSORS,
THE MEDIA INSTITUTE OF SOUTHERN AFRICA (MISA),
THE ESWATINI EDITORS’ FORUM,
THE ESWATINI NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF JOURNALISTS,
DISTINGUISHED GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS,
ALL MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA PRESENT,
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, 
National Media Awards Winners  National Media Awards Winners

GOOD MORNING.
IT GIVES ME GREAT PLEASURE TO BE STANDING BEFORE YOU THIS MORNING AT THIS AUSPICIOUS OCCASION WHERE WE WILL NOT ONLY LAUNCH THE 2019 EDITION OF THE SADC NATIONAL MEDIA AWARDS, BUT ALSO RECOGNIZE THE JOURNALISTS WHO, THROUGH THEIR WORK, REPRESENTED THE KINGDOM OF ESWATINI IN THE SADC REGIONAL AWARDS IN THE YEARS 2016 AND 2017.
BEFORE I CONTINUE, I WOULD LIKE TO ACKNOWLEDGE OUR PARTNERS AND SPONSORS; ESWATINI POSTS AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND ESWATINI MOBILE, FOR MAKING IT POSSIBLE FOR US TO GATHER IN THIS MANNER TODAY. THIS EVENT HAS BEEN LONG IN THE MAKING AND WITHOUT OUR PARTNERS’ GRACIOUS SUPPORT, IT WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN POSSIBLE GIVEN GOVERNMENT’S FISCAL DIFFICULTIES.
IT IS ALWAYS A MOMENTOUS OCCASION WHEN OFFICIALS IN THE MINISTRY OF INFORMATION, COMMUNICATIONS AND TECHNOLOGY SIT DOWN WITH MEMBERS OF THE FOURTH ESTATE, AS JOURNALISTS ARE APTLY CALLED, PARTICULARLY WHEN THE AGENDA IS THAT OF NATION BUILDING. THIS MORNING IS AN EXAMPLE OF SUCH AN OCCASION. AS WE ALL KNOW, THE KINGDOM OF ESWATINI IS ONE OF SADC’S FOUNDING MEMBERS, HAVING JOINED THE ORGANISATION AT INCEPTION IN 1980. OVER TIME, SADC HAS RECORDED NUMEROUS STRATEGIES AND MILESTONES, WHICH HAVE PROMOTED THE ADVANCEMENT OF SOCIO- ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, POLITICAL STABILITY AND CONSOLIDATION OF DEMOCRACY IN MEMBER STATES. HOWEVER, SUCH MILESTONES OFTEN GO UNNOTICED BY THE POPULACE, RENDERING SOCIO –DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS AND STRATEGIES INEFFECTIVE, RESULTING IN LITTLE BENEFIT, IF ANY, TO THE PUBLIC.
IT IS IN NOTING THIS CHALLENGE THAT THE SADC SECRETARIAT CAME UP WITH THE REVISED SADC COMMUNICATION AND PROMOTION STRATEGY (2016 – 2020) AND ITS IMPLEMENTATION PLAN, WHICH WERE BOTH APPROVED BY THE SADC COUNCIL OF MINISTERS IN 2016. THE AIM OF THE STRATEGY AND ITS IMPLEMENTATION PLAN IS TO STRENGTHEN INFORMATION CHANNELS THAT ENHANCE PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE AND CONSCIOUSNESS OF SADC’S VISION. THIS IS WHERE THE MEDIA COMES IN. JOURNALISTS EDUCATE THE PUBLIC ABOUT EVENTS AND ISSUES AND HOW THESE AFFECT THEIR LIVES.
IN THE AGE OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE SADC INDUSTRIALISATION STRATEGY (2015 – 2063), CITIZENS OF MEMBER STATES MUST BE INFORMED ABOUT THE ACTIVITIES THAT SADC HAS UNDERTAKEN TO PROMOTE REGIONAL INTEGRATION AND ERADICATE POVERTY.
THE MEDIA MUST ENSURE THAT THESE STORIES REACH THE MASSES. THIS IS A CHALLENGE I AM SETTING FOR YOU TODAY. LET US SEE MORE STORIES ABOUT REGIONAL INTEGRATION IN PRINT MEDIA, AND LET US HEAR ABOUT ACTIVITIES PROMOTING REGIONAL INTEGRATION ON RADIO, AS WELL AS WATCH DOCUMENTARIES THAT PORTRAY A RESULT OF SADC’S EFFORT TO ERADICATE POVERTY ON TELEVISION.
AT THIS JUNCTURE, IT IS MY SINGULAR HONOUR TO DECLARE THE 2019 SADC NATIONAL MEDIA AWARDS LAUNCHED. I WISH ALL PARTCIPANTS THE BEST OF LUCK IN THIS COMPETITION.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION.

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