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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.

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.

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